Abarta Podcast for National Heritage Week

Despite being on holiday, news has reached the Stouts in Los Angeles that a new podcast featuring the Beaubec excavations has become our contribution to National Heritage Week. Hear about the Excavations at Beaubec in Amplify Archaeology Podcast Episode 25. In this episode of the popular podcast series, Neil Jackman, Chief Executive of Abarta Heritage, captures the essence of the excavations at Beaubec and gives a real sense of the community that was formed there during the month of July. National Heritage Week, one of Ireland’s largest public events will kick off tomorrow, Saturday, 14th August and run until Sunday, 22nd August. We are grateful to Grace McCullen, Loreto Guinan (Heritage Officer, Meath County Council) and Neil Jackman for making this possible.

Excavations at Beaubec – Key Discussion Points and Contributors

  • Geraldine Stout: project overview, aims, objectives and what was found – 01 min 18 secs
  • Matthew Stout: the historical background, how the Cistercians came to farm at Beaubec – 2 min 45 secs
  • Geraldine and Matthew: how did the Cistercians of Beaubec get on with those of Mellifont and Bective – 5 min 35 secs
  • Geraldine and Matthew: the role of the De Lacy family in the foundations – 7 min 15 secs
  • Geraldine and Matthew: how did Beaubec operate, how did the Cistercians manage the land? – 8 min 25 secs
  • Geraldine and Matthew: the origins of this project – 12 min 47 secs
  • Geraldine and Matthew: the importance of Beaubec – 14 min 25 secs
  • Geraldine and Matthew: the discoveries, the barn, medieval discoveries, a prehistoric tomb and late Neolithic pit circle and more! – 15 min 39 secs
  • Geraldine and Matthew: the future for the project – 16 min 30 secs
  • Aidan Giblin, Mick Mongey and Anthony Neville of Resurrecting Monuments: on their experiences in archaeology and the Beaubec dig – 17 min 30 secs
  • Bea McCullen: the youngest member of the team tells us of her experience on the excavation – 25 min 34 secs
  • John McCullen: the landowner of Beaubec tells us of his interest in the site and its history – 28 mins
  • John McCullen: what’s it like to have an important monument on your land, a blessing or a nuisance? – 29 mins 54 secs
  • John McCullen: what would John like to see for the future of the site – 33 mins 17 secs
  • John Sunderland: the artist in residence at Beaubec and the blend of heritage and art – 35 mins 49 secs
  • Michala Nagyova, Bronagh James, Catherine Meehan and Molly O’Connell: on their experiences in archaeology and the Beaubec dig – 42 mins 24 secs
  • Daniel Cummins and Elizabeth Gardner: on their experiences in archaeology and the Beaubec dig, and Elizabeth tells us about her engineering background – 45 mins 16 secs
  • Anthony Murphy of Mythical Ireland: on drone photography and aerial discoveries in the Boyne Valley – 49 mins 47 secs
  • Craig Downie: on excavating the service tower and latrine – 54 mins 40 secs
  • Penny Johnston: environmental archaeology and what it can tell us about life in Beaubec – 57 mins 26 secs
  • Caitríona Devane: the artefactual assemblage – 1 hour 3 mins 30 secs
  • Roseanne Meehan: the pottery assemblage and what it can tell us about life at Beaubec  – 1 hour 05 mins
  • Grace McCullen: growing up at Beaubec, the experience of the excavation on the family land and the future for Beaubec – 1 hour 08 mins 25 secs

Show notes and links to further information

  • You can discover more about the excavation on their fantastic website here.
  • An article on the dig ‘Excavations in the  time of Coronavirus’ also featured in the Winter 2020 edition of Archaeology Ireland Magazine.
  • And a detailed account ‘Excavations at Beaubec, Beymore, Co.Meath (2019-20) – a preliminary report.’ by Geraldine Stout and Matthew Stout featured in Riocht na Midhe, Vol XXXII 2021.
  • You can see a lovely timelapse video of aerial images showing the progress of the excavation on Anthony Murphy’s YouTube channel here.
  • You can find more information on John Sunderland’s Touching Time art project on the excavation blog.
  • If you’re interested in digging deeper into the stories of Ireland with online courses and lots of resources, and if you like exploring fantastic archaeology sites then you might enjoy our new Membership Service, Tuatha.

