Home Archaeology Knock Y Dooney Ship Burial

Knock Y Dooney Ship Burial

by Bernadette Weyde
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In 1927 PMC Kermode examined a tumulus on Smeale farm on the Isle of Man, which revealed the interesting fact that there had been a ship burial there, the first of its kind to be found on the Island. There was a little church and churchyard not far away but this great man was laid in solemn majesty in unhallowed ground, and Mr. Kermode very naturally surmised that he had still clung to his pagan faith and worshipped his ancestral gods – Thor and Odin – whilst his neighbours round about him had accepted Christianity. Although his funeral rites were not on such a scale as those of the ancient Egyptians, his burial nevertheless must have been a magnificent affair. Let us try and visualize it.
 
His boat was brought to the top of the knoll, and he was borne from his house and laid in his fishing boat – his final resting place – in which he had spent many a happy hour fishing off the coast of his homestead. With him were placed the implements of his craft, a smith’s hammer and tongs; his implements of war and the chase, spear, axe, and sword; and the implements of his hobby, his fishing gear, to which a sinking-lead bore a mute testimony. His favourite horse and dog had been slaughtered and placed beside him to accompany him to Valhalla, and over all these was raised a mighty cairn so that people in the after days might point to it and say:
 
“There lies the great smith.”
 

(source: extract from text by JJ Kneen (1930), read full article here; photograph from pinterest)

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