Viking and medieval-era artefacts uncovered during an excavation at the site of Dublin's newest hotel will be permanently displayed in the hotel for guests and the public when it opens in September.
The remains of nine post-and-wattle properties with gardens and cobbled stones, dating from around the 11th century, were found during excavations for the Hyatt Centric The Liberties Dublin, a new hotel in Dublin that's set to open in September. The properties would have formed part of a Viking-era village and archaeologists have hailed the discovery as "very significant." Further digs at the site uncovered two other settlements from a later period. One dating from the 13th to the 14th century contained evidence of medieval industrial activity, while the foundations of a 19th century house were discovered at the upper levels of the dig.
The site in the Liberties, one of Dublin's oldest neighbourhoods, had been waterlogged for almost a thousand years. Lead archaeologist Aisling Collins explains that's why the artefacts were so well preserved. "The waterlogged conditions meant that we had an incredible amount of preserved organic material including the post-and-wattle houses, wooden objects, leather boots, textiles and animal bones," she tells Lonely Planet.
READ MORE: Dublin's Viking heritage
There were so many incredible finds but according to Aisling there are some standout pieces. "The 13th century ceramic bird finial that would have sat on top of a roof ridge tile is extremely rare and ," she says. "It is such a beautiful piece, we found a second pair of wings so we know there were at least two of these birds. As far as we know, there are no parallels for these. And one of the locally-made, Dublin leather, 12th century boots had a Scandinavian motif on it which is also extremely rare."
One of the most fascinating artefacts unearthed though is a piece of 12th century graffiti art. Carved onto slate, the drawing depicts a warrior on a horse with a bird by his head and another by his foot. He appears to have been shot by an arrow and is carrying a kite-shaped shield in one hand and a Viking sword in the other. There are also some letters inscribed on the back of the slate. Aisling says the slate is "truly unique" and is currently being analysed by City Archaeologist Dr Ruth Johnson and a cohort of academics from Scandinavia and Ireland.
The discovery was made last year but Hyatt recently announced that it would display some of these artefacts throughout the hotel for guests and members of the public. Exhibited items will include the graffiti art slate, a 900-year-old wooden bowl and spoon, and a 17th century blue and white ceramic Dutch tile. Upon check in guests will be informed about a dedicated storytelling app where they can find out more about the rich history and hidden gems of the Liberties.