Beaubec art blog post 004

Touching time by John Sunderland

In the final days of the excavation I spent quite a lot of time gathering reference material for further works. This included the continuation of photographing people excavating with a variety of tools as reference material for drawings, the first of which is well underway, of Mikala experiencing excavating a pot for the first time. The two images have two different backgrounds; 001 is on a planning board I usually use for technical drawings. The grid of graph paper shows through the drafting paper, which is semi translucent. This was how I made the piece. The second image (002) is on a grey background, and my next stage is to work out which works best or if there are other alternatives. This is a beginning rather than an end for me, so, like the excavation, I am moving into a post excavation phase and will be continuing to work on all the works in my studio. First though is a period of reflection, after such a immersive exciting and busy time on site I am sure the relative piece and quiet of the studio will yield some new ideas and refinement of the works I started on site. This was a great opportunity and my gratitude goes out to all those who helped me particularly Matthew and Geraldine Stout, and John and Grace McCullen, for facilitating this project and bringing me on board the good ship Beaubec as an artist.

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002

Day 20 – Fever Pitch

Despite the inclement start to the final day we had a great turnout to get the cuttings emptied. Neil Jackman, Chief Executive of Abarta Heritage arrived to make a podcast on the Beaubec excavations with Grace assisting. The recording caused a great deal of excitement around the site. Tom and Catherine were emptying  the possible socket of an orthosat and the fill contained large blocks of quartz. When Anthony was just about finished emptying the lintelled drain he unearthed a large base sherd of medieval pottery under a side stone. The  ‘find the entrance’ team worked feverishly to reveal the original opening to the barn and Alex found a large medieval ridge tile with a roof slate. Meanwhile the ‘find the corner’ team beside the tower uncovered another drain between the tower and the barn that is low enough to be medieval. Unfortunately, no corner was discovered. If that wasn’t exciting enough, about five minutes before the call to ‘clean up your loose’ the ground under Tara‘s pick collapsed into a stone-lined drain. At first it was thought that it might be a souterrain, but it is now believed to be an 18th-century drain coming from the lodge where the Cunningham family lived on the Pearson estate. Everybody gathered around this cutting and played ‘stick your head down the drain’. What a momentous day!

After time was called, everyone gathered for the end of excavation party. This is the last of our three seasons at Beaubec and it was a particularly poignant moment to have to say farewell to all the volunteers. We formed quite a large and cohesive community over these last years and co-directors Matthew and Geraldine Stout want to thank everyone who took part and thank the McCullen’s for being such wonderful hosts. The work on preparing the final report begins, or soon will once we return from holidays.

View Anthony Murphy’s time lapse video of the excavation: Beaubec excavations 2021 time lapse: 20 days of digging in two minutes!

And don’t forget to watch this video of Andy Hogg (DKIT), archaeologist and guitar supremo.

The excavation at the end of Day 20. Don’t forget to view Anthony Murphy’s time lapse video of the excavation: Beaubec excavations 2021 time lapse: 20 days of digging in two minutes!

Alex found a roof tile and slate on what is believed to be the threshold of the barn. Now we know what the barn roof looked like.

Anthony was tasked with finding evidence for the dating of this drain. Earlier, he found a plough pebble. On this final day he found this base of a medieval pot underneath the drain wall (photos above and below). Going back further, Aidan found a coin of Edward III in the fill against the drain. Taken together, we can now be certain of the drain’s medieval construction date.

Moments before the final whistle sounded, Tara made the remarkable discovery of an elaborate 18th-Century drain ‘… they think its all over…’. Proud father Anthony Murphy congratulates his daughter Tara for making this last minute discovery.

