Page 1

IAI Autumn Conference: Call for Papers 


Knowth: Six millennia of ritual settlement; 50 years of excavation 

Helena King, Assistant Editor, Royal Irish Academy       10  The  Archaeology  of  Knowth  in  the  1st  &  2nd  Millennia  AD:  Excavations  at  Knowth  5                     by Professor George Eogan 

Book Review: 

Culture Night Belfast 2012 


We built this city… on sleech and poles 


Excavations at Custom House Square, Belfast  Jonathan Barkley, Site Director , NAC 

European Heritage Open Days 2012 


Art & Archaeology 


Who says learning can’t be fun!  Lianne Heaney, IAR    28 

A mini museum at the Carnival of Colours, Derry 2012  Lianne Heaney, IAR 

IAI & The Journal of Irish Archaeology 


A Model Museum? 


IAR’S Open Air Museum Project  Gavin Donaghy, IAR    38 

‘Twas gas craic  Lianne goes solos at the Gasyard Feile  Lianne Heaney, IAR 

The latest news from the Belfast Hills Partnership 


Pot Luck 


The results of an unusual request put to the team at Glenariff, County Antrim  Ross Bailey, IAR 

Welcome to the 4th issue of our magazine. Firstly, we would like to apologise for the lateness of this issue. Our original release date was the beginning of August but due to a very busy summer (thankfully) we decided to delay the release until the start of September. Between May and August, either all or some of us were engaged in a heritage event and this issue provides a brief glimpse into each of them. Our cover article, by Helena King from the Royal Irish Academy, describes the celebrations of the 50 years of excavation and research at Knowth and the launch of Professor George Eogan’s monograph on the archaeology of Knowth during the 1st and 2nd millennia AD, a review of which is included in this issue. There are also great articles on the excavations at Custom House Square, Belfast undertaken by Northern Archaeological Consultancy Ltd and a piece about a long lost Professor and his Persian Prince! Enjoy! If you would like to submit an article for the next issue please email us at:

IA I Autumn Conference Call for Papers The Archaeology of Disaster and Recovery The IAI Autumn 2012 Conference will be held in Belfast (Holiday Inn Express, 106a University Street) on Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd of November - the call for papers is now open and the theme is The Archaeology of Disaster and Recovery! The theme of the IAI Autumn 2012 Conference is multi-faceted and open to broad interpretation. We wish to encourage dialogue about disaster and recovery in the past as seen through archaeological and historical evidence. Impacts on societies over time, be they environmental, biological, economic, political, religious or technological, have resulted in numerous disasters but also subsequent recovery, adaptation and even societal improvement. This theme can, of course, also apply to the present day challenges that face the archaeological profession. A huge downturn in employment opportunities and the importance of adapting to economic and policy constraints was to the forefront of these challenges, but in response strategies of survival, renewal and recovery have also developed. These new directions can be seen in the importance placed on communicating archaeology, its central role in heritage tourism and engaging in community projects. Stories of ‘disaster and recovery’ over time have occurred on local, regional, national and international levels, but all are evidence of humanity modifying and developing ways to improve testing situations. The IAI invite you to use this opportunity to share these stories of recovery. Title and abstract (max. 300 words) for a 20 minute presentation to be emailed to on or before Friday 5thOctober 2012.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 



Knowth Passage Tombs

Six millennia of ritual and settlement; fifty years of excavations Helena King; Assistant Editor, Royal Irish Academy

On 18 June 1962, George Eogan and a team consisting of four general operatives and six students began excavating a passage tomb at Knowth, Co. Meath. ‘Little did I or they know that it was the start of a marvellous journey of archaeological discovery, excitement, hard work and the start of a great many friendships, both professional and personal.’ These were Professor Eogan’s words on 20 June 2012, when he and more than 200 others were back at Knowth to reflect on what the intervening half-century had wrought. The occasion marked the 50th anniversary of the programme of excavations at Knowth, celebrating the work of all those involved in the excavations and related research over the years, and also the launch of The archaeology of Knowth in the first and second millennia AD, the fifth volume to date in the Royal Irish Academy’s series of monographs bringing the findings from those excavations to publication.1

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


In 1962, the then Dr Eogan was attached to the Department of Irish Archaeology at Trinity College Dublin, which was headed by Professor G.F. Mitchell. Eogan had previously excavated an unusual passage tomb at nearby Fourknocks, and Professor Mitchell suggested that the site at Knowth may be worth investigating to see what further light might be shed on the passage tomb archaeology of the area. At that time, all that was visible was a large, grass-covered mound, roughly 30ft high and covering an acre of ground. Now, after many years of excavation, analysis and conservation, the site at Knowth has been revealed to consist of not only that large Neolithic-era mound, which unusually houses two passage tombs beneath it, but also 20 smaller satellite passage tombs, a protected double-ditched enclosure constructed in the seventh/eighth century


and in use as such until perhaps the tenth century, and an enclosed courtyard farm from the

