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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.

Published by Matthew Stout

Lecturer, School of History and Geography, St Patrick's Campus, DCU

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