| 6 February 2014
Storms unearth Neolithic bog in Ireland
The storms that battered Ireland's countryside and coastlines have exposed evidence of life dating back to the Neolithic period on Connemara's Omey island. Large linear archaeological deposits of up to a meter thick have been exposed on the western and northern shorelines of the tidal island off Claddaghduff. Traces of a Neolithic bog which had been covered over for millennia by shifting sands, have been revealed.
Clifden-based archaeologist Michael Gibbons has classified the weather impact on Omey as 'spectacular,' but says that many important archaeological features, such as midden deposits, have been destroyed along the Atlantic rim in the "severe beating of Connacht's coastal dunes" since mid-December.
Out on Omey in recent days, as winds and swell began to ease, Mr Gibbons confirmed that the churning up of an ancient bog by recent tidal surges has turned blue sea to brown. Mr Gibbons estimates the bog, at the base of the sand cliffs, to be at least 6,000 years old. Twenty meters of sand was dislodged in the swell on the northwest. "We haven't had tides this high since 1991 and previous to that in 1963, and it was the series of tides that really made an impact, affecting all of the islands."
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in co. Kerry had received a number of reports of damage to monuments on the west and south coasts and two reports of very minor damage to State monuments in the east. It said it was in 'ongoing contact' with regional staff and partners in the heritage sector, including the Office of Public Works and local authorities in the most affected areas, to identify the full extent of the damage to archaeology.
Edited from Irish Central (13 January 2014)
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