Mr Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, today, (9 April 2014), announced the discovery of an important collection of Viking artefacts, along with Bronze and Iron Age logboats, in Lough Corrib, Co. Galway.
The Minister has revealed that 12 newly-discovered logboats, ranging in date from 2,500 BC to the 11th century AD, had been investigated in the course of a series of dive surveys by the Underwater Archaeology Unit from his Department’s National Monuments Service. The Minister said the logboats “are not only an outstanding find in their own right but are also accompanied by a remarkable range of high quality artefacts.”
The Minster speculated that one of the logboats, found near Carrowmoreknock, may have been on a raid when it sank as it contained a selection of 11th-century weapons, including three Viking style battle-axes with intact wooden handles, an iron work axe and two iron spearheads. The three battle-axes will be a centrepiece of the National Museum of Ireland’s Battle of Clontarf commemorative exhibition, due to be launched by the Minister tonight.
The Minister said that he was “delighted” to be able to support his Department’s continuing investigations into what he termed a find of major archaeological and historical significance. “The range of logboat discoveries, extending from the Bronze and Iron Ages up to medieval times, coupled with the associated weaponry, presents a whole selection of new evidence that will help to create a much greater understanding of life on the lake and in the wider hinterland over several thousand years” said the Minister. He added that the exceptional quality of the finds also meant that they provided “a unique insight into a wide range of prehistoric and medieval activities, including raiding, hunting, wood working, boat building, trade, travel and transport”
The Minister confirmed that the National Museum of Ireland is supporting the project by taking on responsibility for care and conservation of all recovered artefacts.
The initial discovery of the logboats was made by Mr Trevor Northage of www.anglingcharts.com, a marine surveyor, who is mapping the lake to produce up-to-date and accurate navigation charts.
The Minister cautioned potential visitors to the Lake that a licence is needed from his Department to dive any of the discovery sites.