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17th-Century Artifacts Found at Soldiers’ Barracks in Ireland

Friday, June 26, 2020

Ireland Athlone FittingsATHLONE, IRELAND—According to a report in the Roscommon Herald, excavations at the Athlone Garda Barracks in central Ireland have uncovered a cobbled area and courtyard dated to the late seventeenth century. Soldiers stationed at the site left behind coins, musket balls, a thimble, a fine-toothed bone comb, a clay curler, clay pipes, glassware, military buttons, and uniform buckles. Zooarchaeologist Siobhan Duffy also identified a rooster’s lower leg bone whose spur had been sawn off. “This procedure would have been carried out during the bird’s life, to facilitate the attachment of an artificial spur for the purposes of cockfighting,” she said. The artifacts suggest that senior officers who wore curled wigs and drank from fine glassware participated in the sport of cockfighting. To read about a British fort in Cork Harbor that became a notorious prison, go to "Letter from Ireland: The Sorrows of Spike Island."

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