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Archeology Liberty

Dublin City council have commenced new landscaping and external works aimed at improving St Audoen’s Park.  Archaeologists are excavating areas on the site ahead of any disruption by the landscaping development.

St Audoen’s park is a valuable open space for locals and visitors in the Liberties however, it also contains a rich history layered beneath its topsoil.

Archaeologist Franc Myles of Archaeology and Built Heritage told The Liberty of some of their findings on site to date.

According to Mr Myles, two historic paths lay within the precinct walls of St Audeon’s church and park. The upper path is believed to be from the 1600s and the lower path could date as far back as 1100s .

Between the two paths the archaeology team have discovered up to 300 medieval floor tiles. The tiles had been removed at some stage during interior works in the Church and were later repurposed to level the ground.

Myles believes that the medieval floor tiles are quite a significant find. The tiles feature a range of designs, some of which are confirmed to be of French origin.The floor tiles are currently in the process of being cleaned and catalogued. Once finished they are to be sent to an expert on medieval tiles who will study them and choose a number of the finer tiles and determine whether they’re worthy of exhibition.

A considerable amount of medieval pottery has also been discovered on site.

It has not yet been confirmed whether the findings will be displayed in St.Audoen’s Visitor Centre as under license the site belongs to the state. According to Mr Myles: “It’s not an automatic assumption that they’ll be exhibited or displayed – most of them may actually end up in a museum storehouse where they’re stored and catalogued to be made available for future research.”

The landscaping development, which was recommended in the Liberties Greening Strategy, aims to use the site’s historic value as inspiration for the improvements to the park.  
‘Keysers lane’ a medieval laneway which ran from Cornmarket to Cooksbridge, west of the front of the church has been exposed during the excavations.

The cobbled surface is going to be preserved in the landscaping, and when the park reopens in the summer visitors will be able to walk on the original medieval cobbles of Keysers lane.

The archeology team have also recently been excavating the site of Clancy barracks, behind Heuston station, formerly known as the Islandbridge barracks.

The barracks is situated on an early Christian Viking burial ground, which is believed to contain three different on-site burial grounds.

The site became an affluent area in dublin in the 1660’s, and after excavating three pits the archaeologists have found “high quality imported ceramics, chinese porcelain, very good quality english stuff all dating from about 1660 to about 1710”, according to Mr Myles.

The team are to return to the Islandbridge in the near future to excavate ahead of a housing development to ensure that works don’t impact on the archeology of the burial ground. Excavations on the Viking burial ground are expected to be completed in mid-summer and a report is to be submitted by the end of the year.

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