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Dig Resumes This Summer

By By John Collins, Lowell Sun

LOWELL -- They dug it so much, they're going to do it again this summer.

Professor Colm Donnelly, chairman of the Historical Archaeology department at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland, spoke to a UMass Lowell audience last night about the UMass student-driven dig that the two universities conducted last summer on the lawn of Saint Patrick's Church in the Acre section of Lowell.

The four-week excavation project -- which often had the participating students sweating profusely through some of the hottest days of the year, noted St. Patrick's resident historian David McKean -- yielded more than 1,300 artifacts left by Irish settlers who once inhabited the "shanty towns" surrounding the church.

The dig also unveiled a portion of a house foundation that mapping research later showed most likely was the remains of a home that was occupied, sometime between 1847 and 1869, by a St. Patrick's priest known as "Father McDermott," Donnelly said.

Read more about the dig.