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Heaven lies under the baulk | Excavating Rinnaraw, Co.

Donegal in 1989
Originally posted online on 11 April 2014 at rmchapple.blogspot.com
(http://rmchapple.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/heaven-lies-under-baulk-excavating.html)
Some time ago, Stuart Rathbone (he of Campaign for Sensible Archaeology fame) posed the
question of what was it like on archaeological excavations in pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland? Id
meant to reply at the time, but as these things do it slipped my mind. Before I forget again,
I thought Id set down a few notes about way back then as a record of that time.


Excavation in full swing at Rinnaraw 1989
I began my study of archaeology in UCG in September 1988. The way that the 1st Arts course
was set up then (and I believe it still is) was that you had to pick four subjects for first year,
reducing that to two in your second year for your degree. Rightly or wrongly, archaeology was
seen as something of a soft option to fill the requirement of what to take as a fourth subject.
That was the primary reason that the first year class habitually had about 200 students
enough to fill the Cairns lecture theatre (named for the economist, John Elliot Cairns) and,
in my time at least, this evaporated down to about 20 for 2nd and 3rd year. Back then the
entirety of the required coursework for the year were four essays. I remember one being on
the Neanderthals and another on Early Christian monasteries. Based on ones scores on these
essays the Department made the selection as to who was invited to go on the university
training excavation. At any rate, that was the official story. I have a feeling that this was
relatively loosely interpreted, relying as much on a student's enthusiasm for the subject as
anything else. It was coming close to the end of term when I was approached by Tom Fanning
and invited to join him on the excavation of Rinnaraw, Co. Donegal. I use the word invited,
but the real dynamic of the situation could be better summed up in words like told, informed,
or ordered. I was given the strong impression that this would be a good thing to do, it would
look good on the CV and that refusal was not an option. That said, it had been all Id wanted
all year, so there was no way I was going to refuse.


Overview of Rinnaraw excavation in 1989
So, one fine morning in July 1989 Tom loaded up myself and two other students into his car
and we began a sedate drive to Donegal. On campus, we always addressed him as Mr. Fanning
hed not gotten his PhD at that stage. Now he instructed us to call him Tom, though it felt
as much of a formal salutation as before. Even when we got back to college, and long after, I
always called him Tom. Usually he didnt seem to mind, but every so often I received a slight
glare of rebuke for my field informality. Tom had a number of reputations at UCG. One was
that he had no sense of humour. Time after time hed wander along the blackboards, furtively
looking for chalk only to come away empty-handed. Invariably, hed mutter chalk appears to
be at a premium and chuckle to himself. He appeared to be largely alone in seeing the humour
in such situations. However, once away from the university and installed in a pub with a
whiskey he was witty, humorous, the life and soul of the party, and told amazing stories.
However, his other reputation was harder to shake. He was widely known as somewhat
sparing of his financial assets to the point of parsimoniousness. I just have to say it plainly:
he was mean! The best description of him though I wont name the source explained: he
has a paralysis of the elbow that prevents him from dipping too far into his own pocket. That
said, we were a bunch of students on a training dig and were getting paid 30 a week, with
accommodation included. As we were resident in Rinnaraw and had no means of transport,
this effectively amounted to a somewhat less than princely 4.30 a day. I know it was a long
time ago, but not so far back that you would have thought yourself rich with a fiver in your
pocket! A further downside to the situation was when lunchtime came around Tom would
make his way across the road with us to our accommodation (he had a house to himself slightly
further away) and expect to be provided for. He sometimes even complained if the offered
viands were not to his liking, instructing us to purchase better quality or different brands in
future. Im reliably informed that on one excavation of his, long before my time, the crew got
so fed up of this mooching off their limited assets that they resolved to eat lunch only when he
wasnt around. We never took it that far, but were sorely tempted.


Saddle quern as discovered, face down, in Quadrant C
Tom had dispatched one further graduate student to Donegal a few days ahead of us to begin
desodding of the area for the new season. After we finally arrived at the site Tom never broke
the speed limit on any occasion I ever travelled with him we walked up to the newly
uncovered area to inspect the progress. I still remember standing there in the dimming light,
the warm breeze rustling the grass, and just feeling so incredibly excited that tomorrow I was
going to start my first ever archaeological excavation! Tom and the post-graduate were in deep
conversation about the desodding and the potential for discovering features by the time my
mind wandered off. Something on the ground had caught my attention and I reached down
and picked it up. It was a small piece of what I now know to be metallic slag. However, as I was
in the process of examining it, the post-graduate was saying possible metallic object have
left it in situ for the moment where did it go? It was at this point Tom caught my eye and
angrily spat Chapple! Put that down! Perhaps not the most auspicious of starts.


