Previously, large-scale changes in population were quite difficult, if not impossible, to discern from the archaeological record. But while there are still many biases and pitfalls, new statistical techniques are starting to provide innovative ways to determine movement and migration patterns. In this month’s ‘Science Notes’, we explore some of these new techniques, and examine recent research that has utilised them to assess population fluctuations in Ireland.
A study recently published in Scientific Reports, examining examples from across Ireland of what is known as bog butter – waxy deposits found in the peat bogs of Ireland and Scotland (see CA 226) – has demonstrated that this was an unusually long-lived practice, spanning from the Early Bronze Age through to the post-medieval period.
New research into the origins of leprosy in Ireland has revealed connections with the Viking world. A team from Queen’s University Belfast, the University of Surrey, the University of Southampton, and the University of East Anglia analysed five skeletons: three from Dublin (SkCXLVIII, SkCXCV, SkCCXXX), one from Armoy, Co. Antrim (Sk171), and the last from Ardreigh, Co. Kildare (Sk1494). All five presented with lesions consistent with leprosy, but to confirm the diagnosis the team conducted aDNA analysis of the remains.
Caherconnell Archaeological Field School (CAFS) was set up in 2010 with a vision for providing unforgettable archaeological experiences in the unique Burren region. In partnership with the National university of Ireland in Galway we aim to provide the very best archaeological education as well as a cultural element which sees students interact with the people of the area daily. […]
The Galway Archaeological Field School provides students with hands-on experience of the archaeology and architecture of medieval Ireland. We specialise in this field and seek to immerse our students in the wealth of medieval castles, churches and monasteries which lie scattered across the Irish landscape. In summer 2019, we will return to Isert Kelly Castle […]
The Blackfriary excavations have been running since 2010 and were begun with the aim of exploring the role of the Dominican friary in the later medieval period in Trim. As the friary was quarried out in the 18th century we are following the footprint and remains of the monastic buildings as well as the friary graveyard […]
Built in 1169 AD/CE, Ferrycarrig is crucial to our understanding of the earliest stages of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. The first permanent Anglo-Norman fortification to be built in Ireland, the site comprised a ringwork castle placed on a natural promontory overlooking the River Slaney and Wexford town. Today, the bank and ditch are all […]
A new study analysing the teeth of adults who died in the Kilkenny Union Workhouse at the height of the Great Famine (1845-1852) has revealed some of the possible social reasons for their poor oral health, and how this may have affected their general wellbeing.
his book tells the story of the Harvard Archaeological Mission, which worked in Ireland between 1932 and 1936 to explore the Celtic origins of the Irish race. Using now-controversial eugenics ideas, it looked to physically identify a Celtic race in the modern Irish. Its social anthropologists saw 1930s Ireland as a society in transition from a traditional, rural, Celtic way of life to modernity. And its archaeologists sought, through excavation, to find evidence of the Celtic presence in Irish prehistory, linked to Continental European cultures.
A previously unknown Neolithic passage tomb has been discovered in County Meath, Ireland, beneath the 18th-century manor house of Dowth Hall. The monument was unearthed by a team from Devenish – the Belfast-based agri-technology firm that has owned Dowth Hall and the surrounding estate since 2013 – in partnership with UCD School of Archaeology, and has been hailed by Dr Clíodhna Ní Lionáin, lead archaeologist on the project, as ‘truly the find of a lifetime.’