Middle Ages in Middle Aisle

Updated: Mar 14

Shoppers at a Dublin grocery store can see Viking history beneath their feet.


Facade of an Aldi store featuring the logo

A newly opened grocery store in Dublin, Ireland, is stocked with all the essentials, but shoppers who round the corner of certain aisles will find an additional offering beneath their feet: clear panes of plexiglass that reveal an active archaeological site, complete with the remains of an 11th century home.


The glass flooring is part of a joint preservation effort by German grocery chain Lidl, the city of Dublin and the Irish Archaeological Consultancy (IAC). One of the unique displays is sandwiched between shelves of home goods, while the other is situated near the checkout counters.


Researchers discovered a window into the city’s medieval past: the remains of the basement or storage space of an 11th-century house tentatively dated to about 1070 A.D., says Irish news site Independent.ie.


“It is a unique structure for Dublin,” Paul Duffy, archaeological director of the IAC, told RTÉ. “We don’t know of anything quite like this in the city.”


Archaeologists say that the house was likely built by Hiberno-Norse people who lived in this part of Dublin during the Middle Ages. The designation of Hiberno-Norse is “contested in scholarship” but commonly refers to Irish people descended from Scandinavian Vikings who arrived on the island in the ninth century.

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