Middle Ages. In the seventeenth century, a settlement cluster emerged to the east of the main mound, along the line of the public road, and later again, a farmhouse and associated buildings and features evolved on the far side of the road. This farm remained in operation until the 1960s, when the buildings were acquired by the Irish state. The main tumulus site had been in state hands as a national monument since 1939. In 1987, the Boyne Valley Archaeological Park was established, incorporating Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth; in 1993, the entire area was designated by UNESCO as the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site. The Brú na Bóinne interpretative visitor centre, built and run under the auspices of the Office of Public Works, was opened in 1997 near Donore, Co. Meath, on the south side of the River Boyne. The OPW has overall responsibility for the site at Knowth, which is open to the public seven days a week from April to October, with access managed via the visitor centre.2 The Neolithic passage tombs at Knowth date back to approximately 3,500BC. The site is older than the Egyptian pyramids; older than Stonehenge. Overall, Knowth has had a history, though not continuous, of ritual and settlement spanning roughly six-thousand years—from the beginning of the Neolithic to the modern era. The Knowth tomb builders were skilled craftsmen. They constructed two passage tombs beneath the main mound; each of which had a large burial chamber. Professor Eogan and his teams of ‘trowellers’ rediscovered the western passage tomb on 11 July 1967; this passage tomb is approximately 34m long and ends in an undifferentiated chamber that was segmented by two sillstones. Just over a year later, on 1 August 1968, an even more dramatic discovery was made. A second, larger tomb (its passage just over 40m long) lay back-to back with the western tomb. This eastern passage tomb ended in a cruciform chamber with a magnificent corbelled roof, and there was a carved stone basin containing cremated remains in the right-hand (northern) recess of the chamber.3 Unlike Newgrange’s single tomb chamber, which is lit by the rays of the dawning winter solstice sun, the twin chambers of the main tomb at Knowth are not as precisely aligned astronomically. The eastern tomb faces generally towards the rising sun at the spring and autumn equinoxes, and the western tomb faces the setting sun at the around the same time. 1 George Eogan, with contributions by Madeline O’Brien, Cathy Johnson and others, Excavations at Knowth 5: The archaeology of Knowth in the first and second millennia AD. Dublin. Royal Irish Academy, 2012. The first four volumes in the series have, respectively, dealt with the smaller passage tombs, Neolithic occupation and Beaker activity at Knowth; settlement and ritual sites of the fourth and third millennia BC; Knowth and the zooarchaeology of Early Christian Ireland; and historical Knowth and its hinterland. For more details see: 2

Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre, Donore, Co. Meath; phone: +353 41 988 0300; e-mail: See midlandseastcoast/brunaboinnevisitorcentrenewgrangeandknowth/ for more information.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Knowth may not have Newgrange’s astronomical precision, a reason, perhaps, why it is not as well-known in the general cultural consciousness beyond the archaeological community as its sister site along the Bend of the Boyne. What Knowth does have, however, is an extraordinary collection of megalithic art. The orthostats lining the passageways to the eastern and western tombs feature a variety of carved symbols. One of these orthostats near the chamber of the western tomb is etched with an anthropomorphic figure with two large eyes—perhaps a stone guardian protecting the remains of a prestigious member of the Neolithic community for whom the burial ground was constructed? Around the exterior of the large tomb are enormous carved kerbstones with a variety of abstract motifs. Each of the 20 smaller satellite tombs also feature carved megalithic art. In fact, Knowth and the other passage tombs in the Boyne Valley contain the largest collection of megalithic art in Europe. Reason enough for Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, TD, to describe the Brú na Bóinne passage tomb Carved orthostat, passage of western tomb; © National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; rerproduced with permission.

complexes as ‘the jewel in the crown of our cultural heritage’, as he did at the celebrations at Knowth on 20 June,4 but there is even more to Knowth.

In George Eogan’s words, Knowth is a ‘multi-period and multi-cultural site first occupied by the earliest farmers who lived in this area close to six-thousand years ago’. He has categorised the various stages of settlement and habitation at Knowth into twelve ‘cultural phases’. The best known is undoubtedly the passage tomb phase, but another remarkable stage of Knowth’s evolution extended over the seventh to twelfth centuries


In the seventh/eighth century, the main passage tomb mound was transformed into a

double-ditched enclosure—a development that marked the first major structural alteration to the site since the original construction of the passage tombs. Although there is clear evidence for Beaker-related activity at Knowth in the beginning of the Bronze Age (c.2300BC), throughout the remainder of the Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age human activity at Knowth and the wider Brú na Bóinne area is limited. During the Late Iron Age, from approximately 100BC to roughly


the site was used for burial, with the remains placed

in simple pit graves without formal protection in various places around the main tumulus (among the grave goods discovered in these Late Iron Age burials were blue glass beads; the number of such beads retrieved at Knowth is more than twice the combined total from all other Irish Late Iron Age burial sites). Burials dating to the seventh to ninth centuries were recovered around the main tomb mound and in the passages and chambers of several of the smaller tombs also. Background image: Carved Kerbstone 3

George Eogan, ‘The Knowth (Co. Meath) excavation’, Antiquity 41 (1967), 302–4; ‘Excavations at Knowth, Co. Meath’, Antiquity 43 (1969), 8-14.

4 National Monuments Service, ‘Minister Deenihan celebrates 50 years of archaeological excavations at the Great Passage Tomb at Knowth, Co Meath’. Press release, 25 June 2012; available at:,14201,en.html.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


1. Professor George Eogan showing Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, TD, around the site at Knowth on 20 June 2012. (Photo by Johnny Bambury; reproduced courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy.)


2. Professor George Eogan and Minister Jimmy Deenihan in front of the main tomb at Knowth, 20 June 2012. (Photo by Johnny Bambury; reproduced courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy.)


