A Viking fortress of major importance has been discovered at Annagassan, County Louth in Ireland. The extensive site, which was uncovered following targeted research excavation, is believed to be the infamous Viking base of Linn Duchaill. A defensive rampart, consisting of a deep ditch and a bank, was excavated and while radio carbon dates are awaited to confirm the date the rampart has all the appearances of the main fortification of the Viking Fortress.
Linn Duchaill was founded by Vikings in 841 AD – according to medieval Irish annals, the Norsemen used this place to raid throughout Ireland, trade good and export Irish slaves. A battle was recorded as having taken place her in 851, and in 927 the Vikings abandoned Linn Duchaill in order to move to Britain.
The archaeological work was only started three weeks ago on a stretch of farm land between the coast and the river Glyde. Finds of Viking ship rivets and cut-up Viking silver and looted Irish metalwork also appears to be amongst the excavated material.
Conducted under the aegis of the Annagassan and District Historical Society the excavation was directed by Dr. Mark Clinton in collaboration with Eamon P. Kelly, Archaeologist, and local historian Micheal McKeown. The excavation work was carried out by Archer Heritage Planning. Funding was provided by the Louth Leader Partnership under the Rural Development (LEADER) programme and Louth Archaeological and Historical Society, and follows a geophysical survey of the site financed by the County Museum Dundalk. The discovery is the culmination of a long term research project to identify the site of the Viking fortress of Linn Duchaill, founded in 841 A.D. the same year as Viking Dublin.
Dr Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum of Ireland, told the Irish Times “This could be on a par with Woodstown in Waterford, which has been shown to be a pure Scandinavian settlement of the mid-ninth century during the raiding phase of the Vikings.”
Eamonn Kelly, who is also a keeper of antiquities with the National Museum, said that historians and archaeologists have been trying to find Linn Duchaill for more than 200 years, “and the significance of it is immense. It will be up there with all the major Viking sites in Europe.”
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