Head in the sand. Matt has a look at the drain.

Alex demonstrates the drain to Barney. Barney was thrilled with this discovery.

In the morning Neil Jackman, Chief Executive of Abarta Heritage, recorded members of the team for a forthcoming podcast. Readers of this blog will be informed when it is ready, in the meantime, here is a link to earlier ‘Amplify Archaeology’ podcasts (photo by Grace McCullen).

Back in the service tower, Craig recounts his discoveries from last year (photo by Grace McCullen).

Young and old were interviewed for the podcast. In the background you can see how busy the site was on the last day (photo by Grace McCullen).

All the tools are cleaned, lined up and ready to be put away (photo by Mick Mongey).

With the dig over it was officially party time. Many on site learned what came before Part B.

Multi-tasking. Co-director Matthew Stout both receives and records the receipt of the beautiful reconstruction of the original Pearson’s Garden by Peter McCullen. The many gifts from the McCullen family have a special place in the Stout household.

Geraldine accepts a parting gift from the McCullen family. John presents the painting of the original Pearson House by Peter McCullen.

Co-directors either side of his-and-hers olive trees presented to John and Anne McCullen. The olive tree is a symbol of peace and friend ship, but also of victory. It was a wonderful adventure digging on the McCullen’s farm.

At the party, Bea, Ger and Grace display the commemorative T-shirts. The Beaubec 2021 logo was designed by Peter McCullen.

Caitríona Devane and Finbar Moore at the after party. Barney and Faye can be seen in the background.

Just some of the McCullen Family at the after party: Alex (left), Anne, Lennon, Colm, John and Faye.

Deirdre and Elizabeth, best friends forever.

We made the Irish Times news quiz on Saturday. Thanks to Kevin Whelan of the Notre Dame Global Gateway for spotting this.

Day 19 – The office

After morning break the office team; Catriona Devane (Director of the Finds office), Rosanne Meenan (pottery expert), Penny Johnson (environmental archaeologist) and Deirdre Kelly (finds assistant), came outside for an up-to-date tour of the site. Because they are stationed in the yard office and work intensely processing the finds, they miss out on a lot that is happening on site but their work is invaluable. Collette Farrell, Director of the Droichead Arts Centre came this morning to talk to artist in residence at Beaubec, John Sunderland about his work. The two Gerry’s, Sean and Aaron are still digging in search of the much desired east corner wall of the barn which is running toward the tower. Their numerous finds included fragments of a fine roof ridge tile. Along the north side of the barn an exploratory trench is being dug to find the original entrance and Daniel found another coin. Anthony found a plough pebble in the fill of the drain. John Mc Cullen came down in the afternoon to offer free Ríocht na Midhe journals to the team. In the afternoon it was great to welcome to the site retired NMS archaeologist Con Manning with his friend the writer Adrian Kenny. Ciarán McDonnell, Tourism Marketing Officer, Meath County Council also paid us a visit. Local composer Michael Holahan and poet Susan Connolly called in in the afternoon to have a look at the barn and the finds. It is not everyday that an excavation has visits from not one but two members of Aosdána.

The office! Out on the site were the excavation’s tireless office workers Rosanne (left), Deirdre, Caitríona and Penny (holding Wes), photo by Mick Mongey.

Gerry (from Bellewstown) with long-serving Aidan and John (photo by Grace McCullen).

Everyone stops to hear John address the excavation team. Today he gave everyone a complimentary copy of Ríocht na Midhe, the journal of the Meath Archaeological and Historical Society (photo by Grace McCullen).

This photo show co-director Matthew Stout with author Adrian Kenny. They last met over 48 years ago. Both were a bit younger then. Adrian, a member of Aosdána, is the author of The Feast of Michaelmas (novel, 1978), Arcady (stories, 1983), Before the Wax Hardened (autobiography, 1991), Istanbul Diary (1994), The Family Business (1999) and Portobello Notebook (2012). Three of his books can be purchased from Lilliput Press (photo by Mick Mongey).