Saddle quern after being turned over.
The following morning we gathered on site and I had resolved not to touch anything I was not
specifically instructed to. From memory, the newly opened portions of the site (quadrants C &
D), to the north of the house, were nominally (but not actually) gridded out in 2m blocks. Some
of the others were tasked with investigating these new areas, myself and another student were
instructed to clean down part of the house wall (on the southern end), partially excavated
during the previous season. Tom set about erecting the plane table and orienting last years
site plan. My companion, working diligently with trowel and brush, uncovered a furnace
bottom within the first twenty minutes. For those not familiar with the term, a furnace bottom
is just that the material left in the bottom of the furnace after the good iron has been drawn
off. It is composed of all the impurities along with quite a bit of the remaining iron. It retains
the shape of the rounded base of the bowl furnace and part of the tuyre, used to blow air up
through the furnace. On the other hand, if youve never seen one before (and are possessed of
a peculiarly juvenile sense of humour) it looks like a giant metal breast replete with nipple. So,
more a furnace boob than a furnace bottom. But I digress. My friend excitedly called Tom over,
explaining that hed found something metallic, but didnt know what it was. Tom then spent
some time instructing us on the origin and formation of furnace bottoms he may have been
mean in other ways, but sharing knowledge was not one of them! My friend was then
instructed to approach the plane table and retrieve the brass-ringed end of the site measuring
tape. This was gently reeled out to the artefact and held in position while Tom calculated the
angle and scaled the length onto the site plan. It was only half an hour later, when I found an
artefact of my own, that I realised that there was a delicate etiquette at work here of which I
had not been fully. I uncovered an interesting looking stone, gave it a bit of a brush down and
realised that it was a shattered portion of a rotary disc quern. I may not have had much
experience in archaeology, but I could recognise this! It had a smoothed underside where the
grain had been ground against the base stone. It had a coarser, curving surface, and at its
thickest edge, I could just make out the curvature of the central perforation where the grain
was fed in. I was well chuffed with my discovery. I got up from my kneeling position and
walked over to Tom, standing sentinel-like at the plane table. I need the measuring tape! I
said Ive just found a piece of a quern stone. Tom physically and metaphorically looked
down on me (he was very tall and I remain quite Hobbit-like) and, with a brief sigh, replied
Let me see. I took him over and showed him the fragment. He looked down at me some more
and said No. I couldnt believe it! How could he not recognise this for what it was? Admittedly,
it had broken in a slightly unusual way, so that it resembled a slightly squashed Z that has
been left out in the sun. Astonished at his lack of perspicacity, I began to enlighten him, but I
was silenced with another swift No. He sighed and explained Until I confirm your suspicion,
youve not found anything. It is only for the site archaeologist to say what has been discovered.
Well, that was me told! After that, I couched my descriptions of what Id found in appropriately
vague language and only approached the plane table to retrieve the end of the tape measure
when beckoned.


Saddle quern being taken off site
In terms of the general work on the site, we were instructed to only excavate in our designated
2m square. I found this particularly problematic, as Tom required that we all work at the same
pace, with the entire surface being brought down at exactly the same rate. Thus, there could
not be any steps or steep inclines between your square and your neighbours area. Any
enthusiastic trowelling that lowered your area more quickly than those around you brought
Toms wrath and the accusation that you were creating features. The site was on the edge of
a slight drop, and we were instructed to dump our spoil over the edge to the west. Tom wanted
us to carefully hand sift our spoil to ensure that no artefacts were inadvertently overlooked.
However, the wind always seemed to conspire to turn any attempt at careful examination of
the spoil into a swirling, choking dust cloud. It was for this reason that we frequently attempted
to wait until Tom was otherwise engaged, and then just fling the spoil over the edge and run
for it. Thinking back on that excavation, I remember that I had the same charcoal addiction
that many newly minted excavators suffer from. Simply put: its a near-unshakable belief that
a) anything even remotely black is charcoal; b) all charcoal is of the highest importance and
must be bagged and retained. Thankfully, Tom was remarkably patient on this point and gave
careful tuition on what should (and should not) be saved. I clearly remember my first
encounter on this topic, when Id called him over to suggest that we bag some wonderful,
important charcoal charcoal that was actually a piece of a rotted briar and of no particularly
great vintage.


