Prospecting for gold is usually something reserved for cartoons and movies, but one Derry man claims to have unearthed gold within the Walled City!
Brian McCarthy has spent the past few years excavating what appear to be ancient tunnels under his flat in Pump Street, just a few metres away from the historic St Columb’s Cathedral.
Incredible though it seems, a giant hole in the wall of his flat leads to what the Derry man claims are “up to 30 ancient tombs potentially dating back thousands of years”.
In recent months excavations have taken a curious turn, with Brian and his fellow enthusiasts unearthing more and more glittering granite and rock. Brian claims this rock within his tunnel are full of gold and further claims that these fragments of gold - when smelted - could potentially be of 22-24 carat value.
“Most of the gold is right through the rock itself, granite gold and crystal gold. We’ve found loads of it, but it has to be processed before it can be actually called gold.”
Gold is just the latest in a long line of discoveries for the dedicated digger.
Since he began ecavating three years ago, Mr McCarthy has unearthed numerous interesting stone and rock objects, many of which he claims are important historical artefacts. As well as phallic statues made of rock, obelisks and ancient tools with noticable handprints, he also claims to have found a carbonised human back-bone and an animal’s tooth, possibly from a boar.
In all, he claims up to thirty smaller rooms are leading off the main tunnel.
“The major tomb is at the top but hasn’t been opened yet,” he says. “I could do the whole lot but I don’t want to. It’s not my job. We’ll need expert help to go any further there. It’s like a block of flats under the ground.”
Mr McCarthy has contacted The British Museum about his many finds, to which they replied via letter that they were “very interested to read your account of your excavations.” They advised him to contact his local museum.
When asked about the Pump Street dig, a spokesperson for Derry City Council confirmed that all archaeological items must be reported to the National Museums of Northern Ireland and / or the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
The ‘Journal’ also contacted the Department of Regional Development about the ongoing work, who stated: “Roads Service inspected Pump Street yesterday and could see no evidence of any excavation or tunnelling.”