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The Archaeological Digs
Part 1: 2005 - the search for the souterrain (page 1 of 3)
On 1st August 2005 we commenced a 3 day dig in search of a souterrain.
The souterrain was known to be located in the townland of Kittybane but its exact location was unknown. Funded by Derry City Council we commissioned a free lance archaeologist who obtained a permit to open the site. We hoped to locate the souterrain on the first day, explore the site surface on the second and open it on the third after which it was to be resealed and buried again. The opening was to be recorded by the BBC "Earthworks" programme makers and shown in February 2006.
Unfortunately we failed to discover the souterrain despite opening at least six long trenches to subsoil level. However we did discover the existence of a very extensive rath which the archaeologist, Chris Long, said was possibly the largest in the north-west of Ireland.
Click for information about souterraines
|The 2009 Dig
Unsatisfied with the result, as we were convinced souterrains exist in the area, we planned another more extensive dig. This time we obtained funding from the National Lottery "Funds For All" of nearly £10,000 to cover the cost of a Geophysical Ground Penetrating Radar Survey to be followed by a more detailed dig.
The survey was carried in January 2009 by Mike Langton, Technical Director of LTU Ltd which is based in Oldham. A detailed report together with an AutoCAD base plan drawing has been produced showing at least six unknown features as well as the full extent of the rath discovered in 2005.
|The field containing the dig site beside the village of Newbuildings with the River Foyle in the background. The approximate position of the rath has been marked with a red circle and the trenches with red lines.
||Mike Langton, Technical Director of LTU Ltd carrying out the survey
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We are very pleased with the results and have planned the investigative dig to start on 15th June 2009 and last for three days. The licenced dig will be carried out by a team from Gahan and Long Ltd Archaeological Services headed by Chris Long, Director, and a detailed report on the findings will again be produced.
We have space for a small number of interested people to assist with the dig even if they do not have any archaeological experience. Please contact us for further details.
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