3 May 2013 One Comment by The Northern Standard

A new exploration of the important archaeological earthwork the Black Pig’s Dyke is one of a series of 31 initiatives to be undertaken as part of the implementation of the 2012-2017 Co Monaghan Heritage Plan, which was formally launched by Co Mayor Hugh McElvaney at Monaghan Town’s Market House on Thursday last.

The Black Pig’s Dyke project will see work undertaken using state-of-the-art archaeological techniques to identify, map and survey the extant and potential features and fragments of the Iron Age earthwork, which is believed to date to around 100 BC.

Three standing miles of the earthwork are located in Co Monaghan, and the feature, also known as the Black Pig’s Race or the Worm Ditch, has an abiding prominence in local folklore and tradition.

Archaeologist and museum consultant Aidan Walsh in a talk on the Black Pig’s Dyke at last Thursday’s launch recalled the 1982 excavation he conducted in the Scotshouse area in 1982 when he was curator of Monaghan Co Museum – the first professional archaeological dig to take place in Co Monaghan.

Mr Walsh said that findings on that occasion seemed to indicate that the dyke was not simply formed of two sections of earth or ditches but had also included a quite substantial timber fortification made of oak, which had been completly destroyed and burnt right down to the bottom.

He told the audience that the 1982 excavations comprised a short three-week dig funded through the National Committee for Archaeology and facilitated and supported by Monaghan Co Council.

The results it produced indicated that the structure dated from between 390-70 BC, and predated Roman Britain, showing that its three-line defence of earthworks and palisade of timber was a native Irish idea and not one copied from the Romans as had been previously speculated. Its date was generally agreed by archaeologists as being around 100 BC, which coincided with other significant events in …

One Comment »

  • Hazel Ross-Perot said:

    Great to see the Monaghan Heritage Plan 2012-17 launched. Monaghan has been fortunate to have the services of people such as Aidan Walsh to secure the County’s historical legacy.