3. Professor George Eogan speaking at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Knowth excavation programme and launch of Excavations at Knowth vol. 5; with Professor Luke Drury, President of the Royal Irish Academy, and Minister Jimmy Deenihan, TD. (Photo by Johnny Bambury; reproduced courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy.)

4 3

4. The audience enjoying Professor Eogan’s speech. (Photo by Johnny Bambury; reproduced courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy.)



5. Presentation to Professor George Eogan to mark the excavation anniversary and book launch. Kevin O’Brien of the Office of Public Works, Minister Jimmy Deenihan and Professor Luke Drury with a replica of the stone basin from the chamber of eastern passage tomb at Knowth and a copy of The archaeology of Knowth in the first and second millennia AD. (Photo by Johnny Bambury; reproduced courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy.)

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 

6. The (now famous) Knowth cake. (Photo by Johnny Bambury; reproduced courtesy of the Royal Irish Academy; Cake by Niamh Kelly.)


The construction of the double-ditched enclosure, according to Eogan, marks the emergence of Knowth as an important royal residence for the kings of North Brega. It may never be possible to determine exactly why Knowth was chosen as a new political centre by the North Brega branch of the Síl nÁedo Sláine dynasty (part of the southern Uí Néill) that controlled this region, but the mound of the main tumulus occupied a prominent and commanding location, offering wide-ranging visibility of the surrounding landscape. The archaeological evidence suggests that the ditched settlement fell out of use at the end of the eighth or during the course of the ninth century


and was replaced by an open-area settlement,

which continued in use through the tenth and eleventh centuries up to the beginning of the twelfth. This was a time when the North Brega kingdom was particularly influential. The mound of the main tomb continued to function as the core area of the settlement, and there was limited habitation on the adjoining flat area of the site. It seems likely that the smaller passage tombs had been damaged by this time, as some of the stones from these tombs were used to construct houses and souterrains for the new open settlement. No evidence was found of external protection for this settlement area.

Early morning aerial view of the Knowth passage tombs. Photo by Con Brogan; © National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; rerproduced with permission.

Knowth remained in the hands of the descendants of the Síl nÁedo Sláine to the eleventh century, but by then the kingdom of North Brega was in decline and its territorial extent diminished as the overlordship of the Ua Ruairc of Bréifne extended into Meath and the political power of the Ua Ruairc grew. Intensive settlement occurred on and around the mound of the main tomb at Knowth from the late-twelfth to the sixteenth century, and this settlement can be viewed as part of the wider changes that were taking place within Northern Brega at the time. When members of the Cistercian order arrived from France, they chose Mellifont, near Knowth, to establish their first monastery in 1142. Knowth was granted to the Cistercians in 1157, probably by Tigernán Ua Ruairc. Furthermore, it seems that Knowth was used by the Anglo-Normans during the conquest of Meath: sometime around 1176, it seems that Richard Fleming, a vassal of Hugh de Lacy, intended to use the tumulus of the main tomb as a motte. Among the archaeological features dating to this period at Knowth are a bastion, an enclosed-courtyard farm, architectural fragments from a possible church and corn-drying kilns and ovens. In fact, Knowth has produced the richest assemblage of material of tenth- to thirteenth-century date from any rural site in Ireland, surpassed only by the urban excavations at Dublin and Waterford. IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Examination of the Knowth finds for the tenth to twelfth centuries reveals much that is comparable to the wealth of archaeological material recovered from Viking-era Dublin, and numismatic finds in particular seem to indicate two main periods of contact and influence between the two sites—the first half of the tenth century and the later eleventh to twelfth centuries. There are some mid-tenth century AngloSaxon pennies and one early-eleventh century penny from the reign of Cnut, and there are also eight mid-twelfth century bracteates (coins struck on one side only) of Irish origin that seem to reflect the main period of trade and influence contact with Viking Dublin.5 Other finds from Knowth that find ready comparisons in Dublin include metal and bone stick-pins






incomparable find from Knowth, however, is the ceremonial macehead recovered in the chamber of the eastern tomb on 1 September 1982. This intricately carved item, which again appears to represent a face, was probably deposited as a

Ceremonial flint macehead (c. 3rd millennium BC) from chamber of eastern tomb; © National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; rerproduced with permission.

dedicatory offering. It was found (by Liam O’Connor)

Part of a pestle macehead was found in the

at the entrance to the recess within the eastern tomb

western tomb at Knowth in July 1967, at a central

chamber that also housed the carved stone basin.

point in the tomb chamber; the remains of this item measured 38mm in length. At the time the







flint macehead was recovered in 1982, these two

celebrations on 20 June this year, Mr O’Connor

from Knowth were the only maceheads to have

described how, when he began to uncover the

been found as grave goods in an Irish passage

macehead from underneath a layer of shale, ‘I

tomb. ‘Pestle maceheads were common to both

thought it was a modern thing…it seemed like it was

Britain and Ireland but it was not the general


made of plastic or polythene or something’. The

practice to place these as grave offerings…The

macehead was in fact carved from a piece of flint and

superb finish and design indicates that the

is approximately 5,000 years old. It is ovoid in shape,

Knowth maceheads were prestige items used by

79mm long and weighs just over 324.5g. There is a

special people possibly on special occasions.’ 8

perforation (17mm in diameter) through the narrower end, suggesting it may have been mounted on a staff. The macehead has six sides; the two through which it is perforated are flat, but the other two and the top and bottom are convex. Flint is a hard stone that is difficult to work with, suggesting that the individual or individuals who carved the macehead were highly skilled craftspeople. 7 IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 

5 Patrick F. Wallace, ‘Knowth and Dublin: a comparison of early medieval archaeologies’, in The archaeology of Knowth in the first and second millennia AD, 708–45: 721. 6

Interview with Liam O’Connor at Knowth, Co. Meath, 20 June 2012. A video of the interview (courtesy of K and D Productions) can be accessed at: or via http:// w w w . f a c e b o o k . c o m / p a g e s / G e o r g e - E o g a n s - E xc a va t i o n s - a t Knowth/135825479814243.

