This week, Shanarc took to the field in Co. Kilkenny and launched our newest geophysics acquisition – the Sensys MX V3 modular large area magnetometer survey system. This system holds up to 16 fluxgate gradiometer sensors, allowing rapid non-invasive investigation of large survey areas. This technology allows us to quickly examine sub-surface archaeological remains very efficiently and in great detail.
Shanarc commissioned this state of the art system from Sensys, Europe’s leading provider of geophysical systems. Engineer Gorden Konieczek travelled from Berlin to Kilkenny to provide the team with on-site training and support. “This system will allow coverage of up to 20 hectares per day”, said Gorden. “It is the largest of our cart based survey systems and the only system of its size in Ireland and what makes it unique is that it is adaptable to suit multiple terrains”.
The subject of the survey has been Newtown Jerpoint – the deserted medieval town west of Jerpoint Abbey. The site contains the remains of St Nicholas’ church, a standing tower and the outlines of burgage plots, house platforms and street systems. The settlement was the subject of a Heritage Council Conservation Planin 2007 in which it was identified as “one of the most important sites in the study of medieval settlements in Ireland”.
Shanarc have been appointed to carry out the survey by UCD School of Archaeology in association with research being conducted by PhD student Daniel O’Mahony with support from the Heritage Council of Ireland, Teagasc and the landowners, Joe and Maeve O’Connell. The purpose of the 10 hectare magnetometer survey is to identify changes of house location, plot boundaries and street layouts over time as well as any domestic and industrial features such as hearths, drains and corn drying kilns or any potential evidence for pre 1200 AD occupation.