Viking conscience in the pavement of Essex Street, a spear tip, combs, and a strike-a-light:
But now back to the WAC conference. The day began too early as usual, but was nevertheless very interesting. The first session was about trackways, their role in daily and ritual life and so on. Some pretty interesting finds came up in the last years, including the earliest Bronze Age block wheel in Ireland. Which is interesting in itself, because wheels found near trackways are a kind of conundrum since most trackways were not suitable for wheels. A second exciting find has been made in Ballycahill where a surface made of huge stoneboulders, filled in with cobbles, has been excavated. The sheer size of the boulders and the platform (164 x 27 m excavated so far) is awesome. It is tentatively dated to the Neolithic, however, no absolute dates exist so far. But the ritual´Neolithic mound of Tullahedy, a Neolithic flint mine, and the love for stone monuments in this period makes it probable that the platform is somehow related to this important Neolithic centre, too. The only object discovered on this huge site so far is a stone phallus.
During lunchbreak Simon O'Dwyer presented replicas of Irish musical instruments from the late Neolithic (Wicklow pipes) to the late Iron Age (Loughnashade trumpa):
He then played the instruments to make us 'die of joy' like in the Tain Bo (Leinster cycle): Then they played, sweet and sad was the playing, twelve of Ailill's men died, as they heard... but none of us died, so maybe he still has to practise a little bit. Here you can see him performing on a middle Bronze Age horn:
Have a look at his webpage with soundsamples http://www.prehistoricmusic.com/
I even had time to go to my favourite artisan, Iain, the potter:
Although he is specialising in replicas of Irish Late Stone Age and Bronze Age pottery, he also does a variety of prehistorically inspired artwork. Here is one of his little druids:
If you happen to come to Dublin. His Bronze Age pots are available at Whichcraft Gallery, Cow's Lane, Dublin 2.
The afternoon session was about deposits in bogs and lakes and included everything from the bodies on crannogs over the medieval Fadden More Psalter to deposits in a volcanoe lake in Mexico.
An interesting but exhausting day is over. Yaaaaaahwn............