First archeological dig reveals evidence of medieval settlement at Cooley Cross
By Caoimhinn Barr
A team of archaeologists digging at Cooley graveyard in Moville has unearthed clear evidence of an early medieval monastery, likely dating back to the 7th century.
The two-week excavation, the first of its kind ever undertaken at the site, has revealed the remains of a forge; scorched earth and fragments of metal, glass and pottery.
The dig is taking place in a field just to the north of the high cross and graveyard, across what would have been the circular boundary of the ancient settlement.
“The geophysics surveys that we have done over the past few years have shown us that there is a double ringed enclosure outside the graveyard that survives,” explains one of the project directors, Max Adams.
The group is digging across the boundary because it is most likely to yield the best data.
“The [boundary] ditch would have filled up with rubbish over hundreds of years. We can then date that rubbish to give us a life history of the community that was here; their pottery, their bone, all sorts of things,” Adams explains.
“By the end of our stay here we hope to have collected enough material to get carbon dates, to work out when the monastery was founded. And ideally we would like to come back and dig more of it in future,” he adds.
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