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Archaeological finds

Altar Stone

The Journal of the Cork Historical & Archaeological Society

While browsing through JCHAS online issues by one of our members an interesting article was uncovered in the volume of 1943, published by P. J. Hartnett describing an unexpected archaeological treasure found on the property of Maurice O’Connell, Main Street, Carrigtwohill, , whose property was very likely originally associated with the Abbey ruins.

Read article by clicking on Hartnett link.

Recent debates

This has stirred much debate again as to what it might be, just as it did when the article was first published. After consulting with her contemporary scholars, it was generally accepted the somewhat damaged slate artefact measuring 207x157mm x 8mm thick slate was an Altar Stone. Yet, it was highly decorated on both sided with no visible recess for a religious relic.

What then could it be, and what does the inscription tell us? Follows is an edited version of Mr. J. C. Coleman's illustration included within article, whose portrait hangs in the Local History section of the City Library.

RO:ST:ME-Fecit:1609

Unsure of their possible meaning, suggestions for the ‘ME-Fecit’ element were, 'he made me:1609' or ‘made by me: 1609’, with ‘RO ST’ presumably the Individual’s initials. Then, when enquiries were made, Joe Klomparens of Marysville, Washington, who teaches Latin via his website kindly confirmed;

“The inscription seems to be the artist's signature. "ME FECIT" certainly means "made me", and 1609 is the date. RO:ST: is the artist's abbreviated name….”

Another of our members reminds us the same type of inscription was used in Barryscourt Castle. The Latin abbreviations are similar, but quite different. One over a window reads; DB ET ER ME FIERI FECER – ADO 1586. Then, another over a fireplace read; "A * D’O * 1588 * IHS * D * B * ET * E * R * ME * FIERE * FECE-RUT *

Joe was of further great assistance here too, telling us;

That would be "A[nno] DO[mini] 1588 I[esus] H[ominum] S[alvator] D. B. [initials of artist #1] ET E.R. [initials of artist #2] ME FIERE [should be FIERI] FECERUT [should be FECERUNT].

That means "D.B. and E.R. made me in 1588 A.D." The IHS is an abbreviation giving praise to Jesus. It just means "Jesus" (Greek) or "Jesus the Savior of Humanity" (Latin).

Then another over a window reads DB ET ER ME FIERI FECER – ADO 1586. Apparently the same artists made this:

D.B. and E.R. made me in 1586 A.D. (D.B. ET E.R. ME FIERI FECER[UNT] - A[nno] DO[mini] 1586.)

Between the first and last dates is a period 23 years, so only one generation.

We are very much appreciative of Joe Klomparens’ valuable contribution.

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