Wednesday 19 August 2009

Not Up in Smoke

The Irish Times reports that archaeologists have uncovered artefacts and part of the original Smock Alley theatre (then known as the Smoke Alley theatre) - which dates back to 1662 - during a dig at the site.

Commenting on the discoveries yesterday, Patrick Sutton, director of the Gaiety School of Acting and the Smock Alley project, said what had been found was "not only the original walls of the 1662 building but of some of the walls of the later buildings". He said a mosaic tiled floor uncovered was "as ornamental and beautiful as anything you would see". Also recovered were timbers from the theatre's stage, wine bottles and a man's wig curler.

The discoveries, which form a national monument, are being recorded in situ before being moved to the National Museum. The excavation, which ended yesterday, will be sealed up on Monday, but it is hoped a permanent exhibition will be incorporated in the completed complex.

Mr Sutton paid tribute to the archaeologist Linzi Simpson, who he said had surprised him with the discovery when he returned from America. He also paid tribute to the Temple Bar Cultural Trust, Dublin City Council and the Department of Arts for their help in bringing the €8 million project along. "We have more than half the funding in place and will be setting up a foundation in the States to get the rest, I am confident it will be done," he said.

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