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Diggers Unite and win?

Will Unite members’ rescue dig win award?
Alex Klemm, Monday, December 21st, 2015

Unite Archaeology members Dr Nora Bermingham and Caitriona Moore MA have been nominated for a prestigious award sponsored by Current Archaeology magazine.


The nomination – for ‘Rescue Dig of the Year’ – arises from an article they published in the magazine on excavation of Drumclay Crannog in Co Fermanagh.


“Dr Nora Bermingham and Caitriona Moore MA have made their presence felt as activists within our union,” said Jimmy Kelly, Unite regional secretary.


“So it’s not surprising to learn that they have brought that same determination to investigating our heritage,” he added.


Dating back to the eighth century, Drumclay was constructed on an artificial island or ‘crannog’ and the village endured for almost a thousand years until apparently being abandoned.


The complex of successive wattle-built houses and occupation platforms gradually fell into disrepair, with little but a low grassy mound indicating the earlier presence of a flourishing community.


Then, in 2012, work on a new link road near Enniskillen started and the Drumclay excavation project got underway.


Funded by the department of the environment Northern Ireland and the department of regional development Northern Ireland, the project was directed by Unite Archaeology member Dr Nora Bermingham. Fellow branch member Caitriona Moore was the assistant excavation director and the on-site wooden remains specialist.


“In just two years, Unite Archaeology has made its presence felt, defending the interests of members, ensuring that no archaeologist is paid below the Living Wage, and pressing forward with plans for a sectoral employment order to govern the sector,” added Jimmy Kelly. Now, the two Unite activists have been nominated for the ‘Rescue Dig of the Year’ award. Voting closes on February 8, 2016 and is open to the public.


‘Rescue digs’ is the term used to describe excavations in areas under threat from human or natural impacts – in this case, road construction.


Although there are around 2,000 crannogs across Ireland, Drumclay is particularly significant and it is already clear that the crannog is set to become a landmark archaeological site.

Readers have until February 8 to support these two Unite activists. Click here to cast your vote!


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