John and Geraldine with Archaeologist Con Manning. Con was Geraldine’s colleague in the National Monuments Service.

Medieval ridge tile found by the team at the far east of the excavation (photo by Mick Mongey).

Today the diggers Gerry, Seán and Gerard (with Aaron not shown) found out that what was believed to be the corner of the barn wasn’t. It continues to extend to the east towards the service tower. Anthony and Elizabeth are trowelling in the foreground.

Bernie (left), Tom and Molly at work on the wall of the Great Barn of Beaubec.

Daniel discovered a coin which Kieran Campbell believed might be medieval (watch this space for more details). Miraculously spotted by Daniel in the top soil (photo by Mick Mongey).

Artist in residence John Sunderland with Director of the Droichead Arts Centre Collette Farrell.

Patricia Ryan with her two children Mattias and Sophia. Patricia worked for years in Irish archaeology and was kind enough to lend us her support today.

John with Peter McCullen and Dermot McCullen. Peter designed the logo for this year’s excavation.

Anthony shows where the plough pebble was discovered.

Above and below are detailed photos of where the plough pebble was found, associated with the medieval drain.

Martin, Martin Jr and May Colfer from Navan (via Slane) visited the site in the morning.

Comhall visited the site on Wednesday. He is much taller than when he first worked with us on the excavation of the Newgrange Farm Cursus in 2018 (see below). So tall in fact, that Tom had to stand on a tin of paint to reach his height (photo by Louise Walshe).

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Comhall at Newgrange Farm Cursus in 2018.

Matt was a bit lazy taking this photo as it addresses two momentous events on the site in one picture. In the forground is Bea sporting the medal awarder her by Tom Ó Hostín for being ‘young archaeologist of the year’. In the background are two distinguished visitors to the site; Ciarán McDonnell (left, historian working with Meath County Council) and Drogheda Poet Sudan Connolly.

Nature watch by Mick Mongey: Beaubec Fossils
A source of interest to many on site are the fossils visible in many of the building stones being uncovered by the excavation. The predominant bedrock in this part of County Meath is carboniferous limestone, formed 355 million years ago. This limestone has been quarried for centuries and is the main type of stone found in the surviving walls of the medieval grange at Beaubec. The limestones formed in tropical seas as evidenced by the fossils visible in many of the limestone building stones and rubble on the site. The most common fossil found on site by avid fossil hunters Bea and Anelia are Crinoids. Sometimes these are known as Sea Lilies Crinoid are in fact a sea animal

A mix of Crinoid Fossils from a lintel stone from medieval drain

Day 18 – Shelter from the Storm

We just returned from a fabulous feast at Grace McCullen’s so the blog tonight will be brief. In the morning we had members of the National Monuments Service come to discuss the works being funded by the Community Monuments Fund, granted this year to Beaubec. Conor Brady called in to have a look at the polished stone axehead and told us the exciting news that it was a prehistoric import from Great Langdale in Cumbria and was made from tuff. In the afternoon John Soderberg, an American archaeologist and Niall Brady, a medieval barn expert gave the barn his blessing confirming our classification. He thought it would have had a cruck-type roof based on the occurrence of regular depressions appearing in the surviving surface of the wall. This information will inform Elizabeth’s reconstruction drawings of the barn which we will put up on the blog at the end of the week. The cruck-type form of roof was also corroborated by Margaret Keane in the Archaeological Survey of Ireland and by senior Conservation architect Nicki Matthews. Thanks to all for sharing their expertise with the team.

The team from the National Monuments Service inspect the excavation and discuss future Community Monument Funding (CMF) projects. Beaubec has received significant sums for its preservation and presentation. In the photo are (from left) Senior Archaeologist Pauline Gleeson, Geraldine Stout, John McCullen, Martin Reid (archaeologist) and Claire Breen (archaeologist) (photo by Mick Mongey).

