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County Fermanagh



Mud, lies and hazard tape: Reviewing The Report on the Drumclay Crannog

(Slightly out of our timeline being early-medieval, and very long and detailed, but of interest to archaeological activists all the same)

I’ve written before about how a simple, unattributed blog post … just 178 words long … kicked off an advocacy campaign to ensure the correct management and archaeological excavation of a crannog at Drumclay, Co. Fermanagh. I’d had reports from trusted, experienced colleagues that the site was poorly run and equipped. Worse than that, the excavation appeared to be in imminent danger of hitting its arbitrarily allotted time limit, declared ‘complete’, and whatever else remained allowed to be destroyed … all so the road could continue. Well, we weren’t going to stand for that and, a large number of archaeologists and concerned members of the public banded together to cause a fuss. We were joined by a significant number of professional organisations, including the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, and the BAJR Federation. We set up a Facebook page, we ended up on radio and television talking about it, we eventually presented a paper at the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland conference in Belfast, and even wrote pieces about it for Archaeology Ireland magazine [here & here]. The initial reaction of the relevant government departments was to close ranks and claim that they were satisfied with the conduct of the excavation and that everything was running according to plan. When that failed, it was claimed that they were aware of the issues and were already working hard behind the scenes to resolve them. The significant breakthrough came when then Minister for the Environment, Alex Attwood, visited the crannog, was convinced of its importance and subsequently ordered an exclusion zone around the site, along with instituting a competent regime of excavation and management. To paraphrase Hunter S Thompson’s obituary of Nixon: ‘That is Drumclay, in a nut, for people with seriously diminished attention spans.’

ryaner Posted by ryaner
18th July 2015ce

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