St Dympna is the connection between Tydavnet (Tigh Damhnait) in Monaghan and the town of Geel in the province of Antwerp in Belgium, with which it is twinned. I have visited Geel on a number of occasions, most recently in August last year. So I was interested to see an online article in the Belgian paper Het Nieuwsblad about an important archaeological discovery showing evidence of prehistoric remains, including a large graveyard from the Bronze Age. The find was made in the area called Sint-Dimpna, close to the church of that name, I think, at a site being excavated to make room for a new sports centre. I have used Google to attempt to translate the article, to find out a bit more about the discovery. This is what the report says, give or take a phrase or two!
Extraordinary discoveries in Geel (caption for photo).
Unique archaeological traces at St. Dympna:
Geel Historical Society has worked with the city archives to organise a lecture on the results of the excavations at St. Dympna. The archaeologists will explain how their research was done, what traces were found and what they mean. The excavations were carried out for the construction of the new sports and play park. During the investigation many archaeological traces from different periods came to light. The researchers found four main buildings from the Iron Age (circa 800-50BC), a yard from the Middle Ages (10th-12th century AD) and numerous smaller outbuildings or nails that served as storage for food. There were also some wells found (dating from) the Middle Ages. Besides these traces of habitation there were also traces of a large graveyard from the Bronze Age (2000-50 BC) that came to light. And it is this last discovery that makes the archeological site so unique and interesting. Finding such burial sites is extremely rare for archaeologists in Flanders. “The combination of the cemetery and a settlement is truly exceptional. In Geel everything was also very well preserved, “said Connie Leysen from the Geel city archives. The lecture will take place on Friday 25th January at 8pm in the Winery.