Submerged prehistoric fort found in Clew Bay

A submerged prehistoric fort has been found during a survey of Clew Bay on Ireland’s western coast.

The discovery was made by archaeologist, Michael Gibbons, who identified a pair of large double ramparts cutting across a tidal isthmus linking Collanmore Island to the mainland.

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The ramparts have gone undiscovered until now, as they are covered during high tide and concealed by seaweed when the tide is low.

“We were lucky on the day as there were men cutting seaweed in the same area, and I had a team from Connemara and archaeologists from Mayo County Council with me,” said Mr Gibbons to the Irish Independent.

According to Mr Gibbons, the ramparts are faced with limestone blocks over an area of 200 to 300 metres and date from the Bronze Age between 1100 to 900 BC.

The location likely granted the Bronze Age inhabitants a strategic advantage against potential invaders. Meanwhile, the ramparts probably served to regulate access by channelling people coming from the mainland through a singular entry point.

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Similar rampart fortifications can be found at a number of coastal and lake promontory forts on Irelands western coast, including one example a short distance to the north of Newport, and another promontory fort on Lake Carra.

Mr Gibbons has reported the fort discovery to the National Monuments Service, along with a possible stone lined grave he found on the coastline opposite Omey island. According to Mr Gibbons, the powerful swells along the coast have sucked the sand out of the site, revealing a layer of inter-tidal peat with a small cist-like structure.

The structure is stone-lined and in a sub-rectangular shape, however, the monument lacks a cairn or mound and could simply be a trough from a ­“fulacht fiadh”, or ancient outdoor cooking pit.

Header Image Credit : Mariusz Z – CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

Sources : Irish Independent

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Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

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