7 George Eogan and Hilary Richardson, ‘Two maceheads from Knowth, Co. Meath’, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 112 (1982), 123–38: 124. 8 Eogan and Richardson, ‘Two maceheads from Knowth, Co. Meath’, 131.


Knowth was and continues to be a very special place. Generations of archaeology students and others have worked there to help bring its secrets to light. Speaking at the 50th anniversary, George Eogan suggested ‘I would like to think that not only did they all receive valuable archaeological experience at Knowth, but also had a lot of fun in the process!’ Whereas the major programme of excavation of the passage tombs may have finished, important work still goes on, not only in terms of publishing the outcome of the excavations, but also at the site itself. The Office of Public Works has an ongoing project to work on Knowth House and its farm buildings; Meath County Council and the Discovery Programme have undertaken a LiDAR survey of the entire Knowth site; and as recently as late 2011 non-invasive electrical resistivity and geophysical surveying was undertaken by Joe Fenwick of the Brugh na Bóinne Research Project, School of Geography and Archaeology, NUI Galway, on part of the site just to the south-east of the main passage tomb. This has revealed hitherto unknown features—a rectangular-shaped ditched earthwork and a multiple-ring enclosure. While Joe Fenwick offers suggestions as to what these features might be, he rightly concludes ‘the overall archaeological interpretation of Area 11 at Knowth should not be considered the final word in our understanding of the sub-surface features, as these have been revealed through geophysical means alone…a number of strategically placed excavation cuttings, for the purposes of obtaining dating evidence or for establishing stratigraphical chronologies, are to be recommended…’. Knowth continues to fascinate and inspire. Over the course of its illustrious existence it has evolved through many incarnations: from ancestral burial ground, to royal residence of North Brega, site of Anglo-Norman and Cistercian habitation, post-medieval settlement cluster, and nineteenth-century farmstead, to National Monument and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is much scope for future generations of archaeologists to seek for what Knowth has yet to reveal and to explore in greater detail, and in new ways, elements of the vast amount of data and material already uncovered. What has been discovered there to date, and what continues to emerge, will surely inspire the archaeological community and the general public alike to continue to appreciate and celebrate this extraordinary place.

The Archaeology of Knowth in the First and Second Millennia AD: Excavations at Knowth 5   By Prof. George Eoghan    Hardback with CD‐ROM; 960pp; €50; ISBN: 978‐1‐904890‐62‐1; 279 x 217mm. Royal Irish Academy.    Available to buy from the Royal Irish Academy website:  

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Heritage as an Engine of Economic Growth - Cavan Workshop Date: Friday, 21st September 2012 Time: 9:00am – 1:30pm Location: Cavan County Museum, Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan. The Heritage Council is delighted to announce that the next event in this highly successful series will take place in Ballyjamesduff, Co. Cavan. The 'Heritage as an Engine' workshop series is generating an increased awareness of the opportunities for enterprise and business development based on Ireland's unique local heritage. The event will be of interest to heritage practitioners, business people, entrepreneurs and community representatives. The workshop will explore the potential of the heritage sector and opportunities throughout the county. Conor Newman, Chairperson of The Heritage Council, and Ann Marie Ward, Cavan County Heritage Officer, will open the proceedings with a discussion of the economic potential of the heritage sector in general, and importance of the recorded heritage of the county and achievements to date. The programme of enterprise speakers has been specially selected to showcase the diversity and vibrancy of Cavan's unique heritage sector. The Marble Arch Caves Geo-Park and Green Bee Education are both enterprises which deal with our natural heritage either through its sustainable management or as an education tool. The Cavan Genealogical Research Centre and Irish Arms tap into the potential of our cultural heritage to create jobs and revenue. Various business support agencies will be in attendance to answer your questions and queries. The workshop is designed to foster business networks and develop sustainable enterprise opportunities locally and nationally. It is hoped that the county workshops will support the sector's continued development and reinvigoration. To book a place on the Cavan workshop please fill out the online application form via the website. The event is free but places are limited and therefore booking is essential. For more information about this workshop or to receive email alerts about the other upcoming events in your county please contact Siobhán McDermott, Project Manager,, or 085 226 5040.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Book Review     The Archaeology of Knowth in the First and Second  Millennia AD: Excavations at Knowth 5        Professor  Eogan's  investigations  at  the  Knowth  passage  tomb  complex in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Brú na Bóinne  are regarded as one of the greatest archaeological projects of  the  twentieth  century.    Work  at  Knowth,  which  is  still               on‐going, began in 1962.  Subsequent years have seen men on  the  moon,  the  Northern  Irish  conflict,  the  fall  of  Soviet  com‐ munism and the rise of digital communications.             Archaeology too has seen numerous technical and theoretical  revolutions since the early '60s.  Yet the turmoil and triumph of recent decades are insignificant when compared to  the depth of history that this site has borne witness to.    Occupation at Knowth began in the Early Neolithic period – before the main passage tomb was constructed.  The site  was thenceforth an important centre of ceremony and settlement for the next two thousand years, until, during the  Early Bronze Age, it mysteriously fell into disuse.  After centuries of apparent abandonment, Knowth was eventually  re‐discovered by Late Iron Age people, and this volume tells the story of what happened next, using the results of  decades of painstaking, world‐class archaeological research.    This weighty tome is stylishly presented, with a cover image reflecting aspects of the archaeological finds from the  site.    The  chapters  detail  the  Late  Iron  Age  burials;  the  burials  and  enclosures  of  the  7th  to  9th  centuries  AD;             settlement during the 10th and 11th centuries; late 12th to 16th century settlement; features from the 17th century to  the Modern period; finds from the excavation and, finally, the discussion.  Of particular note is the well researched  section  on  the  clachan  of cottages  that  were  dotted  around  the  site  in the  late 16th century,  some of  which  were   depicted on the Caldwell Estate Maps of 1766.  One cannot help but wonder what it was like for those who, probably  for their entire lives, lived and worked at Knowth, and what they made of the prehistoric and medieval constructions  around them.   

