182 Fiona Beglane and Jerr y O’Sullivan
Fig. 5 (left panel x 3)—Staad Abbey, Co. Sligo. Detail of the cliff face, showing the progressive erosion of a medieval lime clamp: top, 2000; centre, 2005; bottom, 2016.The stone lining and heat-affected sides were visible in 2000 and 2007.The structure had largely disappeared by 2016, although a few stones and some fill could still be identified. By 2020 it had disappeared completely (2005 photograph courtesy of Thomas Cummins).
course (Fig. 6). In 2000 it was a prominent feature in the cliff face, with drystone walls on both sides and with a fill of dark, humic soil with midden material mixed throughout. By 2005 and 2007 the stonework looked similar but the fills were eroding out. In 2012 it was partly obscured by slumping and new vegetation. In 2014 only a few stones in the base of the souterrain remained, and by 2016 it had entirely disappeared.
As some archaeological features were being destroyed by the sea, others were being revealed. In February 2015 the beach cobbles below the cliff began to move under the influence of storms, exposing a layer of preserved peat north-north-east of the church.The peat exposure gradually increased to an area measuring c. 30m by c. 4.6m.Wood was visible in this deposit but none of it initially appeared to be worked or in situ. In May 2017, after a prolonged dry spell that caused the peat to dry and shrink, a number of wooden stakes were identified and excavated by Beglane (2018; now RMP SL005-193). They ranged between 0.03m and 0.1m in diameter and formed a series of lines running both parallel to and at right angles to the beach (Fig. 7).
Fig. 6 (bottom panel x 3)—Staad Abbey, Co. Sligo. Detail of the cliff face, showing the progressive erosion of an early medieval souterrain: left, 2000; centre, 2005; right, 2016.The remnant side walls were clearly visible in 2000 and 2007 but the structure was almost entirely gone by 2016 (2005 photograph courtesy of Thomas Cummins).