ONE of the potentially most exciting archaeological excavations ever undertaken in Co Cork is set to start early next year.
A site near Twopothouse, north of Mallow, is believed to be home to a wide variety of artifacts dating from the iron age up to medieval times.
Cork County Council has sought tenders for a large excavation and postponed a €3 million road realignment project to facilitate the dig. Council spokesman Aidan Weir said the local authority will delay work removing bends on the Twopothouse-Doneraile road to facilitate the project.
When preliminary work started in the area last March, archaeologists discovered what they believe to be the remains of a large medieval village.
Test trenches revealed corn-dying kilns, pottery and iron weaponry.
A bead made in Africa was also discovered at the site, which is believed to have prehistoric remnants.
Local historians are convinced the remains of a fort, church and houses exist in the area.
County archaeologist Catryn Power said the dig is potentially as exciting as when UCC Professor William O’Brien discovered what is believed to have been Cork’s first capital, near Innishannon.
The huge ringfort he discovered was estimated to be more than 3,200 years old.
“Archaeologists will be looking at a settlement which dates from prehistoric times up to possibly the 16th century. It is possible that an early Christian monastery existed in the Twopothouse area,” said Ms Power.
Nobody knows why the sizeable settlement ceased to exist in the 16th century, but archaeologists will be trying to find evidence of what happened.
“It could have been deserted for economic reasons, disease, or due to attack. The inhabitants may even have just have disbanded the settlement and become amalgamated with the Anglo-Norman families in the area, such as the Roches and the Synons,” said Ms Power.