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


The fact that the excavations themselves were carried out so long ago, mainly in the 1970s, has led to a situation  whereby methodological differences that have arisen over the decades are now starkly apparent.  It is something of  a surprise, to those familiar with the latest field practices, to find (for example) the fill of a corn‐drying kiln described  as “soft, brown earth”, and with little or no recourse to charcoal identification or charred plant remains, as would be  common practice today.  On the other hand, the artefactual evidence from the site is meticulously well documented,  with  additional  material  included  on  the  accompanying  CD‐ROM  for  artefacts  not  covered  in  detail  in  print.    This  dataset, particularly the description and analyses of the glass beads, will form a baseline reference for all future work  on these artefact types.  The volume also reports on some cutting‐edge research in the geophysics of surrounding  lands; work that has led to the discovery of tantalizing earthworks that future fieldwork will better resolve.    There  is  an  important  message  implied  throughout  this  book.   Prehistorians, perforce,  dig  through  later  phases  of  occupation  before  prehistoric  strata  are  encountered  –  this  is  a  basic  archaeological  rule.    Similarly,  when               interpreting the significance of prehistoric data, we are reminded that we share our prehistory with those bygone  generations  of  more  recent  centuries.    Knowth  has  been  a  focus  of  activity  for  so  long  that  it  is  one  of  the  most      well‐understood  examples  of  early  medieval,  medieval  and  post‐medieval  settlement  in  Ireland.    Excavations  at  Knowth  5  articulates  this,  and  much  more.    The  text  is  fact‐focussed  and  refreshingly  free  from  bombast  and          hyperbole, and yet, ultimately, a book like this is more than the sum of its parts.  Any archaeologist will apprehend it  with a sense of pride in what his or her discipline can achieve – anyone interested in Ireland and its history ought to  similarly attend to this book's achievements.  The next instalment in the series will deal with the Neolithic passage  tomb itself.  Given this exemplar of documentation, the archaeological community awaits, with breath that is baited.    The Archaeology of Knowth in the First and Second Millennia AD: Excavations at Knowth 5   By Prof. George Eoghan      Hardback with CD‐ROM; 960pp; €50; ISBN: 978‐1‐904890‐62‐1; 279 x 217mm. Royal Irish Academy.    Available to buy from the Royal Irish Academy website:  

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


CULTURE NIGHT BELFAST   FRIDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2012   The Monuments and Buildings Record (MBR) is throwing open its doors for Culture Night Belfast 2012 with a full programme of events designed with something to appeal to everyone.

Public Lectures 1:00pm – 2:00pm. Mountain.

Malachy Conway, National Trust, An Archaeological Survey of Divis and Black

6:00pm – 7:00pm. Terence Reeves-Smyth, NIEA, The Annesley Inheritance: Castlewellan, Mount Panther and Donard Lodge.

Demonstration and Talk 2:30pm – 3:30pm. Rosemary, McConkey, The Use of Aerial Photography in Archaeology: Traditional and Digital.

Historical Tours of the Cathedral Quarter 2:30pm; 5:15pm and 8:00pm. Tours led by archaeologists Mr Jim O’Neill and Mr Ruairí O’Baoill. Tours depart from the MBR, Waterman House. Booking Essential.

Windows on the Past – Children’s Workshop 4:00pm – 5:30pm and 7:30pm – 8:30pm. Children can make their own ‘stained glass window’ using paints and acetate. The windows will be based on designs from the Clokey Stained Glass studio which are held in the MBR. Budding archaeologists can also try and guess what mystery artefacts we have in our cabinet. Booking Recommended. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For further information or to book a place for the tours or workshop, email or telephone 028 9054 3159. Monuments and Buildings Record (MBR)  Northern Ireland Environment Agency  Historic Monuments Unit  Waterman House  5‐33 Hill Street  Belfast  BT1 2LA  T: 02890 543159 

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


We Built This City….

