Wednesday 12 February 2014

Excavation starts at 12th-century Carrickfergus Castle

Excavation works started today at one of Ireland’s best-preserved Anglo-Norman castle: Carrickfergus Castle.

Archaeologists will be conducting test excavations as part of ongoing work to uncover more of the castle’s history and to inform future development of the castle.

The castle has been continuously occupied for more than 800 years since its construction on a rocky promotory overlooking Belfast Lough by John de Courcy soon after his 1177 invasion of Ulster.

Test excavations will be carried out at two locations to find out more about the date and survival of archaeology in the inner and outer wards. The first area of testing will focus on the remains of the Great Hall in the Inner Ward, one of the most important public areas of this Medieval Castle when it was first built by John de Courcy. The second area of testing will be in the outer ward to find out what archaeological layers survive there at present. Neither of these areas has been subject to such detailed investigation before. Excavation is vital before new projects are put in place at the castle.

Although the excavations will be fenced off for safety purposes, visitors to Carrickfergus Castle during the next three weeks will be able to view the excavation team at work and see what the archaeologists are uncovering.