Save Viking Settlement at Woodstown
Save Viking Waterford Action Group
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I am writing to you in relation to the new discovery of the Viking settlement at Woodstown, Co. Waterford. This site was discovered by archaeologists working for the NRA in April 2003 as a consequence of preliminary investigation of the route of a feeder road for the proposed Waterford N25 Bypass. Specialist investigation on a mere 8\% of the site since that date has discovered that the site is unique in a number of aspects:
a) It is the only known fortified settlement of fifth century date and can thus provide us with unique evidence for the settlement of Ireland at the time of St Patrick.
b) It was resettled in the ninth-century by Vikings, building ships and trading in silver ingots and coinage. This has the potential to yield crucial information about the interaction of the first Vikings sailing westwards out of Scandinavia with the native population of Ireland.
c) It appears to have been a large settlement and, judging by surface test-trenching, to have been densely settled. Such a Viking settlement, at such an early date, is unparalleled in western Europe and can teach us much about the development of urbanism in European history.
Because of these unique features, the site is of immense cultural and historical value, not merely for the history of Waterford and the south-east but also on a national and international scale.
Therefore I ask you to:
1) order a full excavation of the Woodstown site and not a partial or rescue excavation and that this should be fully published.
2) ensure the excavation is carried out by hand without the use of heavy machinery.
3) have the route of the feeder road excavated before the surrounding areas, allowing the road to be built without significant delay to the bypass project.
4) ensure that the excavation is publicly funded.
5) see that an interpretative centre/education facility be built near the site once a full excavation has taken place.