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Digging History At Swords Castle

Swords Castle digPictured at the Archaeological Dig at Swords Castle on Friday last, are Dr Kim Rice (UCD archaeologist) with great help fom volunteers, Brendan Black, Terry Hurrell and Michael Scullion

On Monday, 17th August a team of volunteers led by community archaeologist, Christine Baker began a month-long community excavation at Swords Castle. Since then, there has been lots of hard work and lots of finds to wash, sort and examine.
Swords Castle: Digging History, is the County Council’s first Community Archaeology project. It’s providing local people with a unique opportunity to take part in a real archaeological excavation for the first time. Working with a small team of professional archaeologists, volunteers have been digging, discovering lots of artefacts and learning how to ‘do’ archaeology. Most of the artefacts found so far are from the nineteenth century like the clay pipes made by Downey Brothers of 8 Brunswick Street Dublin, but on only the second day of the dig volunteers found a piece of a medieval ridge tile – a very exciting find.
The excavation programme is designed to answer specific questions which remain about the Castle. Although Swords Castle is one of the best surviving examples of an archbishop’s residence in the country, and was an important administrative centre, there are some questions that remain unanswered: Is there a graveyard underneath the Castle? Were there buildings within the Castle yard? How old are the different buildings in the complex? Through this project, we hope to answer at least some of these questions. The results will not only tell us more about the Castle’s 800 year history, it will also inform the future development of the Castle as the Council implements the Swords Castle Conservation Plan published in 2014. Excavation takes place each weekday until 11th September and the Council is looking for volunteers to come along and join the team. Excavation work takes place from 10am to 4.30 pm each day. Volunteers must be over 18 years and the Council asks that volunteers come along at 10am and commit to (at least) one full day.
An exhibition called ‘My Castle’ also takes place in Swords Castle from now until Friday, September 4th (except for Sunday 30th August). The exhibition explores what the Castle means to the people of Swords.