The delicate art of 'back spading'
In many respects, the work of excavation hasn't changed much in the last quarter century. We
were usually on our knees with some large trowel that owed more to the broadsword tradition
than the elegant and sophisticated 4-inch WHS pointing trowel I later came to know and love.
Coal-shovels, plastic buckets, and fire-side brushes were all de rigueur, same as today. In more
recent times, I've seen ferocious brick-hammers and mini-mattocks used, but here we had
delicate hand-picks that, in retrospect at least, seemed laughably effete. I don't remember
there being any long-tail shovels, nor were there any mattocks. For that matter there was no
requirement for hard hats, steel-toed safety boots, high-viz vests, sun block, or gloves. I was
about to write that I have no memory of there having been kneelers in use, but a quick survey
of the photos shows that to be a lie. As a research dig, there was no sign of what was to become
the most ubiquitous of all excavation tools: the mechanical excavator. The one tool that was
there in spades was ... well ... spades. Any large-scale work that couldn't be carried out with a
trowel was done by spade. The postgraduate student shipped off ahead of us had desodded
Quadrants C and D by spade (and left the sods neatly piled up on the windward side to protect
us from the worst of the spoilheap dust. When these quadrants were taken down it was by
'backspading' where the ground is broken up in thin spits over a large area. I've never seen this
done on any other site, thought this mat be because on most sites the mechanical excavator
removed everything down to the natural, leaving only enough for the 'shovel scraping'. I've
also never been on a site since where the plane table dominated. My memory is that Tom
explained that he'd learned the methodology at Knowth, Co. Meath (where he was only the
second person in modern times to enter the second passage, after George Eogan). Looking
back now, I see that some of the biggest changes have been in terms of the measuring devices.
Back then it was quite usual to have fabric tapes with brass-bound tips and winding handles,
in sewn leather cases. While these have been replaced with near identical plastic versions, the
folding wooden ruler has, to the best of my knowledge, all but disappeared from the
excavators repertoire.


Tom unfolding his measuring stick
Tom had designed the site so that a central baulk remained running roughly north-west to
south-east through the site. Among other things, his was intended to allow a site-wide vertical
stratigraphic record to be maintained. However, it never ceased to be a source of aggravation
to him from students tripping over it (largely me, Im afraid) to it always appearing to be
directly in the path of the best and most promising archaeology. Invariably, Tom would sigh
and then chuckle to himself In whatever passed for a sense of humour and say: heaven
lies under the baulk. In this instance it turns out he was largely correct. I was told that in his
last year on the site, when they finally removed the baulk, that some of the best finds were
recovered from it. It wasnt funny but it was right.


Excavation in Quadrant B

Drain inside house (I think)

Fragment of trough quern with stylistic links to Scotland
In reviewing the photographs that I have from this time, Im struck by a number of things.
First is that theyre in black & white. Following from this is that I didnt take another
archaeology-related photograph for several years the next photos in my collection date from
1991! Ive always been interested in photography. Ive never had much skill, but Ive always
had an interest. When I was a child, I wanted a camera like the one my dad had: an SLR with
focusable lens, aperture and shutter speed settings. That was a proper camera! What I got for
my birthday one year (my 14th or 15th birthday, I think) was definitely not that! It was a
snappy camera with a fixed lens and nothing else. I was less than enthused, though I do
believe that my parents may have had deeper insight into my photographic abilities that I
realised! However, this was what I had to work with and I was certainly going to bring it with
me to Donegal! My choice of going monochrome was, I think, purely influenced by my
university reading. Simply put, all these excavation reports Id been reading in the James
Hardiman Library had black and white photos in them, so it must have translated in my little
mind that, if Im going on an excavation, Id better be taking the same kind of stuff. That little
camera went everywhere with me while we were in Donegal and I tried to photograph
everything with it. I took quite a few shots of us working on the site, though I also took lots of
the various artefacts as they were discovered. Unfortunately, my combined lack of
photographic knowledge and general sense meant that all the artefacts are out of focus and
off-centre. It was all off-centre because what I could see through the viewfinder wasnt what
was taken by the lens, and as a cheap snappy camera it didnt have the ability to focus on
anything closer than c.0.5m, so everything was blurry. Tom was unaware of my lack of
technical prowess and repeatedly requested that I promise not to publish any of these. Unless
there comes a time when such egregiously out of focus images can be restored to sharpness
and clarity, Im afraid that I will have to stick by that agreement.


