Members enjoyed an interesting lecture given by County Archaeologist, Yvonne Whitty on Tuesday 12 September 2023 at the Lalor centre. Yvonne initially provided some general context about early Medieval life in Ireland between 400-1100 AD, before discussing the excavation, in March 2021, of a significant early Medieval burial site at Moneycarroll in Newtownmountkennedy. The discovery comprised three lintel graves dated between 434 and 561 AD and believed to contain the remains of three high-status females aged between 35 and 50 year. Lintel graves were lined with slabs of stone or slate and covered by larger slabs; their construction was a labour-intensive process. No grave goods were found. Evidence suggests that great care was taken in the preparation of the remains for burial; all were tightly bound in winding sheets. The type of grave and the care taken in wrapping the remains are indicators of elite status. All three graves were positioned to face the rising sun in the east. Available evidence suggests that the Moneycarroll site was in use for Christian burial prior to the arrival of Saint Patrick.
Yvonne generously fielded several questions; we are very grateful to her for sharing her knowledge and experience.
Yvonne Whitty was recently appointed as Wicklow Community Archaeologist, in an initiative to provide professional archaeological services to groups throughout the county. She is based in Tinahely and has been a licensed archaeologist since 2005.