….on Sleech and Poles Jonathan Barkley describes the excavation at Custom House Square, Belfast In May 2007 Northern Archaeological Consultancy Ltd (NAC Ltd) was employed to carry out the excavation of a small site on the western side of Custom House Square in Belfast; previously occupied by a relatively modern office block, the site was to be developed to house a new apartment complex. As with most of Belfast the underlying geology consisted of grey sleech (sticky, strong-smelling, estuarine silty clay on which Belfast is built). Custom House Square is currently located close to the centre of Belfast (Fig 1) and, as its name indicates, it hosts the impressive Custom House constructed in 1856. During the 19th Century the steps of the Custom House acted as Belfast’s Speakers Corner with crowds gathering in the square. Laterally the square was opened to traffic and remained so until the early 2000’s. The current square, that lies between the front of the Custom House and the excavated site opposite, is often used for concerts and large public gatherings. Yet despite the impressive buildings and the gatherings that the square has seen over the past 150 years many are unaware that it was the industry and expansion of Belfast that allowed for its creation: indeed less than 200 years ago the square was part of the River Lagan. Despite being a relatively small site, the excavation that took place at Custom House Square gave an important glimpse into the expansion of Belfast from a small town to its position as one of the industrial powerhouses of Victorian Britain. Figure 1 (above). Location of excavation at Custom House Square outlined in red (image: Google Earth)

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Figure 2. The site at Custom House Square pre-excavation

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Phasing The excavation revealed 4 distinct phases of land reclamation and construction that took place at Custom House Square beginning in the late 17th Century and ending in the mid-19th Century.

Phase 1 (late 17th – mid-18th Centuries) As the town of Belfast grew and became more prosperous between the end of the 17th century and the middle of the 18th century this area was earmarked for improvement.

What we now know as Custom House

Square lay at the northern end of the town in an area of inter-tidal mud flats at the edge of the River Lagan. A lot of the work carried out during this period was concerned with the deepening of the river channel; by deepening the channel larger vessels would be able to travel right up and dock in the town. Obviously deepening the channel created a lot of spoil and this was dumped at the edge of the river providing more serviceable land along the shore and narrowing the river channel further (Figure 3). This phase of expansion and reclamation was clearly evident on site.

Figure 4. Phase 1 - Timber piles used to help stabilise the layers of reclamation material

Layers of sleech and sand had been poured on top of one another and large timber (pine) piles had been driven in to add stability (Figure 4). Finally, a roughly mortared stone facing wall had been added, presumably to stop this reclamation material slipping back into the river (Figure 5).

Figure 3. Phase 1 – Layers of land reclamation material

Figure 5. Phase 1 - The original quay wall IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Figure 6. Phase 2 – The first dock present at Custom House Square, the wall at the left of the photo is the back end of the later Lime Kiln Dock

Phase 2 (mid – late 18th Century) By the middle of the 18th century as the newly reclaimed land became viable, businesses were being attracted to what was becoming a thriving industrial quayside. At Custom House Square, records from the 18th century show that the site was occupied at first by a salt works and then by a lime kiln. Although no evidence was uncovered for the presence of the salt works the remains left by the lime kiln could clearly be seen. Part of the stone wall erected during the first phase of construction had been removed and a small dock had been added, while a stone-built building was constructed at the end of the dock (Figures 6 & 7). It is clear that the improvements carried out in Phase 1 had worked and that small boats at least could make their way to, and dock at the quayside close to the town centre. The presence of either the kiln or a store at the end of the dock would have allowed easy unloading of the raw materials and loading of the processed lime.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Figure 7. Phase 2 – The first dock present at Custom House Square, looking from the later Lime Kiln Dock towards the structure at the end.

Figure 8. Phases 2 & 3 – From the buildings at the end of the first phase of dock looking towards the later Lime Kiln Dock

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Phase 3 (late 18th – mid 19th Centuries) Although expansion along the waterfront had seen modest land reclamation and the growth of industry, it was the expansion at the end of the 18th Century that had the greatest effect on the site at Custom House Square. Even at high tide the dock present during Phase 2 would only have contained 4 feet of water (1.20m, enough for a small barge); deeper water at the quayside would allow the docking of larger ships. And so the decision was taken to further deepen the river channel and carry out more land reclamation; this in turn led to the construction of new quaysides and docks. The old quayside wall constructed during the 1st Phase and the dock and building associated with the limekiln from the 2nd Phase were completely covered over with the sleech and sand from this new phase of reclamation. The new quayside/river edge was pushed right out and probably lay under what is now the Custom House building, while a new dock was constructed following the line of the dock from the 2nd Phase of construction. The old industry hadn’t been forgotten and this new dock was named the Lime Kiln Dock (Figure 8).

This new dock was

constructed using properly faced stone, was properly mortared and had a depth of at least 6 feet (2 meters), which would have undoubtedly been deeper towards the entrance at the river (Figure 9). This phase of expansion also saw the docks and quayside move from an area of industry to a more public and commercial role. New buildings were constructed along the dockside, built using redbrick on good stone foundations (Figures 10 & 11). The industrial side of Belfast moved either north up the river to the location of the current docks or eastwards across the river to what would become the large sprawling shipyards that would make Belfast famous in the early 20th Century. This change from industrial to commercial is shown in the Street Directories of the period. Table 1 is taken from the 1843 Directory (one of the last compiled before the dock was filled in) and provides a glimpse of those who made their living around the Lime Kiln Dock.

House Number




Wm. Simms & Sons



Robert Gamble



R. Montgomery



John Topping

Agent & Broker


Esther O’Neil

Hope Tavern


James Reaney



Samuel Swallow



William Hanvey

Publican and Emigration Agent

Table 1. Business listed at Lime Kiln Dock in 1843

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Towards the middle of the 19th Century Belfast was still expanding and the need for more land even deeper docks led to the final major expansion along the riverside at Custom House Square.