Shelter from the deluge (photo by Grace McCullen).

Aoife Quinn-Markey shows Geraldine her school project on Beaubec.  James, Brian, Karen and Cara have visited the dig each year (photo by Grace McCullen).

Aoife getting stuck into sieving material (photo by Grace McCullen).

Niall Brady, medieval barn expert and John Soderberg, zooarchaeologist, discuss the great barn of Beaubec with Geraldine (photo by Mick Mongey).

This photo shows the decorated sandstone window of the service tower from the back. How was this photo taken? (photo by Mick Mongey).

Lots of activity at the western end of the excavation. Niall Brady and John Soderberg look on (photo by Mick Mongey).

Misha’s Oscar joined us on site today.

Hugh, who worked with us last year, and his friend returned to see the excavation.

Beaubec excavations at the start of Day 18 (drone photo by Anthony Murphy).

Beaubec excavations at the end of Day 18 (drone photo by Anthony Murphy).

Day 17 – Drogheda Token Found

There was great excitement on the site when Stefán unearthed a coin, a Drogheda Token (c.1650–70), while cleaning the upper surface of the south barn wall. A phone call to Kieran Campbell filled us in on the historical context of their use in post-Cromwellian Ireland. The kiln is no more and a stony surface underneath the kiln, which was cut by a medieval furrow, may be prehistoric. A sample from the ‘socket’ was taken for potential dating material. It was great to see archaeologists Laureen and Victor Buckley again following Victors’ recent illness and he was a good sport to look at our clay pipe collection. Our old friends Hugh, Catherine with their daughter Eve came to offer their services today and helped bring down another baulk so we could see more of the barn wall. Local composer Michael Holahan came to view the dig as did Maria and Peadar, alumni of St Patrick’s College (now DCU).

View of the ‘socket’ below the barn wall.

Bea McCullen with the flint she found whilst sieving the fill of the medieval drain. As shown by Bea’s T-shirt from 2019, she has been an important part of the excavation team for much of her young life.

Crowds gather around Stefaán (top left, in a blue mask) moments after he discovered the seventeenth-century Drogheda trade token. Stefán won find of the day honours (photo by Mick Mongey).

The seventeenth-century Drogheda trade token (photo by Mick Mongey). According to Gerard Rice, ‘The seventeenth-century tokens of county Louth’, Journal of the County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society 20 (1984), pp 297–313, @ p. 308, Hugh Fowkes was admitted a freeman of the fraternity of smiths in 1658. He was a glazier by trade. He acquired property in West Street (by 1666) and near the Guild Hall by 1678 but in 1663 was living in a one-hearth house in an unknown part of the town. His wife’s name was Charity. His family was born between 1665 and 1677. He was one of the overseers of St Peter’s parish in 1678. He died in 1687 and there is no further mention of him or of his family in the Drogheda records. His token is known from two different but closely related dies which have the Fowkes coat of arms, a claim perhaps to relationship with Col John Fowkes military governor of Drogheda in 1650 whose funeral entry contains a related coat of arms. Dr Tate, the vicar of St Peters, who died in 1660 was married to a Fowkes, perhaps a sister of Hugh for she had the same arms as appear on the token.

Mary and Gerry have been uncovering the corner of the barn near to the service tower. They seem to be enjoying their experience.

Victor Buckley examines our seventeenth and eighteenth-century clay pipes.

Eve shows us her Instax photo of the site.

Hugh and Catherine (parents of Eve) did a great job on the wall. At top right the stone scatter under the kiln (now gone) can be seen.

Osteoarchaeologist Laureen Buckley (left) was one of today’s distinguished visitors. Here she is seen with co-director Geraldine.

Alison Comyn wrote another fine piece on the Beaubec excavations for the Drogheda Independent. This one brings DI readers up to date with the latest from the dig.

