Archaeologists are examining skeletal remains found under the floorboards at the site of Nancy Spain’s pub in Cork city.
The famous old pub on Barrack Street is being demolished to make way for a 32-unit social housing development.
Gardaí yesterday sealed off the site after workmen discovered a skeleton under the floorboards.
The Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster was called in and it is believed the remains are between 70 and 100 years old.
The building is well over 100 years old and has been a pub for most of that time.
Under the name Nancy Spain’s it became one of Cork’s best-known music venues – playing host to a number of high-profile names, including David Gary who played his first Cork gig there.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Irish Independent Southern Correspondent Ralph Riegel said there are several theories doing the rounds.
“Was this possibly a murder where the victim was disposed of within the pub?” he said.
“The other suggestion, is could these remains possibly be associated somehow with the War of Independence of something like that?”
He said a number of actions associated with the War of Independence occurred in the area – which was home to a major RIC Barracks and a number of British Army units.
Mr Riegel said a forensic anthropologist and pathologist have been called in to examine the remains.
“They are going to see if they can recover an intact skeleton and if there are there more bones there,” he said. “Is there a possibility there is more than one individual involved here?
“The second step is they are going to try and determine a possible cause of death. If it was a violent death, there might be indications on the bones that have been recovered.
“Then thirdly, what they are going to do is try and get a specific dateline for when this person died.
“Now radiocarbon may be an option in that particular case, but they are paying particular attention to the excavation zone to see if there is something that might identify this individual – maybe a button or fragments of a uniform, a piece of a shoe or something like that that could give us an indication as regard the occupation of this person.
“All of those things will narrow it down and at that point then they will start to look at newspaper archives and reports from the area – was there any major missing persons search?”
He said modern technology could tell also tell us more about who the person was and where they came from.
“What experts can do now, it is absolutely astonishing the level of technology that is available,” he said.
“Through various bone analysis and teeth analysis they can actually determine what particular part of a country a person grew up in – simply by analysis of the minerals involved.
“They are hopeful they might be able to shine some kind of a light on where this individual came from and ideally who the person was.”
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