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New book charts Derry’s growth from its hunter-gatherer period

The Mayor Of Derry Cllr Martin Reilly, pictured at the Tower Museum, during the launch of Ruairi O'Baoill's book 'Island City: The Archaelogy Of Derry-Londonderry', from left, Paul Logue (NIEA), Terrence Reese-Smmth (NIEA), Tony Corey (NIEA), Ruairi O'Baoill, MLA Mark Durkin & Roisin Doherty (DCC Museum Service). (DER-1312-GMI-04)

The Mayor Of Derry Cllr Martin Reilly, pictured at the Tower Museum, during the launch of Ruairi O'Baoill's book 'Island City: The Archaelogy Of Derry-Londonderry', from left, Paul Logue (NIEA), Terrence Reese-Smmth (NIEA), Tony Corey (NIEA), Ruairi O'Baoill, MLA Mark Durkin & Roisin Doherty (DCC Museum Service). (DER-1312-GMI-04)

A new book highlighting the archaeological story of Derry has been launched by Environment Minister Mark H Durkan.

‘Island City – The Archaeology of Derry~Londonderry’ uncovers the story of Derry’s development from a small hunter-gatherer camp thousands of years ago to the regional centre of today.

The publication has been created by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and Derry City Council and contains a riveting explanation of how Derry evolved over the millennia.

Launching the book at the Tower Museum, Minister Mark H Durkan said: “This beautifully produced book is written in an accessible manner and will appeal to young and old alike.

“It begins with the earliest settlers at Derry and moves on to describe the first farmers, the early churches and the famous walls.

“Many of the finds in the book have been photographed for the very first time, and together with the numerous other illustrations and accompanying text, this book provides an indispensable guide to our city’s history that will last for years to come.

“I think it will inspire everyone about their past.

The Minister revealed that he has found himself fascinated by all the book contains.

“I am very impressed with the wealth of archaeological sites and finds that this book has revealed, ranging from the medieval knight’s effigy, the exquisite 17th century Dominican chalice and the remarkable range of high quality pottery and other goods that had been imported into Derry over the centuries.

“As part of the City of Culture celebrations this year, my Department sponsored several community-based archaeological digs, including the recent excavations at Bishop Street car park.

“The discoveries at Bishop Street were really exciting, and certainly captured the imagination of everyone who visited the site.”

Among the discoveries at the Bishop Street excavation site during an archaeological dig were over a dozen human skeletons in the car park near to St Augustine’s Cemetery on the walls.

Experts working on the dig suggest that the skeletons may have been there since the 17th Century. “This book will add to the contribution my Department has made to the City of Culture year, illustrating more of our rich culture and heritage for the future,” the Environment Minister added.

Mayor of Derry City, Colr Martin Reilly, said of the city’s latest publication: “Island City is for everyone who enjoys reading about our ancestors and how our city came into being.

“The book can be used by both tourists and locals who can visit the historic sites mentioned to gather an insight on how the environment has evolved.”

The book ‘Island City – The Archaeology of Derry~Londonderry’ is written by Archaeologist Ruairi O’Baoill and is available to buy now from Colourpoint Books at a cost of £16.

 

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