A toy boat and the skull of a man who met a gruesome end are among the finds from excavations of a Viking site in Dublin.
Dr Pat Wallace from the National Museum of Ireland has two very different archaeological finds to show The Late Late Show audience. A toy boat and a man's skull from Viking Dublin are just two of the artefacts excavated in Winetavern Street, Dublin and now on display in the National Museum.
The model ship which has been carved from willow is not just a child’s plaything but also an exact replica of an ocean-going merchant ship from the year 1000 AD. And the person who made it based it on what he saw in the daily life of Dublin at that time, which was a Viking shipbuilding centre.
You can imagine a kid a thousand years ago playing with that on the verge of the Liffey.
This adds to what Danish archaeologists discovered last year, when they established that the tree ring pattern in the wood of a Viking longship in Roskilde fjord corresponded to that of Irish oak from Dublin from circa 1060AD.
Dublin was the most important western town of the Norse in the Viking age.
In stark contrast to the toy boat, the skull which was found at a lower level of the excavations from the Fishamble Street part of Wood Quay is from an unfortunate man who was killed with three blows to the head.
Dating from circa 920AD, all but one of his upper teeth are still visible with well preserved enamel and they are remarkably flat. Pat Wallace explains, this is because,
They would have eaten a kind of a porridge which would have had grits in it from the millstones.
Pat Wallace explains that an international exhibition currently running in the Museum called 'The Work of Angels’ celebrates early Christian Celtic metalwork from all over Europe, with the Derrynaflan Hoard as its centrepiece.
This episode of The Late Late Show was broadcast on 11 May 1990. The presenter is Gay Byrne.