Celtic Fort uncovered in Ireland
- UCC archaeologists uncover anotherHilltop fort from 1,200 BC near InnishannonSaturday September 1st, 2007
Illustration of Ireland's hilltop fort dating from 1,200 BC uncovered recently near Innishannon by archaeologists from UCC.
The walls shows typical stone-age and bronze-age circular Celtic forts and building structures. The Celts commonly built circular walls around all their circular round houses and sanctuaries as well as their personal 'yard', agricultural and farm areas. Not all were considered to be actual 'forts' for warfare.Circular 1500 B.C. Irish 'fort' in Kerry area Avebury in Britain from late Neolithic and the early Bronze Ages c 3370 - 2679 BC.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS from University College Cork have uncovered...hilltop fort in Ireland on a ridge near Innishannon overlooking huge tracts of County Cork and believe that it was the first capital of Cork.
According to Prof. William O’Brien of the Dept. of Archeology at University College Cork, the oval-shaped hilltop fort near Knockavilla, Innishannon, overlooking the Lee Valley, was built over 3,000 years ago...
"For many years, an ancient enclosure, known locally as the ‘Cathair’ was known to exist on the ridge overlooking Knockavilla on the northern side of Innishannon parish," said Prof. O’Brien, adding that radiocarbon dating revealed the site was built around 1,200 BC...
According to Prof O’Brien, the site of the hillfort in the townland of Clashanimud gave it commanding views as far away as the Galtees and the Boggeraghs to the north, the Sheha Mountains to the south west and to the Paps and the Reeks to the west.
The hilltop fort defences included an outer enclosure measuring 1.02km in perimeter and surrounded by a stone faced field bank which was topped with a wattle palisade and an inner 0.8km enclosure, comprising an earthen and stone bank topped with a heavy oak palisade.
"The original hillfort entrances were located on the western side of the hillfort, where a gated passageway was found in the palisaded bank of the inner enclosure," said Prof. O’Brien, adding that the use of timbers in the palisade may have given rise to the local townland name.
"The townland name for the area is Clashanimud - the trench of the timbers - and the discovery of these massive timber fences around the hill raises the intriguing possibility that the townland name, Clashanimud may be connected to this Bronze Age site."
According to Prof. O’Brien, the late Bronze Age period in Ireland was a period of great political turmoil and endemic warfare, marked by the emergence of chiefdom societies whose territories centred on hilltop forts located in rich agricultural lands.
"You are talking here about warfare at an inter-regional level - there would have been hillfort groups up in the area which is now Limerick and Tipperary, or even Kerry, and they would have been in warfare with this Cork political group," he explained.
"Arguably, this was Cork’s first capital, but our excavations reveal evidence of deliberate burning of the inner palisade fence shortly after the hillfort was built and this appears to have been a deliberate act of war and it was never re-built or occupied after its destruction."