Monthly Archives: August 2013

Firing of Replica Medieval Pots

As a part of the Archaeofest event that tok place in Merrion Square for Heritage Week last Saturday, Brendan O’Neil, in conjunction with with UCD School of Archaeology’s Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Ancient Technologies Research Centre, fired the replica Leinster Cooking Ware vessels he has created for the Grassroots Project.

The event and the firing were both a huge success with many visitors coming to Merrion Square to see experimental archaeology at work.


Merrion Square on Saturday




The replica Leinster Cooking Ware Pots undergoing initial warming by the fire. This is the final step in the process of removing moisture from the clay and removes the last traces of chemically bonded water. The larger of the two pots is the one that Brendan showcased at the Grassroots Heritage Week talks.




Brendan feeding the fire. The fire needed to burn for several hours being periodically replenished. This allowed a mound of very hot embers to form.


The ceramic vessels were then moved closer to the embers to dry out further. They were rotated and their position changed in order to achieve an even drying. This helps to prevent water in the clay erupting in spalls during firing which can crack or explode parts of the pot.


Brendan then raked out the embers into a ring with a clearing in the centre.


The Leinster Cooking Ware vessels and the other prehistoric vessels fired that day were then placed inside the ring.



Brendan covering the vessels with hot embers. The temperature of the fire at this point was very high necessitating the use of the long handle on the shovel.



The job nearly done


Once covered, the vessels were then left for several hours to fire



The fire was then left to burn down completely



The remaining ash and cinder was then raked away and the vessels left to cool




And the finished result! A great success, reddened by the process of oxidisation and  blackened by reduction, this Leinster Cooking Ware replica pot has been created using the source materials the techniques and one of the firing methods available to the Medieval population of Leinster.

Heritage Week Talks

The Grassroots Tuesday talk went very well. Against the beutiful backdrop of the Baldoyle Estuary and Ireland’s Eye, Paul discussed the Grassroots project, its origins, the progress to date as well as showing photos of the new and exciting finds that the first trenches have been yielding.



Brendan O’Neill brought in an excellent reproduction of a Leinster Cooking Ware vessel. He discussed the replica’s relevance to the project and described how these medieval pots were made while also raising some interesting questions as to their form and function.


Brendan will be in action during the Archaeofest event in Merrion Square this Saturday (24th August) firing some of his Leinster Cooking Ware vessels in an experimental firing


The Grassroots Saturday Talk (24th August 2pm Baldoyle Library) promises to be just as interesting. Paul will be presenting aspects of the project for those that missed Tuesday’s talk and Enda O’Flaherty will be discussing the results of the geophysics survey. Michael Hurley will also be giving a talk on the later history of Baldoyle.

Heritage Week and August News

The Grassroots excavations have commenced!!!

Some small test trenches have been opened up in private gardens in Seagrange as the first phase of the Grassroots Project. These have yielded some interesting results so far.


The Grassroots team in association with Baldoyle Library have decided to put on 2 public of talks to mark Heritage Week. These talks will give the local community a chance to engage with the Grassroots project and to learn more about the History of Baldoyle, the background to the Grassroots Project and the results so far.

The first talk will take place on Tuesday the 20th upstairs in the Baldoyle library on Strand Road and will run from 6pm to 7.30pm. Paul Duffy will be discussing the background to the project, the Seagrange Monument, Monks and Knights and the excavation results to date, Brendan O’Neill will be in to showcase the replica Medieval pottery that he has created for Grassroots. Brendan will be talking about how these vessels were made, what they were used for and why we have found some pieces of this type of pottery in Baldoyle.

The second talk will take place on Saturday in the same venue and will run from 2pm to 4.30pm. This gives people a chance to come along if they missed the Tuesday talk. Paul will be discussing the project, its origins and progress so far, Baldoyle’s leading Local Historian, Michael Hurley will be giving a talk about the later history of Baldoyle, Seamus Johnson of Trinity College will be talking about the Dublin Vikings and Enda O’Flaherty will be presenting the results of the Geophysics survey we undertook in March as well as looking at the story of the Seagrange monument through the map sources.

Keep an ear out on Near FM for an interview with Paul next week