Tara and Alex brought down a basket of sweets and cakes provided by three Ohioan volunteers. It was nice of them to think of us (photo by Grace McCullen).

Beaubec art blog post 003

Touching time by John Sunderland

My second drawing is very much underway, very different from the first this homes in on the detail of a wall. Layers of soil have been used thinly, more as washes than textures, and they appear more durable. The difference between the work wet and dry is quite marked (image 1).  I started this piece when I was considering what it would be like to work on a very large piece directly on a gallery wall in an exhibition. The possibility of following and controlling change over time in the work over the duration of a show, is really interesting me. At the moment though I’m very interested in the relationships that can be conjured on site, as I am now actually drawing in a cutting next to the excavators as they investigate the kiln. I find the sounds of trowelling in the background whilst I draw very conducive to work, helping me to concentrate my practice (image 2).

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Image 2

Day 16 – Axe!

We were late to the site this morning and there were rumours circulating around the site that the co-directors were travelling around Meath buying up copies of the Irish Times (not entirely true). Our site was featured today in the Irish Times and the Irish Independent thanks to Drogheda journalist Louise Walshe. Thank you Louise! Today on the site baulks came down so we could get a more complete view of the interior of the barn. The Neolithic is letting itself be known on the site and Mary found a beautiful polished stone axehead in the fill of a medieval cultivation furrow whilst Bronagh found a lovely flint scraper. Alex who is French has been finding lots of French Saintonge pottery in what is being interpreted as a buttress at the barn entrance.  Craig and Andy have been finding some very fine ridge tiles in the medieval furrow they are excavating.  A day in the full glare of the media spotlight ended with an interview on Drive Time on RTÉ Radio 1.

Mick Mongey photographing the polished stone axe.

The polished stone axe (photo by Mick Mongey).

The finder of the polished stone axe Mary with Anthony who first drew attention to its importance. Certainly today’s find of the day (photo by Mick Mongey)..

Our youngest volunteer, little Tiarnan, with his mother zooarchaeologist Arlene Coogan.

Alex excavating the entrance buttress where he is finding French pottery.

Side view of the great barn of Beaubec (drone photo by Anthony Murphy).

Beaubec barn at the end of Day 16. Note the removal of the Baulks which provide a clearer sense of the barn’s interior (drone photo by Anthony Murphy).

The kiln nears its final curtain with Tom and Catherine (photo by Mick Mongey).

Tutorial on tithe barns. Anthony Murphy (far right) who has taken the excellent drone photographs, is talking to Craig at the end of the day.

Aidan brought his two friends to the site and one agreed to return as a volunteer.

Day 15 – A Day of Discovery

Today was an intense one on the site with many remarkable discoveries and many remarkable visitors. The bottoming of cuttings is providing a much clearer picture of the phases of activity on the site. We had been passing by a large greywacke stone up against the corner of the medieval wall for the last two seasons, convinced there has to be a prehistoric tomb in this area. Greywacke is a distinctive type of stone used in passage tombs in the Boyne Valley. Further fragments of greywacke and flints have turned up in other cuttings close by. Today Eamonn and John uncovered what could be a stone socket cut into the boulder clay which contained a flint core, strengthening our suspicions that there may be a tomb here. Could the monks have dismantled the cairn of this tomb to make way for cultivating the ground and subsequently, re-used the cairn stone to make the barn? This is exactly what happened to the smaller tombs at Newgrange when the medieval Cistercian monks cleared the ground for cultivation around the  main tomb. This possible tomb, together with the Late Neolithic pit circle, forms part of a prehistoric horizon at Bey More. Margaret Keane, Director of the Archaeological Survey of Ireland on a visit to the site, also noticed part of an unfinished saddle quern re-used as a lintel in the drain that crosses the barn from north to south. Michala (UCD) has confirmed that the stone surface had been worked. Anthony is excavating the fill of this drain in the hopes of finding dating evidence. Tom and Mick found more Saintonge potsherds, one sherd was in a cultivation furrow that runs under the kiln. Today, we were delighted to welcome Dr John O’Keefe, CEO of the Discovery Programme and Caoimhe to the site and greatly appreciated a lively discussion. Members of the NMS Ciorcal Comhra and National Monuments Service Photographic Unit paid an unexpected and much enjoyed visit.  Alan Betson, award winning Irish Times photographer (three time winner of Photographer of the Year), also came at the end of the day to take some shots of the site for a forthcoming piece by Louise Walsh on the excavation. So watch this space for news!

