“A great find”, archaeological discovery made by the tourist guide of Kilkenny
A previously unknown enclosure was discovered last week in the Golden Vale near Cashel by Anne-Karoline Distel, volunteer OpenStreetMap contributor and Rothe House tour guide.
OpenStreetMap is an OpenSource map that works like Wikipedia in that anyone can edit it.
Anne was working on OpenStreetMap Ireland’s project to add all buildings to the map of Ireland using satellite imagery, when she spotted a circular cut mark in the town of Garryard.
Being just as passionate about Irish heritage as she is about cartography, her interest was sparked.
Checking with older maps, she established that she was not registered anywhere and reported her discovery to Jean Farrelly at the Service des Monuments Nationaux.
The verdict fell quickly, with Jean calling it “a great find” and assigning the structure a Sites and Monuments registration number: TS053-102.
Without further archaeological excavations, the structure was classified as an “enclosure” which could refer to an animal pen, but it could also be a ringfort where a family of farmers lived and worked the surrounding fields.
Anne and Jean both noticed a line of trees south of the structure following the curvature of the cut mark.
This could indicate an old boundary surrounding a much larger structure (about 120 m in diameter) around the possible ringfort.
This line of trees forms part of the townland boundary between Garryard and Garranmore, suggesting that this part of the townland boundary dates back to a time when the eventual ringfort was settled.
Anne, who comes from a region in central Germany known by the way as the “Golden Vale” and who has no formal training in archaeology, was delighted with her discovery.
She said: “While there are many ringforts already saved in this area due to the fertile nature, I am delighted to have found another one, especially with the added intrigue of the following city limit. its curvature. It shows how meaningful and rewarding citizen science can be.
Anne, who lives in Kilkenny, has combined her passions for cartography and Irish heritage by starting a YouTube channel called “OSM for history buffswhere she presents tutorials on how to map historic features like ringforts, field names, sacred wells and creameries, to name a few.
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