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Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Surveys in Shankill Graveyard and Kilmocholmóg field.

In February and March 2022, as part of our ‘Unearthing History’ project, we welcomed Dr Alastair Ruffell, a forensic geologist with Queen’s University Belfast’s School of Natural and Built Environment, and a team of postgraduate archaeology students to Lurgan to carry out two Ground Penetrating Radar Surveys.

The first GPR survey aimed to identify the location in Shankill Graveyard of a documented, but currently unlocated, mass famine grave containing 229 burials from 1847.  A drone and elevation survey of the graveyard were carried out before the GPR survey which focused on three areas which have been commonly cited as the location of the said mass grave. However, the GPR surveys revealed that these areas were not the site of the mass grave, which sadly remains unlocated. To download a copy of the GPR report of Shankill Graveyard click the following link: Shankill_Report_March22

The second GPR survey tried to ascertain whether a field off the Kilmore Road, known locally as Kilmocholmóg, was the site of an ancient church and graveyard, which was in use until the mid-19th century. There are no markers above the surface to indicate the presence of such a churchyard but the tradition in the area is strong, with the last burial said to have taken place in c.1840 when  a lady from Tyrone was interned within the graveyard. Her coffin had to be carried across the newly built railway embankment which intersected the graveyard, leading to it falling out of use. The  GPR survey did not identify any burials, but it did reveal a stone feature of interest, worthy of an archaeological investigation. To download a copy of the GPR report of Kilmocholmóg click the following link: Kilmocholmóg_Report_March 22

These surveys formed the first part of our ‘Uncovering History’ project which we are delivering in partnership with the Friends of Shankill Graveyard, and has been kindly funded by the Department for Communities: Historic Environment Division through their Revival Stream Fund, the Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council Community Development Department and the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Lurgan Townscape Heritage Scheme.

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