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Dublin: 22 °C Thursday 24 July, 2014

Archaeologists find ancient fish trap at Dublin quays site

The item – found at Diageo construction site on Victoria Quay – is believed to date back to the mesolithic age.

The fish trap discovered by archaeologists on Victoria Quay this week. Image: Diageo

THIS INTRIGUING ITEM, discovered by archaeologists at Diageo’s construction site at Victoria Quay in Dublin, is believed to be an ancient fish trap dating back to the mesolithic age.

The wicker trap was discovered at the deepest point of the excavation near an attenuation tank and appears to be extremely well preserved. Up until now, only post-medieval material had been discovered on the site.

The archaeological work is being carried out as part of preparations for new rain-water drainage works associated with the new Brew House close to the River Liffey.

The item was lifted from the site on Wednesday by archaeological conservators with help from the National Museum.

As part of the construction agreement with Diageo, a licensed consultant archaeologist, Eoin Halpin, was appointed to monitor the site. He told TheJournal.ie:

This is a fantastic piece of archaeology and amazing to think that such a delicate artefact has survived beneath some three metres of soil deposits.

The development has been “subject to careful archaeological monitoring” over the duration of the development programme, according to city archaeologist Dr Ruth Johnson.

The site has been excavated in two stages, both of which yielded evidence of early riverside activity in the form of wooden structures.

A similar fish trap was found in 2007 at Spencer Dock on the River Liffey by archaeologist Melanie McQuaid. After dating, that item was found to be approximately 6,500 years old, dating back to the mesolithic age.

Archaeologists anticipate that the item recovered from the Diageo site last week could be roughly the same age, but it can take up to six or eight weeks to complete the dating process.

The fish trap is the only item of significance found in the area and it is not expected that any other objects will be found.

David O’Leary, Engineering Excellence Strategy Director at Diageo Ireland said:

Diageo is delighted at the discovery of such an ancient artefact in one of the city’s most historic sites. We can now add a few thousand more years to the 254-year history of St. Jame’s Gate that we already knew about.

Read: Free history lectures to shed light on Ireland’s past>

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