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October 2018.  After a limited fieldwork season in 2017, the BSG (operating in Donegal as the Inishowen Studies Group (ISG)) carried out a programme of training and survey with a Community Archaeology Group, organised by Inishowen Development Partnership with funding from the Leader programme.

A report on the survey, of a previously unrecorded late prehistoric settlement on the Isle of Doagh, can be found on our Donegal and Bernicia page as a PDF.

For up to date information on events at the Lands of Eogain Festival please see our Facebook page Friends of Bernice and follow us on Twitter @Berniciantweets.

Donal Donnelly-Wood’s fine video diary of the 2016 field season can now be viewed on Youtube.

August 2016

Another hugely successful season on Inishowen has finished with a flurry, after stunning results from the Carndonagh geophysics survey and spectacular last-minute finds at the Cooley excavation.  For the interim report please see the PDF file on our Donegal reports page.

July 2016

Plans are now well advanced for our 2016 fieldwork season on Inishowen.  This year we will be bringing along a group of Newcastle University undergraduates to help boost our capabilities and support their studies with practical and technical expertise. No doubt they’ll have a great time.

The 2016 programme consists of proposed geophysical surveys at Carndonagh, Iskaheen and Cooley to extend our work identifying and mapping the sites of early monastic enclosures.  In addition, we will be excavating a small trial trench at Cooley, where results have already shown the potential existence of the precinct.  We hope we will be able to achieve a small insight into the character of the archaeology here, and collect samples for dating and environmental analysis.  We also hope to be able to examine more of the grave covers surveyed in last year’s field season.

Members of the public are very welcome to come and see us at Cooley; and ongoing results will be announced at this year’s Lands of Éogain festival: for details see the link below.

Lands of Éogain festival 2016

April 21st 2016

Dr Brian Lacey, the distinguished Early Medieval scholar known for his work in Donegal and on Derry and St Columba (Colm cille), delivered a fascinating paper to the MEDLAB seminar group this week.  he has very kindly provided us with a copy of the text, which can be read in full on the Donegal and Bernicia page under the drop down tab Northumbria’s Irish kings.

1st June 2015

Professor Diana Whaley, in conjunction with the BSG, is organising a colloquium on historic Northumbrian Landscapes at the Mining Institute in Newcastle on 27th June: see flyer below.

Colloquium flyer A4

27th May 2015

Our colloquium in Donegal is now taking shape as part of a weekend of events to celebrate Inishowen’s unique cultural landscape; it coincides with Heritage Week 2015, from Friday 28th August to Sunday 30th.  For details of the BSG’s events see our Donegal page, with updates on Facebook

6th April 2015: Conference and fieldwork dates on Inishowen for 2015

The BSG will be returning to Donegal this summer and, in addition to conducting fieldwork at Cooley graveyard near Moville, we are hosting a colloquium and a weekend of heritage events from August 28th to 30th.  More details will be posted here but if you’d like to contact us directly, do please email via the address on our contacts page.

October 2014: Radiocarbon dates for the ditch sequences at the  Carrowmore Ecclesiastical Complex on Inishowen, County Donegal, have just arrived:

Sediments dating from two or three phases after the primary silts have given calibrated dates of AD590-660 and AD670-870 from the inner and outer enclosures respectively.  These place the foundation of the ‘monastery’ in the second half o the sixth century, well within the floruit of Colm Cille’s Iona and of the supposed historical founder of Carrowmore, St Comhgall.  The end of the sequence is provided by a date range of AD1030-1160 from a hearth which seals the last fill of the outer ditch.

This is a great result, and an affirmation of the value of the work we have been able to carry out with our Donegal colleagues.


Geophysics on the Wall

The BSG is now undertaking geophysical survey work on and around Hadrian’s Wall at Heavenfield, traditionally the place where King Oswald set up his cross before battle in 634.  We are looking for signs of an early cult centre there before the church was built.