Six bodies were discovered, and ongoing post-excavation work will provide more clarity and accuracy about the burial dates.
Four skeletons have been identified by archaeologists on the site of an ancient Cork pub. This is thought to be a mass graveyard where they met their tragic end.
Cork City Council took over Nancy Spain’s, a former pub on Barrack Street. It was about to be demolished. But builders discovered skeletal remains.
Further investigations led to six additional bodies being discovered.
Cork City Council stated that these discoveries offer great insight into the turbulent past and evolution of the city over two periods.
Cork Beo ReportsThe ongoing post-excavation work can provide more clarity and accuracy about the burial dates of the discovered individuals.
After the discovery of bones under the floors of the pub last October by builders who were attempting to demolish it to make way for apartments, a post-mortem investigation was conducted before the remains were officially declared archaeological.
All parties were satisfied after discussions with the State Pathologist and the City Coroner, that the remains had historical origins.
The archaeological excavation took place in October 2021 and was conducted by David Murphy, John Cronin and Associates with the help of Niamh Daly, osteo-archaeologist.
Initial excavations revealed the partially and severely fragmented remains of two individuals, which were found beneath a rubble layer close to the party wall with No. 49 Barrack Street
A shallow mass burial pit was discovered close to the initial discoveries. This contained fully intact and articulated remains of four more bodies. They were buried in a ‘head to toe’ manner.
Niamh Daly, osteo-archaeologist on the project, said that the burial pit was the best indication of their presence. “were not treated in a respectful manner.”
She continued: “It was evident that all four individuals were buried in a manner which suggests that the hands/wrists were bound behind the backs, and it is likely that the feet/ankles were also bound.”
Although post-excavation work continues, Ms. Daly’s laboratory analysis revealed that all six of the individuals were males. Three of the four males were between 18 and 25, respectively.
According to the estimated sex, gender, age, and nature of the burial, there is a military connection for these remains.
Radiocarbon dating revealed that there was a period of time of death in Ireland. This period saw significant historical events take place in Munster and Cork.
Speaking in relation to the discovery, director of the archaeological excavation Mr Murphy said: “The Barrack Street ditch discovery raises new questions on the extent of the late 11th / early 12th century Hiberno-Scandinavian settlement in Cork.”
Ms. Daly said that based on the nature of the burial positions within the shallow graves, the four bodies met “It was a brutal and horrible end.”
City Archaeologist Ciara Brett paid tribute to David Murphy for his direction of the site excavation, adding that the new discovery of a ditch feature was “A significant archaeological discovery was made in Cork.
“The results of the radiocarbon dating would appear to suggest an association with the Hiberno-Scandinavian settlement, which has been proven through archaeological research, to have developed in the South Main Street area and the southern end of Barrack Street”She concluded.