The three-day International Viking Conference held in Waterford over the weekend closed with a call for a full excavation of the Woodstown site.

Praising the determined efforts of the Save Viking Waterford Action Group to safeguard the site, NUI Maynooth history lecturer, Dr Colman Etchingham said that even from the “tantalising glimpses” uncovered to date Woodstown had been shown to be one of the most important discoveries anywhere in Europe in decades.

Less than 5% of the site has been subjected to any form of archaeological investigation since it was saved by the re-routing of the N25 bypass in 2005. A publicly-funded full excavation to a high research standard, as proposed by the Waterford Trades Council, is “valid” now more than ever, he said.

The conference – attended by 220-plus participants from all over Ireland, Britain, continental Europe (including Norway), Iceland and North America – was told the huge site, similar in size to 9th-century Viking Dublin, has major job-creation potential and study opportunities for WIT.