Length 73 cm, Width 53 cm, Depth 6cm
This losset from the collection of the Armagh County Museum, was found at 'a depth of 12 turf' in the bog, near Bellaghy, County Derry. The Irish name for Bellaghy, Bhaile Eachaidh, has most recently been translated as 'Eochaidh's townland'. 'Eochaidh' may refer to Eochaid Mugmedón, who according to medieval Irish legend and historical tradition, was an ancient High King of Ireland, best known as the father of Niall of the Nine Hostages and ancestor of the Uí Néill and Connachta dynasties.
References in the Literature
The losset is described in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (1978) as follows:
"Tray; oval; wooden; with handle at each end; cut from solid; length 73; width 51.4; depth 5.7; split longitudinally and repaired through pairs of holes; near one end is an oval knot hole surrounded by a ring of perforations for a patch now missing. Found at a depth of 'twelve turf' in Bellaghy Bog. When the tray was first discovered the oval hole therein was covered with leather which appeared to be in good condition but soon rotted away".
The extent of the repairs on this object- both in binding the two large pieces back together, and in patching the hole, suggests that the object was either highly valued, or that the effort involved in making a replacement was considerable.
The infra-red image of the area around the hole in this object highlights the extent of the scorch mark visible in the model above. The scorch mark indicates that the object was used in the vicinity of an open fire, and we can perhaps imagine the owners dismay at discovering the damage. The infra-red image also highlights the large 'flecks' throughout the wooden surface, otherwise known as 'rays'. Large rays which are visible to the naked eye are a a feature of oak wood. Species analysis carried out in the past (Scannell, 1980) confirms that the vessel is made from oak.
Scannell, M. (1980) Report on wooden trays, methers and other objects from Armagh Museum. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Dublin, Ireland.
Weatherup, D. R. M. (1978) Armagh County Museum Archaeological Acquisitions 1935-1959. The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 108 23-50.