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Medieval Monastery Excavated in Ireland’s County Meath

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

COUNTY MEATH, IRELAND—The Irish Independent reports that archaeologists led by Geraldine Stout have uncovered pottery; the bones of cows, sheep, cats, and dogs; seeds; nuts; a key; a timber dash-urn with a paddle for churning butter; and a bakery at the site of a thirteenth-century monastery in eastern Ireland. The monastery was equipped with a communal latrine, a water system, and a cellar to support between 30 and 50 monks. Previous investigation of the site revealed French jugs and ceramic roof tiles, suggesting the site was inhabited by French Cistercians from Normandy known as De Bello Becco. The monastery also had a gatehouse. “We were lucky to find waterlogged deposits which preserved a lot of timber and seeds for us so we can tell by the flat oats and cereal that the monks made and ate sourdough bread,” Stout said. The site functioned as a monastery into the sixteenth century, she added. To read about a forgotten entrance to a monastery in Ireland's County Galway, go to "The Marks of Time: Monastery Doorway."

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