Trough 51.1935

Length 69 cm, Width 34 cm, Depth 24 cm

Infra-red image of vessel interior highlighting what may be scorch marks from hot stone cooking method © Armagh County Museum

Find Location

This large wooden trough, from the Armagh County Museum, was found near Killeeshil, County Tyrone. The Irish name for Killeeshil is Chill Íseal which translates as 'low church', and an early monastery is believed to have once stood at the site of the present day Church of Ireland building.

References in the Literature  

A description of the object and it's find circumstances are included in the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (1982). The description is as follows: 

"Dish; wooden; oval-shaped; total length 68.5; length of bowl 58.4; max. width 35.5; depth 20.3; flat and pointed handle with vertical hole, other handle mostly missing from damaged end. Found at Killeshal, county Tyrone. Formerly in the Robinson Collection at Roughan, county Tyrone"

The discovery of the object is reported in the Ulster Gazette on May 7th, 1859, as follows:

"A wooden trough or ark- Another of those ancient vessels, wrought out of solid timber, and raised from a peat moss in Killishall, County of Tyrone, is now in the possession of Counsellor Tennison. We understand that when found it was soft, and of a pulpy consistence; but when dried, shrunk considerably. It is about 2 feet in length, 1 foot wide, and 7 inches in depth. It is furnished with two small projecting and perforated handles at each extremity, evidently for the purpose of running a rope through for the convenience of carriage. From the marks retained we may, perhaps, conclude that it had been scooped or chiselled out with a stone celt, and its durability preserved by the antiseptic property of the peat."

Technical Analysis

The infra-red image of trough 51.1935 on the left highlights scorch marks on the interior base of the vessel that are not otherwise clearly visible. The scorch marks may be evidence of hot stone cooking, in which stones are heated in a nearby fire, and added to raise the temperature of liquid inside the vessel. Ongoing technical analysis aims to identify the species of wood used to make the trough, and to understand when the object was made and used.



The Ulster Gazette (1859), May 17th. Accessed 15 November 2017 at

Weatherup, D. R. M. (1982) Armagh County Museum Archaeological Acquisitions: The Collection of Armagh Natural History and Philosophical Society. The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 112  51-71.

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