Medieval discovery: pottery and leather shoes found in dig


REMNANTS of what appears to have been a medieval mill, including “very well-preserved” timber beams, pottery and leather shoes, have been found underneath Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, Dublin.

The discovery by archaeologists came as part of the mandatory archaeological survey, as work got under way on the construction of a retractable rain-cover over the square. The building works have now been halted.

Temple Bar Cultural Trust is describing the discovery as “very exciting”.

A delay of up to 12 weeks in building works will mean events planned in the square to mark the 20th anniversary of Temple Bar, scheduled for July, will now have to be staged elsewhere. Dermot McLaughlin, chief executive of the trust, is not disappointed, however.

“It’s fine. We’ll find other outdoor spaces and hold a separate event in the square in September. This find is very exciting. We’re really buzzing about it.”

Archaeologists had been on site only since last Tuesday.

Alan Hayden, archaeological site director, said he had not been expecting to find anything of significance at the site.

“There was very little development in this area in the 1300s. It was just fields. We had just been scratching at it for a day or so though and we noticed there was stuff all over the place. Construction work had to be halted.

“So we can see there is the clay floor of a medieval building, five or six big timber beams, bits of medieval pottery and leather shoes. They were in very wet, boggy conditions and are very well preserved.

“It is very early days but it would appear to be a mill. They would probably have been milling grain here. It depends who owned the land but usually anyone who owned an abbey or a large amount of land would build a mill and their tenants would have to mill their grain there, and pay to use the mill.”

The site has been closed while shores are put in and a full excavation of the site is planned. Objects will have to be collected, washed, conserved and sent to the National Museum.

The development at the square, when complete, will comprise four 21m (69ft) high poles around the square, which will act as “umbrellas” with retractable, overlapping canopies. These will be flood-lit and music will play as they open and close.