- Created on Wednesday, 02 August 2006
The dugout or logboat was stumbled upon in the course of pipe laying works as part of the Ballina Regional Water Scheme being carried out by Ward & Burke. Upon the discovery, on Sean and Aileen Gough’s land in Netley, Mayo County Council enlisted a team of archaeologists to assess and unearth the artefact. Following a visit to the site, The National Museum has expressed significant interest in the find.
Site Director, Ms Joanna Nolan, told the Western People: “The boat dates back to pre-historic times; obviously a tree-trunk boat, it is most likely Bronze Age which would be 3000 years ago”.
Considering the amount of land improvement that has been carried out in the region, this discovery is a fascinating one, with the canoe-like structure clearly some form of wooden boat. The team, which includes archaeologists Gary Burke, Roísín Burke, Eileen Padden, Gerard Mohan, John Kerrigan, Paul Clarke, Oliver Murphy and Michael McTighe under the direction of Joanna Nolan, delicately removed the soil strata by brushing and created a support-system to maintain the boat’s shape in preparation for it’s removal.
The logboat was found to be resting in a Fulacht Fia, (deer-roasts) indicated by the amount of burnt stone in the area. Fulachta Fiadh (plural), as the biggest single prehistoric monument in Ireland, have generated much interest in the archaeological world. Usually consisting of a rectangular water trough, they are lined with slabs of stone or wood. Despite the fact that they are commonly thought to be cooking sites, it is still not known conclusively, what purpose fulachta fiadh served or why so many were built. They could also have been used for textile production, bathing or laundries.
Ms Nolan expressed the significance of the discovery, saying, “Log-boats like this one often don’t survive and if they do, they almost immediately start to deteriorate when excavation is commenced. As this boat is particularly well preserved, the archaeology team are working diligently to remove it without damage”.
The adjacent fulacht fia indicates that the boat was brought in to the area, which was most likely a settle-ment of sorts, and placed with the intention of using it as a water trough. The boat was most likely used as a boiling receptacle, indicated by the burnt stone surrounding it. It may also have been utilised for the treat-ment of wood, dying or removal of bone marrow.
The finishing excavation work was carried out before the logboat was suc-