On 16 July 20014 during Luas Cross City works on College Green, monitoring archaeologists from Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd, working on behalf of the Railway Procurement Agency made a discovery of human remains.

One of the individuals under excavation at College Green (Copyright: Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd)
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One of the individuals under excavation at College Green (Copyright: Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd)

The archaeological team located an individual at a depth of 1.50 metres below the present ground surface, immediately north of the gates of Trinity College, Dublin. The individual was situated below the known level of post-medieval activity, suggesting the remains are likely medieval or earlier in date – opening up a range of possibilities.

Over the course of the next week the partial remains of at least four more individuals were uncovered within the trench; these were archaeologically excavated and removed from the area.

This suggests that this part of College Green functioned as a cemetery at some point in Dublin’s past. Rubicon Heritage Site Director Nikolah Gilligan, who led the excavation, noted that ‘all bar one of the individuals were positioned in north-south orientated grave cuts, apparently with no grave goods present.’ Gilligan added that ‘it is too early to confirm the date of the human remains, though the possibility that they are Viking cannot be discounted, given previously recorded Viking activity in the area.’

The skull of one of the individuals excavated at College Green (Copyright: Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd)
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The skull of one of the individuals excavated at College Green (Copyright: Rubicon Heritage Services Ltd)

Rubicon Human Remains Specialist Carmelita Troy has carried out a visual assessment of the remains, confirming that at least one of the individuals was an adult male, while one of the others was a sub-adult, aged under 18 years at the time of their death.

The Project Archaeologists from the Railway Procurement Agency will oversee detailed environmental and osteoarchaeological analysis of the remains to be undertaken by Rubicon Heritage Services, which is now set to take place.

This will reveal significantly more information about the lives and deaths of these individuals and the city in which they lived.

Rubicon Heritage Archaeological Services