Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dunnyneill Islands

Dunnyneill Islands are located in southern Strangford Lough, close to the village of Killyleagh, County Down. The Dunnyneill Islands consist of the main island (measuring 100 yards in diameter) and a second, smaller island linked by a short stone causeway. Island Taggart lies to the north-west of Dunnyneill Islands.

Believed to be named for Niall of the Nine Hostages, a fifth century king of Ulster who took hostages from nine kingdoms around the UK, one of whom was St Patrick.
1. Site of an early medieval emporium.
2. A long rectangular hut was built on the island around 900 AD, during the Viking invasions.
3. After a period of disuse, it was re-occupied during the 13th century. A belt buckle from this period was found

Luxury goods, lots of wine

Excavations on Dunnyneill have revealed a 7th century "trading emporium" frequented by merchants from as far afield as modern day Russia, Germany, Iceland and France.
Back in early medieval times, there was no cash economy, few buyers, and even fewer sellers, but there are surprising parallels between these ancient trading outposts and modern shopping centres.

According to archaeologist Dr Philip MacDonald, who led the dig on Dunnyneil, merchants would have brought wine and other luxury products to Ireland to exchange at emporia for furs, seal skin, slaves and famed Irish wolfhounds.
"High status members of the Dal Fiatach [the local dynasty whose royal centre was Downpatrick, County Down] and local traders, would have frequented the island," he said.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

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