Week 9 already – progress report by Director Finola O’Carroll

Ian in teaching mode

We are still in planning mode, with some excavation taking
place in the area of the cloister wall. Ian Kinch has been assisting some of
the new students with the intricacies of planning, specifically the joys of
drawing sections. The baulks or sides of the cuttings are drawn as a record of
the stratigraphy or layers which have developed over the remains of the walls
and floors of the buildings, and Malika and Gwen found themselves in the hot
seat in Cutting 2, while Ian and Stephen tackled the section in Cutting 3.

Limestone moulding

Clare, who joined us for yesterday and today, and Morgan
were given the task of excavating the west part of the cloister wall in Cutting
3. This involved removing soil and stones from above the wall to expose it more
fully. Mary was engaged in similar work on the north side of the wall and in
the area where the two limestone column pieces had been found she uncovered a
piece of moulding, also in limestone. This was unexpected, as so far any
decorative stone which required complex carving has been sandstone, which is
easier to work than the fossil rich limestone which this piece was worked in.

The two Lauras and the sandstone

We are also busy cleaning the pieces of worked sandstone
found in Cutting 3, so they can be properly examined. It’s clear that some of
them were from the windows of the Church and with the expert guidance of Kevin
O’Brien, OPW, we will have a better idea of exactly how they might have fitted
into the overall architecture of the church.

Later this week we plan to open another cutting to the west of Cutting 3, to expose
more of the cloister wall. We will then aim to open a final cutting for the
season to uncover the south west corner of the cloister. This will give us a
good fix on the extent of the cloister to the south, and we can then start to
follow it around its west and north sides. So much to do, so little time!!!

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About blackfriary

The Irish Archaeology Field School (IAFS) is Ireland’s leading provider of university accredited, site based archaeological research and training. The Blackfriary research project is part of a community archaeology project, based in Trim, Co. Meath. Blackfriary is a 13th century Dominican abbey site; the archaeology includes the buried remains of the medieval abbey and graveyard. Students that participate in the excavation experience and practice all aspects of archaeological excavation processes, learning from experts and leaders in their field, and contribute to an established archaeological research project. IAFS have been excavating at Blackfriary since 2010; students participating have come from all over the works including the Australia, Canada, Europe and the USA.
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