1846 the Lime Kiln Dock was filled in with more sleech dredged from the ever narrowing river channel and the quayside moved to its current location. No further docks were constructed at this section of the river; the deeper water allowed ships Figure 9. Phase 3 – Excavated remains of the Lime Kiln Dock

to simply moor along the quayside. The excavation did reveal that as well as using

sleech to backfill the dock, large amounts of waste were also dumped. As the digger re-excavated the old dock, masses of broken pottery, glass and clay pipe were also removed, clearly they had been dumped into the now redundant dock.

Figure 11. Phase 3 - Overview of building

Above Figure 10. Phase 3 – Lime Kiln Dock, looking towards the earlier, original dock

Conclusion In 1849 the area now known as Custom House Square played host to Queen Victoria on her first ever trip to Ireland. In a little over 200 years an area of mud flats had been reclaimed from the river and transformed into a thriving quayside. By 1857 the construction of the Custom House was complete and the area would forever have its new name and with it any connection with the lime kiln and industry were gone. IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Overview of Custom House Square, Belfast mid excavation. Thanks to Northern Archaeological Consultancy for use of the photos for this article.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


8th & 9th September 2012 European Heritage Open Days This year European Heritage Open Days will take place on 8th and 9th September. Once again over 300 properties and events are opening during the weekend and remember its FREE OF CHARGE! Not all events are in the brochure so for the widest choice visit the new and improved website:

Brochure available to download from here:

The flowing talks will take place in the MBR as part of the European Heritage Open Days on Friday 7th September:  Jim Carlisle on Titanic: Made in Belfast at 12pm  Thomas McErlean on The Maritime Archaeology of the Northern Irish Coastline at 2pm  Terence Reeves-Smyth on The Temple of the Winds, Mount Stewart at 4pm Pre-booking is essential, please telephone 02890 543022 For other details relating to all EHOD events consult Monuments and Buildings Record (MBR)  Northern Ireland Environment Agency  Historic Monuments Unit  Waterman House  5‐33 Hill Street  Belfast  BT1 2LA  T: 02890 543159 

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Art & Archaeology Who says learning can’t be fun! Lianne Heaney, IAR's Managing Director and all‐round child‐friendly archaeologist, explores  the origins of our 'learning about archaeology through art' concept which we incorporate  into the Open Air Museum.  Christmas Day 2011, I was sitting in my uncle Bosco’s house with the rest of the Heaney clan having our annual  afternoon drink. We all live quite close to each other but this seems to be the one day of the year we all meet  up and talk about everything going on in our lives, call those family members that may be living abroad with  each person just getting enough time to shout “Merry Christmas” down the phone and generally discuss the  past  year.    It  was  during  one  of  these  chats  that  my  cousin  Claire  was  telling  me  about  her  new  business  (Inside Art) centred on after‐school art programmes and community arts and crafts workshops. I was telling  her about our secondary school archaeology workshops and thus the idea to combine the archaeology and art  classes was born. We wanted to see if we could put together a programme for primary school children that  would combine their creative side with a bit of learning.   Inside  Art  run  various  art  &  craft  classes  throughout  the  year  across  County  Derry.  The  four  week‐long          programmes  are  generally  themed  and  this  was  where  the  archaeology‐based  workshop  ARTefact  came  in.   After some research and discussions with Claire on the types of activities and topics that might be suitable, I  came up with a list of ideas. Up to this point IAR had exclusively worked with kids aged 12 and older and we  weren’t sure how these topics would be received by the younger kids – it was a trial by fire for me!   Thanks  to  Claire,  and  the  kids  who  regularly  attend  the  Inside  Art  afterschool  programmes,  the  ARTefact     programme was fully booked.  The ARTefact programme was made up of four sessions. We were able to use  the amazing Eco Cabin at The Playtrail in Derry which is a great facility; a big classroom with a kitchen (so we  could  feed  &  water  the  kids),  that  opens  out  to  a  lovely  deck  area  and  garden  and,  most  importantly,  an       adventure playground – which was used when the kids got a bit too hyper with the paints, etc, and we could  let them run off some of that excess energy.  

Inside & Outside the Eco  Cabin at The Playtrail 

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


The initial  programme  I  devised  for  these  workshops  changed  and  modified  as  we  went  through  each  session  and  it  was  quite  a  steep  learning  curve  for  me.    Firstly,  and  most       importantly,  the  first  session  ‘Prehistoric  Cave  Art’,  was  under‐ researched.  Saying to kids that people used to paint on walls now  you  have  a  go,  might  work  with  older  people  (i.e.  18+),  but,  as  I  discovered, 4‐10 year olds need a lot more explanation and, more  importantly, direction.  I spent weeks preparing for this class, with  enough  paper  &  paint  to  service  a  small  army  and  I  even  had  a  PowerPoint presentation – but, my projector let me down and I had to pass around the  laptop  between  20  kids  showing  them  each  cave  painting  in  turn  –  to  say  I  was          flustered was an understatement!  However, artefacts I had brought with me came to  the rescue– the animal bones and the reconstructed arrows were particular favourites.  Then the paint came out.  I have since discovered that little kids do not seem to mind  what they  are painting  as  long  as  they  get  to  use  the  paint,  so  when  I  explained  how  we  were going  to paint    using our fingers and hands, they seemed to forget all about my PowerPoint mishap.  We had great fun making  up  our  own  cave  paintings  and  in  particular  using home made spray paint to create hand  signatures.  