Shell midden during excavation

One of the shell middens

Shell midden during excavation
The second thing is the lack of archaeological photos for several years after this point. This is,
in part, related to my lack of familiarity with black and white photography. Specifically, my
lack of experience with getting the stuff printed. If memory serves, it used to cost IR5-7 to
get a 24-exposure roll of colour printed. I hadnt realised that B&W didnt work the same way.
I dropped the film in and said get me a set of prints, please. To make matters worse, my
girlfriend at the time had asked for a set of prints of her own so I must have said get me two
sets of prints, please. I nearly keeled over when I went to collect the prints a couple of weeks
later, only to find that my bill was in the region of 20 each. No wonder I didnt take a photo
for several years and only then when it was on a work account! Looking back, I'm also struck
by my early interest in doing panoramic shots. Anyone that reads this blog of knows me
through Facebook or Twitter will be aware of my predilection for these 'stitched together'
images. They're pretty easy to do and there are quire a few free applications that can crate
them automatically. Back then it was a case of taking two photographic prints and a stick of
glue and attempting to carefully match them together. For the purposes of this piece, I've
redone the panoramas in digital format ... I think they came out pretty alright!


Excavation of one of the internal corners of the house
Looking over these photographs reminds me that this was the last time I saw Edward. Edward
was from Raphoe in Donegal, about 30 miles away from Rinnaraw. Id met him during my
time in the Boy Scouts in our early teens and, along with one or two others, had a number of
adventures (and misadventures) across various Irish hillsides and mountains. These generally
included getting lost and/or drenched. On one occasion, it even involved a six-pack of beer
(illegally sold to three underage Scouts) which exploded inside a small tent somewhere near
the Barnesmore Gap but thats another story! Somewhere along the way, Edwards name got
mentioned to Tom, together with the fact that he was interested in history. My memory was
more that Edwards interests lay in 20th century Russian history, but Tom still suggested that
I give him a call and see if he was interested in coming along. The telephone call was made,
Edward was interested, and was duly deposited in Rinnaraw a couple of days later by his
mother. I took him up onto site, introduced him to Tom who provided some basic instruction
and gave him a square to trowel. Tom then turned to me and said and, of course, youll be
taking care of his food out of your own allowance and then walked away. Such were the times
and such were the trials of working with Tom!


Excavation along south-western wall, near entrance
While Tom completed the excavation, he didnt survive long enough to write it up for
publication. That task was eventually taken on by my old friend, and very talented
archaeologist, Michelle Comber. She noted that Upon removal from storage, the excavation
archive was found to contain small nds, some of the quern fragments, iron slag and samples
of soil, charcoal, bone and shell. Site records included a number of plans and excavation
diaries, in addition to miscellaneous items of paperwork relating to funding, dating and
licensing. Several of the small nds were deteriorating and all required cleaning and re-
bagging, as did the bone and shell. (2006, 68). So, not the pristine, well-organised, and
complete archive that might have been hoped for!


The 'anvil stone' during de-sodding

Overview of Quadrant C, with the 'anvil stone' in the background
In discussing some of these photographs a few years ago with Brian Dolan, then a PhD
candidate at UCD, he noted that the this final publication makes no mention of the anvil stone.
I was pretty surprised, as it had been quite an important aspect of the 1989 excavation. Its
location can be clearly seen in the tang where we extended Quadrant C to the south-west, just
to include it (Comber 2006, 78, fig. 7). The very same stone was used as the site datum for the
re-survey of the site carried out by Liam Hickey (another old friend and companion on
assorted misadventures/misdemeanors)(Comber 2006, 86, fig. 11). On site, Tom had
expressed an opinion that this particular stone flat-topped and standing about 0.5m above
the field surface may have been used as an anvil stone. It seemed like a pretty reasonable
suggestion. To test the hypothesis, we extended the grid area of the site and de-sodded around
it. We recovered a pretty substantial quantity of rusted metalwork that seemed to be mostly
nails and similar corroded pieces. The published report doesnt list where all the iron pieces
came from (unlike the slag and furnace bottoms), but there is certainly no explicit connection
made to this stone. Looking at our haul of rusty iron bits and pieces, Tom decided that they
did not constitute evidence that it had been used as an anvil or anything for that matter.
Reinforcing his dictum that it wasnt a find until he said it was, he closed the matter and would
allow no further discussion. I take his point that the evidence was not sufficiently robust to
prove beyond reasonable doubt that this stone was used in this matter at the time the house
was occupied, though I think it deserved more notice than it got in his notes and in his thinking
which is why I mention it here. Another find that did not make it into the publication was
found I think by myself. It was an old-fashioned brass stud with a swivel head, for
a detachable collar. It was recovered from the northern portion of the site, between the cashel
wall and the house. It was found almost directly below a set of initials carved into one of the
earth-fast boulders of the cashel wall. I cant remember the initials, but my memory is that the
second initial was the same as that of the surname of the current landowners. Tom seemed to
extract considerable delight from the notion that the stud was lost there as part of what may
be euphemistically described as courting. I can clearly see why this didnt make it into the site
notebooks, or the final publication. Comber (2006, 68) notes that Some of the larger quern
fragments are missing from the archive and are, therefore, represented by earlier
photographs. Its merely a suggestion, but I wonder if theyre not still stored in the shed we
used as a site hut. Google Street View shows a long, low set of white-painted buildings with
black doors [here]. I cant remember which one we used to store the finds and equipment, but
theres a chance that this is where the larger stone items remain.


