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Medieval Ink Pen Unearthed at Fortress Site in Ireland

Monday, December 13, 2021

Ireland Caherconnell PenCOUNTY CLARE, IRELAND—The Irish Independent reports that a dip pen made of a hollow bone barrel and copper-alloy nib has been discovered near western Ireland’s coast at the fortress site known as Caherconnell Cashel. The settlement was inhabited from the tenth century through the beginning of the seventeenth century. The pen was found in a layer dated to the eleventh century, according to archaeologist Michell Comber of NUI Galway, making it Ireland’s oldest-known ink pen. Literacy in medieval Ireland is usually associated with the church, Comber explained. The use of a replica pen suggests it was better at drawing fine, straight lines than pens made from feathers. A secular scribe may have used the pen to draw family lineages or record trade exchanges, Comber said. To read about a ruling clan's stronghold on Ireland's Lough Key, go to "Inside a Medieval Gaelic Castle."  

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