UA3 Hears Of Discoveries On New Down High School Site

Archaeologist explains findings on new Down High School site

Archaeologist explains findings on new Down High School site

Chris Lynn, site Director of Archaeology at the new Down High School site in Downpatrick, gave a talk to members of the Downe UA3 group on Monday 30th May 2022.

He presented an outline of his discoveries of the important archaeological site the members The findings focussed mainly of approximately 950 bodies on the site, many of them dating from the famine era.

Chris Lynn, Site Director of Arhchaeology, with Dr. Hubert Curran, Downe uA3 chairman.

Located on the Strangford Road, the site had housed the old workhouse before being occupied until recently by the offices of the former legacy Down District Council.

Chris Lynn explained that the people who died in the workhouse died largely from infectious diseases like typhus and typhoid and had been weakened by malnutrition with the bones often showing signs of arthritis. Most of the workhouse residents were drawn from the agricultural sector across County Down and were split roughly equally between Catholic and Protestant. 

Somewhat more surprising was the finding of an extensive late Bronze age or early Iron Age settlement that demonstrated some unusual features in housing and industry, and had continued on into the medieval period.

Part of the proposed site of the new Down High School in Downpatrick close to the River Quoile which has revealed ancient Iron Age dwellings and almost a 1000 bodies from around the time of the Irish Famine onwards.

This discovery is confirmation of the importance of the Downpatrick area extending back well into pre-history and one hopes that the artefacts from this dig will deserve a suitable home in the Down County Museum when the final report becomes available next year.

The talk by Chris Lynn achoeologist was part of the May meeting for members of Downe u3a.  As well as holding monthly meetings with a guest speaker, Downe u3a operates through over 20 different interest groups and offers its members a wide range of activities and outings, with emphasis on its social aspect. 

For more information about Downe u3a and its summer programme, call 0736 7122 765.