Home News Community Amazing discovery during Fort Protector dig

Amazing discovery during Fort Protector dig

A large mill wheel which was recently discovered at the dig at the Fort Protector site is one recently discovered artefact

A dig at the site of the Fort Protector site in the old Shaws’ car park in Portlaoise has unearthed a large artefact.

The three archaeologists on site were delighted on Thursday evening when a dig close to the existing trench unearthed a massive mill wheel.

The wheel is so large and heavy that it will require specialist equipment to remove it.

Site manager, archaeologist Eoin Sullivan, said the new finding is something which could be put on display in the town.

He said it would be a fitting piece to be on display in a local museum.

When the new library is completed on the site, it is planned to provide a view and focus on the old Fort Protector site of the town, to the rear of the library.

The dig in the town centre, close to the walls of the Fort Protector site, has been generating considerable interest in Portlaoise and beyond.

In just a week’s dig, a number of items of curiosity have been found in a trench that measures just five metres by one metre wide.

The method was likened to keyhole surgery by Mr Sullivan of Gort Archaeology.

The site was opened to the public on Thursday and Friday, and as media coverage and word of mouth spread, there was a steady flow of visitors to the site to view the work first hand, take photographs etc.


A number of local schoolchildren, including classes from Scoil Chríost Rí visited to learn about the dig, and the importance of the site to local history and the development of Portlaoise.

Mr Sullivan believes the dig is the only research excavation to have been carried out in Portlaoise town.

Since the dig began on Monday a number of intriguing items have already been discovered including a pipe dating back to the 19th century, ancient horseshoes, a medieval floor tile with floral motif from the 1600s and glazed post-medieval pottery.

Some form of wooden drains are also visible, which appear to be some form of managing water. This wood will eventually be carbon dated which will identify when exactly the wood was cut down.

The dig has allowed the archaeologists reach close to the bottom of the foundations of the Fort.

Local architect Sean Murray added that the excavation will provide additional information prior to the Fort Festival, which will feature talks and workshops around the history of the fort.

SEE ALSO – Portlaoise Fort Protector Dig unearths treasures of the past

Previous articleThreats made to Laois council staff – ‘I know where you live’
Next articleLaois U-21 hurling team named for championship opener
A journalist for over 20 years, David has worked for a number of regional titles both as journalist and editor. From Tullamore he also works as a content editor for Independent.ie. His heroes include Shane Lowry, Seamus Darby and Johnny Flaherty