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16 September 2007
Bronze Age workshop in Ireland

Rathwood (Co. Carlow, Ireland) held a Bronze Age workshop' recently in collaboration with Umha Aois, an experimental group of artists and archaeologists who attempt to rediscover, through research and experimentation, Irish Bronze Age ancestors' casting methods.
     Situated two fields away from Rathwood is Rathgall Hillfort. Rathgall is a circular site with four concentric stone walls and extensive panoramic views. It was excavated in 1969 and evidence of late Bronze Age activity dating to 800 BCE was discovered. Extensive metal workshop areas were uncovered with finds of glass, bronze and stone objects, clay moulds, gold and glass beads. A small ring with mercury gilding was discovered. Mercury gilding was used to stick gold to bronze. Many of the objects discovered can be viewed in the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin.
     In an effort to understand more about how Irish ancestors lived and worked, Umha Aois melted and cast significant amounts of bronze using only pit furnaces, fuelled by charcoal and hand made bellows and cast in stone and clay moulds. The group interacted with the audience, answering questions and explaining how their research had led them to this workshop. As a local community, we plan to preserve the Rathgall site and educate people on its significance' said Patrick Keogh of Rathwood.

Source: Carlow People (12 September 2007)

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