Fish hook
Iron fish hook

Archaeology & History:


The site of Woodstown straddles the south bank of the River Suir in Co Waterford and was discovered during test excavations carried out by A.C.S. Ltd. prior to the construction of the N25 Waterford City Bypass. Sub-surface archaeological remains extend c. 500 m alongside the riverbank. The site appears to be multi-period. The limited archaeological excavation indicates Early Christian and Later Viking Age occupation of the site. There was abundant evidence for craft-workings in fine metals (e.g. silver), as well as iron working, stone, glass, bone, antler and amber. Some finds, including copper-alloy stud mounts with gold foil and a copper-alloy book clasp may have been treasure trove from monastic raiding.

The archaeological evidence indicates that during the middle of the ninth century the site was occupied, and presumably taken over, by Viking raiders. Evidence of Viking metalworking in silver and lead was found, and the site has produced the largest assemblage of lead pan weights outside of Viking Dublin. Exotic finds of possible Norwegian schist whetstones and a fragment of a silver Kufic coin from Byzantium reflect the wider world in which Vikings operated. Ships nails and rivets reflect their maritime basis. A single warrior grave with full battle armour was also discovered, but due to the acid soil no skeleton survived.

The site was abandoned c. AD 1050, for reasons as yet unknown. The site may have been an upriver trading station, 6 km from the Viking town of Waterford. The settlement has been preserved in situ by Ministerial order issued in 2005, necessitating a re-route of the bypass at this location.

Further Information/Reading:
  • Richard O’Brien & Ian Russell, The Hiberno-Scandinavian site of Woodstown 6, County Waterford.

  • Siobhán McNamara, Woodstown 6: the finds - Recent Archaeological Discoveries on National Road Schemes 2004

  • NRA Website -