The excavation at the end of Day 15 (drone photo by Anthony Murphy).

Michala demonstrates how the saddle quern would have been created by knocking the surface with a hammerstone.

Masterclass on the kiln from John Sunderland (right) for visitors from the National Monuments Service and John O’Keeffe (with Caoimhe, in high-viz jackets) of the Discovery Programme (photo by Grace McCullen).

The Usual Suspects! Members of the National Monuments Service Ciorcal Comhra visit Beaubec (photo by Grace McCullen).

Oliver is presented with a copy of Geraldine Stout’s Newgrange and the Bend of the Boyne. You can read along with Oliver by purchasing a copy from Cork University Press.

Despite being such a hard worker on the site, Elliot is presented with Matthew Stout’s Early Medieval Ireland. You can read along with Elliott by purchasing a copy from Wordwell Books.

Thank you and goodbye to Oliver, Elliott and Anelia who head back to USA.

Highly-decorated sherd of Saintonge pottery (photo by Mick Mongey).

On tour at the western end of the excavation.

Still on tour at the eastern end of the excavation. Bronagh keeps working despite the tumult.

From left are Elizabeth, Sean Collins, Dusty Flanagan, Margaret Keane, Seamus, Lynn, Tony Roche and co-Director Geraldine. Site mascot Sandy is in the foreground. Just some of the many distinguished visitors to Beaubec on Day 15.

Elizabeth Gardner’s reconstruction of the missing fortified residence at Beaubec. These reconstructions help us understand how the building worked when it was a busy Cistercian grange.

Elizabeth Gardner’s reconstruction of the missing fortified residence at Beaubec from the south-east. This illustration draws upon the expertise of archaeologist and castles specialist David Sweetman and architect Barry Drinan.

Elizabeth Gardner’s reconstruction of the wooden stairs leading down to the latrine in the service tower.

Elizabeth Gardner’s reconstruction of the latrine in the service tower.

Day 14 – The operating room

The surgical removal of the  upper kiln stones has gone very well and we can now see the flue of the earliest phase of the kiln. This partial removal of the kiln has exposed an unexpected  blocked up entrance in the barn wall which was not visible until today. Metal objects are turning up in the kiln construction and we are wondering if the kiln could have also been used for light metalwork. If anybody has come across evidence for a cereal drying kiln also being used for this purpose we would love to hear about it. Elizabeth Gardner has been working hard on her reconstruction drawings of the buildings with the helpful input of architect Barry Drinan. Integration of art and archaeology continues to be an exciting element of the excavation and we are loving the gallery of works emerging on the site. Craig’s cutting heated up today with his discovery of a beautiful piece of French Saintonge pottery in a drain.

Catherine surgically removing the upper kiln stones with John (in the background) working on his visual interpretation of a section of medieval wall.

Craig found this sherd of Saintonge pottery in the section face (photos by Grace McCullen).

Mary exposed a post hole that may have held up a scaffolding post for the barn raising.

Marie Bourke and Barry Drinan, lifelong friends of the co-directors, lend a helping hand by removing material from the medieval furrow.

A view from the spoil heap (photo by Mick Mongey).

A selection of medieval pot sherds from Day 14 (photo by Mick Mongey).

The excavation at the end of Day 14. Thanks to Anthony Murphy, this sequence of drone shots taken from precisely the same position at the end of each day has become an indispensable record of the excavation’s progress.

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