Napoleonic-period watchtower, Horn Head

Napoleonic-period watchtower, Horn Head
Our evenings were our own and Tom usually retreated to his own accommodation. On a couple
of evenings we walked the five miles out to Horn Head to enjoy the views and the remains of
the Napoleonic-period watchtower, but that soon lost its lustre. On other occasions, Tom
would take us on educational jaunts, including one trip to Doe Castle in the fading light. On
some evenings wed retire to a local pub, but without sufficient funds to buy more than one
drink it was a pretty poor affair. On the weekend we were there, we managed to hitch a ride on
a trawler that was bringing concrete blocks out to Tory Island. Despite having a long maritime
tradition in part of my family (My father was the first male in 250 years not to enter the Royal
Navy), I was hideously, violently, and repeatedly ill over the side of the boat on our way out to
Tory with a repeat performance on the way back. If you can stand the sea conditions, its a
remarkably worthwhile trip for the archaeology, the local artistic community (fostered by the
late Derek Hill), but mostly for the friendly, welcoming people youll meet. When we got back
to the boat to take us back to Portnablagh, we found that the guys on board had off-loaded
their cargo and spent the afternoon fishing. When we stepped ashore, we were each presented
with an armful of fresh-caught herring (though considering how poorly I felt at the time, I
cant imagine I gave the thanks they deserved). As there here was more than sufficient to share,
we brought a couple of specimens up to Toms house for him. It didnt go as well as we had
anticipated. Tom looked horrified, and instructed us to take them away and gut them for him,
and take the heads and tails off while we were at it. He did promise that hed be down at some
stage to collect the finished product. That never materialised, and the fish was still sitting in
the freezer by the time we packed up and left. I remember this distinctly as I was pretty
annoyed about it. The fish wed kept for ourselves had all been baked in butter and herbs and
had been delicious beyond compare. And yet, we still had more that were going to waste, but
felt we couldnt touch them in case Tom did turn up to take them. More fool us. To this day,
whenever I get the smell of cooking fish I am instantly transported back to that little house
and that summer spent digging. Other culinary adventures were less successful. Having spent
so many years in the Boy Scouts, I had been successfully indoctrinated with the firm and sure
belief that boiling was the answer to any food that you couldnt easily fry. On my first attempt,
the pasta had to be rescued from my clutches after a mere hour merrily bubbling away. I got
shouted at and the term al dente was used in anger possibly more than once. Thankfully, I
now have a marginally more sophisticated palate, though Im not much improved as a cook.


The young, bemulleted, Chapple in ripped jeans and Bob Dylan T-shirt at Doe Castle
I dont think I dreamt it, but I can find no trace of a pub or clubhouse of some sort near the
pier at Portnablagh on Google Street View. The area appears to have been extensively
redeveloped in the last quarter century, so it may have disappeared in a wave of
modernisation. I know that I was never inside the building, but I remember being able to see
it from the site and from the front of our house. They had an outdoor speaker system and,
when they got set up for the evening, they played Bryan Adams Summer of '69 on full volume.
In the quiet evening stillness, you could hear it clearly belting out across the bay. Im sure they
must have played other songs, but this is the one I remember. Whatever about the smell of
cooking fish, hearing this track brings me back to that time and place (cf. Weddle 2012).


