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Vikings or Viking Things? Revisiting Cloghermore Cave

15 August, 7:30pm - 9:30pm

  • Ashe Memorial Hall, Denny Street, Tralee, County Kerry
  • V92CXE3
  • Co. Kerry

This talk, presentation and interactive workshop led by archaeologist Francesca Callaghan (Explore Archaeology) will re-examine the archaeological evidence for a Viking presence in Kerry. This workshop will explore her current research on the material culture from Cloghermore Cave, and the identity of those interred within. The workshop will also feature a Q & A session, alongside artefact viewing (including some of the assemblage not usually on display) and replica artefact handling. All are welcome! Francesca Callaghan is an archaeologist, heritage educator and ancient technology specialist. She is a Heritage in Schools Specialist with The Heritage Council and holds a PhD Track and BA (Hons) in Viking Age Archaeology. Through her company Explore Archaeology, Francesca has facilitated archaeological workshops and events for both children and adults across heritage sites in Ireland and the UK - including Brú na Bóinne, Kilkenny Castle and Loughcrew Cairns.

Cloghermore Cave, near Tralee, County Kerry was excavated over two seasons in 1999-2000, following the recovery of an iron axehead from the site and the discovery of an iron axehead from the site and the discovery of large quantities of human and animal bone. The excavation completely changed our knowledge of Viking settlement in Kerry. Excitingly, Cloghermore Cave produced more archaeological evidence for Viking settlement in Kerry than anywhere else in Ireland bar Dublin and Woodstown, County Waterford. Cloghermore Cave is now sealed and in the guardianship of the state. The finds from the site are now part of the collection of Kerry County Museum and key artefacts are on permanent display in the Main Gallery. The excavations suggest that there were two phases of burial at the site: an earlier phase around 700AD and a later phase around 900AD. The earlier burials would appear to be of a native Irish population, while the latern burials are Viking in character. Cloghermore Cave produced more than 350 individual artefacts of iron, bone, antler, ivory, amber, bronze and silver, all associated with the later phase of burial, as well as clear evidence for ritual practices. The fact that many of the bones came from neo-natal animals, cows, sheep and pigs, and that three pieces of jasper were amongst the finds, suggests possibly that the Vikings buried there were worshippers of Freya, the Scandinavian goddess of fertility. Kerry County Museum is delighted to welcome archaeologist Francesca Callaghan who will re-examine the archaeological evidence.

Further Information

Kerry County Museum

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