Archaeology Magazine

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Mass Graves Found at Irish Prison Site

Friday, August 02, 2013

(Guliolopez, via Wikimedia Commons)CORK, IRELAND—Up to 250 burials have been found within a walled cemetery on Spike Island in Cork Harbor. The graves hold the bodies of prison inmates who died during the Great Famine of the nineteenth century. The prison, notorious for overcrowding, disease, and malnutrition, was opened by the British as a response to an increase in crime and unrest during the famine. “This project aims to give a voice to the men and boys who were incarcerated and died in the prison during the Victoria era, broadening our understanding of the role of the convict prison as one of the mechanisms by which the empire was established and maintained,” said Barra Ó Donnabháin of University College Cork.