12th century Tau Cross, Tory Island

Round Tower, Tory Island

Collection of carved stones, Tory Island

Portion of a cross slab, Tory Island

Possible bullaun stone and gravestone fragment, Tory Island

Cross slab with cursing stones, Tory Island

When I left home to come to Donegal, my Dad had seen me off and slipped me some cash with
the strict instruction that it was for emergencies only. In my two weeks on the site, Id been
remarkably well behaved and not dipped into it. However, on our last day we had been invited
up to the Portnablagh Hotel for dinner. The hotelier was also the landowner of the site, co-
funder of the excavation, and had a strong interest in archaeology generally. He had also been
involved in setting up the Donegal Survey, which preceded the OPW-funded county survey.
The fruits of this labour, Brian Laceys Archaeological Survey of County Donegal was on sale
in the foyer. I decided that this was just the sort of emergency my father had wanted me to be
prepared for and bought it at once. I never once regretted the decision, though I did regret
having to explain to my Dad that he wasnt getting his money back!


Tom discussing the excavation in Quadrant A, near the internal drain
We had an equally calm and sedate drive back to Galway, never once troubling the speed limit.
While I have berated Tom for his meanness, he could occasionally be generous too. He
suggested that we stop in Donegal town for ice cream. I was entrusted with a five-pound note
and delegated to purchase the four cones and instructed not to forget to bring back change!
In my eagerness to get the task accomplished, I realised only too late, that Id not really paid
attention to Tom when he said where hed be parked waiting. Thats why one of our number
had to be dispatched to find me, wandering lost in Donegal, with melting ice cream starting to
run down my fingers.


Troweling in Quadrant C. The 'anvil stone' is just out of shot to the right
Somewhere along the way home, I fell asleep, only regaining consciousness as we pulled up on
campus, in front of the quad. I remember becoming aware of the grey limestone buttresses
contrasted against the gently swaying leaves and branches of the trees in the avenue. Even
then I felt that I was waking from a weird dream, as if two weeks sweating in the dust of
Rinnaraw had been an elaborate, but short-lived, hallucination. I spent most of the remainder
of the summer in purgatory, in a real job, serving up fast food to Galways summer hoards. I
hated every minute of it and longed to get back to an archaeological excavation.


Central hearth during excavation
In writing this piece, I firstly wanted to set down an account of a type of archaeological
excavation that, even then, was an anachronism. The next excavation I was on (Athenry
Castle for two weeks between August-September 1989) was much closer to what most current
archaeologists would recognise, with individuals being responsible for producing plan and
section drawings, along with filling in pro forma context sheets. Beyond that, it has stirred up
old memories not visited for many years. Ive been vastly conflicted about how much I could
or should say about Toms personality most especially his extreme parsimony. Eventually,
Ive gone with the fact that its an honest account and that to leave this aspect out would have
created a portrait, though more flattering, that would have rendered the subject
unrecognisable to those who actually knew and worked with him. For all that, I still miss him.
After all the other excavations Ive been involved in, I still hold this one as separate and special,
and Im still grateful for the experience.


Tom Fanning, Lord of all he surveys
Im finding it hard to reconcile that enthusiastic, but socially inept, kid with this overweight,
middle aged, still socially inept, veteran of too many years spent digging in cold fields for bad
pay. That summer will be 24 years ago this coming July (2014). Tom was diagnosed with
cancer and died 21 years ago (1993). After initial treatment in Dublin he had been moved back
to Galway to be near his family when the end came. I went to the hospital to see him, but was
turned away because he was too weak to receive visitors. I had simply wanted to say thanks.
Thanks for the experience of digging a fantastic site in beautiful weather in an incredibly scenic
part of the world. Thanks for taking the time to teach me how to hold a trowel so I didnt
remove my knuckles (at least not twice in a row). Thanks for explaining the functions and
origins of the artefacts we found such a generosity of knowledge and experience that should
be as well acknowledged and celebrated as any other aspect of his character. Thanks for the
company, the trust, and the friendship. Thanks for being allowed the mark of distinction of
being able to say I dug with Tom Fanning.

Just Thanks.


A break from back spading and troweling in Quadrant C
References
Comber, M. 2006 Tom Fannings excavations at Rinnaraw Cashel, Portnablagh, Co.
Donegal Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 106C, 67124.

Lacey, B. 1983 Archaeological Survey of County Donegal: A Description of the Field
Antiquities of the County from the Mesolithic Period to the 17th Century A.D. Donegal.

Weddle, C. 2012 'The Sensory Experience of Blood Sacrifice in the Roman Imperial Cult' in
Day, J. (ed.) Making Senses of the Past: Toward a Sensory Archaeology. Center for
Archaeological Investigations, Occasional Paper No. 40. Southern Illinois University,
Carbondale. 137-159.