In July and August 2018 we will began an exciting new excavation at Caraun Point, on the northern coast of Achill Island. Caraun Point is a small sand-covered peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. It is well-known for its rich archaeological remains, including an early medieval enclosure, a children’s burial ground, shell middens, and a number of stone buildings of unknown date eroding out of the sand dunes. The site has produced a large number of stray finds, including prehistoric stone tools, a coin of Edward I, a hand-mill fragment, clay pipes, Buckley-type ware, coarse earthenware, and a 17th-century date stone.
The principal element of the complex is an early medieval caher (or ringfort) that was later used as a burial ground for unbaptised infants. Cahers were the enclosed homesteads of landowners in medieval Ireland, and the Caraun point example is one of only a handful known on Achill. The site is surrounded by a number of middens consisting of dense deposits of shell, animals bone, and refuse from the settlement. Just east of the caher are a number of rectangular stone buildings eroding out of the sand. Stray finds retrieved from this area indicate occupation during the 17th-18th century.
Excavations in 2018 targeted one of the houses and an adjacent shell midden. Both the house and midden were shown to be 18th-century in date.