Double-headed eagle finial from Faughart Lower, Co. Louth

One of the most intriguing objects I have worked on so far has recently been published in the new edition of seanda, the archaeology magazine of the Irish National Roads Authority (NRA). It is a bifurcated iron finial ending in two averted birds’ heads with eyes and beaks inlaid in copper-alloy, probably brass. The object was found in the grave fill of burial 1482 from the early medieval cemetery-settlement site at Faughart Lower.

The selection of finds from the site, investigated during the construction of the A1/N1 Newry–Dundalk Link Road, suggests more than just a passing contact with Vikings. Among the material are three crucibles, at least two of which are of triangular shape, a silver ingot and a stone mould for ingots, which provides evidence of non-ferrous metalworking. The site also has one of the earliest incidences of the combined use of plough share and coulter from Ireland.

You can find the article ‘Vikings at Faughart Lower?’ by Niall Roycroft on the NRA webpage in seanda (issue 7, 2012) on page 46–7.