Return to Ferns

This week started with a new trip to Ferns and ringwork site. Having been to Ferns before, I was excited as I know Ferns to be a nice town. In Ferns, we went to the sites of St. Mary’s Abbey and Fern’s Castle where we learn their histories. In St. Mary’s, we learn about the events that led up to the Norman Invasion and the people involved. We visited the cathedral there, MacMurrough’s grave, and the remains of the original Abbey before leaving to grab tea. After tea, we went to Fern’s castle to take a tour and learn about its relationship to the site. One of the highlights, is visiting the top of the castle, where we have beautiful views of the town.

A pretty view of Ferns on top of the castle

Practice Makes Perfect

At the ringwork site, we discussed a bit about the history and features of the site before engaging in activities. The activities are designed to help the new group of students better understand archaeological techniques. These activities include practising surveying, levelling, and planning. I helped with the surveying and the levelling, teaching students how to handle the technology. Instructing the students is also beneficial to me as it enables me to review and improve my own techniques. The activities are quite relaxing as we are in a beautiful forest. We also had the chance to explore and discovered a river, which is also beautiful. The day ended when our supervisors brought ice cream to us and we enjoyed a cool treat before heading back.

A beautiful river by the ringwork site
A beautiful river by the ringwork site

Clearing Cutting 1

After the first day of the week, work on site was quite consistence. Turns out that we must trowel the Southern section down to the 12th century layer before we start planning. As such, we began to trowel down the gray clay that defines the layer. However, this process is slow since the cutting was full with the other interns trying to fit in. Later, the other interns were assigned different jobs, so the cutting cleared up. In the end, only another intern and I were left in the cutting. This prove to be beneficial as the absence of the other interns, enables us to work faster. As such, we clear the last bits of soil and manage to get photos done before lunch. After lunch, we started to plan for the rest of the day.

In other news, the students in Cutting 4 managed to take out the tree stump!

Feast Day

The last day of the week is interesting. Today is the last day with the new group, so they will be preparing a feast. Meanwhile, we continue to plot points. Plotting was easy as we retrace the old plan and plot new points. Figuring out which points to plot was harder as its difficult to determine the outline of the furnace. To clearly define the points, we had to water the site and expose the layers. Once finished, we can determine the outline and plot it. After tea, we got involved in the feast by helping move ham up the hill. The ham was cooked in a Fulacht Fiadh, a boiled water pit, where we moved it with a stick. Once up the hill, we enjoyed the ham, as well as stew and potatoes. Since our plan is mostly finished, we relax for the rest of the day.

Planning wasn’t so bad, if you traced an old one.
A different pit where the stew is made.

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