Iron Age Artefact Placed on Display At Clare Museum

Clare County Express, March 2008

A rare 2500-year-old artefact uncovered along the route of the N18 Ennis Bypass has been placed on display at Clare Museum. Archaeological company TVAS Ltd discovered the partial Iron Age wooden bowl at Killow, near Clarecastle, during excavations on the N18 Ennis Bypass and N85 Western Relief Road. The vessel is being exhibited alongside a modern replica of the entire bowl, produced by a US-based woodturner who downloaded a drawing of the artefact from the Clare Museum website.

According to John Rattigan, Curator of Clare Museum, “The exhibits will give visitors to the museum a good idea of the sophisticated level of design and workmanship that existed in Ireland between 777 and 407 B.C.”

TVAS director Graham Hull described the discovery of the partial wooden bowl as one of the ‘best archaeological finds’ of his 13-year career. Commenting further on the discovery, Mr. Hull said, “Once extracted from the ground, the artefact was photographed and wrapped in peat to prevent the wood drying out before being placed in an airtight plastic box. Following the cleaning and conservation of the bowl in a laboratory, we were amazed at how well the vessel had survived the 2500 years in the peat.”

Archaeological excavations along the route of the N18 Ennis Bypass and the N85 Western Relief Road took place in late 2003 and early 2004. Archaeological excavation and post-excavation work was undertaken by TVAS (Ireland) Ltd, based at Ballinruan in County Clare. Works were funded by Clare County Council through the National Roads Authority and part-financed by the European Union under the National Development Plan 2000-2006.

Some of the earliest artefacts discovered include pottery fragments, stone tools and cereal grains from a cremation cemetery containing the cremated remains of at least 27 individuals, the earliest of which has been radiocarbon dated to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age between 2450-2150 BC.

The original wooden bowl will remain on display at Clare Museum, Ennis until the end of April before it is relocated to the National Museum of Ireland.

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