Pictures from  Week  1:  Prehistoric Art  

The second workshop went much more smoothly as this time I knew what to expect with the kids and how to  engage their interest.  I created mini excavation boxes using large plastic boxes, sand and broken pottery.  The  kids were put into groups of four and had to excavate their box, recover the pottery and then try to put the pot  back  together.  (Picture  of  min  excavation).    This  activity  went  down  a  storm  with  the  kids.    As  they  each            excavated their little quadrant, I would explain the process archaeologists go through to find artefacts.  Finding  the pot sherds led into talking about pottery and how it was first made.  We then had a look at prehistoric pots;  how they were made, decorated, fired, what they would have been used for and why we now mostly find broken  ones  (telling  them  that  archaeologists  essentially  look  through  peoples  old  rubbish  seemed  to  put  them  off     archaeology a bit!).  And that led on to designing their own pots on paper – what type of design would they use,  did it have a meaning, what did it say about them?  After the compulsory playground break, everyone was then  sufficiently calm enough to start working with clay and begin bringing their pot design to life.  I decided to show  them the pinching method as it was the quickest and easiest method for little hands  that had never used clay before, and they picked it up with amazing ease.  Once they  got  the  knack  they  wanted  to  make  bigger  and  bigger  pots.    We  recreated  their        designs using items that may have been used in prehistory such as small animal bones,  shells, sticks, flint and string.   One of the pots created in Week2  IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Workshop 3  looked  at  the  Celts;  who  they  were,  where  they  lived,  how  they  lived  and  the  type  of  art  they         produced. I started with a talk about the types of houses they lived in, and as I started to see their eyes glaze  over  I  swiftly asked  them  to  image  they  were  a  young  Celt.  I  described  how  they  would  have  lived,  how  their  house would have been smaller than the room we were currently in with no windows or internal rooms, with a  fire in the middle for cooking. How they would have to share the house (with no internal doors) with brothers,  sisters, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties and even the animals at night.  The points that really got a reaction  were the fact that:  1 you couldn’t slam your bedroom door shut when you weren’t speaking to someone,   2 you had to go outside and dig a hole to go to the toilet and   3 the animals would be pooping in the house!    Once they got over the fact that the life of a young Celt might not be as comfortable as they have it now, we  looked at Celtic warriors and the art they used to decorate their shields and bodies.  They were then tasked with  designing their own Celtic shield. We then went about cutting, gluing, painting and covering things in glitter (not  entirely authentic I know – but try archaeological integrity to a 5 year old!).  I also brought in some face paints to  illustrate  the  tattoos  the  Celtic  warriors  would  have  adorned  themselves  with  before  battle  –  this  went  down  particularly  well  with  the  boys  in  the  group,  who  not  only  painted  the  Celtic  designs  on  each  other  but  went     further  and  started  with  the  war  wounds.    The  girls  went  as  eager  to  have  their  faces  painted  –  instead  they  choose to paint me –all of them, at roughly the same time . 

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


The final  workshop  concentrated  on  the  Normans.  We  looked  at  the  Bayeux  tapestry  which  depicts  life  and      battle in Norman times (sometimes in gory detail) through the medium of weaving, and heraldry; how symbols  and  colours  were  used  to  create  family  crests  and  how  those  crests  would  have  been  used  in  battle  and  to       represent the wealthier families of the period.  The task here was for each child to design their own family crest  using the symbols  and colours  used  in  Norman  times and  then  to  create  that  crest  as  a  banner  that  would be  taken on to the battlefield.  

I have never been so exhausted as I was at the end of those four weeks.  I now have a lot of respect for teachers  and youth workers.  How people work day in, day out with a classroom full of hyper kids is beyond me.  Despite  the extreme exhaustion, those weeks were also the most rewarding.  We had great fun creating items from the  past through the medium of paint, paper and clay whilst at the same time learning how people lived thousand of  years ago.  The artefacts I brought in were real pieces found across Northern Ireland and the kids got to actually  touch  items  from  hundreds  and  thousands  of  years  ago  which  made  them  ask  lots  of  questions  and  started     discussions.  They were interested and surprised to learn that there weren’t any shops thousands of years ago  and people would have to make everything they needed and hunt and search for food.  Once they were able to  relate to the different periods by comparing them with their own lives they weren’t afraid to ask questions, put  forward their own ideas and suggest that the next time I come, we do a ‘real’ excavation.   

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


I have  to  say  I  wasn’t  quite  sure  of  what  to  expect  when  I  first  suggested  doing  archaeology  workshops  for      under 12’s, however I was pleasantly surprised at how interested and well informed the kids were.  They loved  being able to create items such as the pottery and shields and then showing and telling their parents everything  we had done in that lesson when they arrived to take them home. It felt amazing being able to teach the kids  about our ancestors through creativity and art. 

So what  does  this  mean  for  the  future  of  IAR  and  the  under  12’s  group  –  well  based  on  the  success  of  the          ARTefact  workshops,  I  am  currently  in  the  process  of  development  workshops  that  can  be  used  in  primary  schools and we are discussing the possibility of further workshops at the Playtrail and other venues ‐ so if you are  a primary school teacher or after‐school coordinator watch this space for our new programmes and let us know  if you would be interested in Archaeology Workshops in your area.  

Acknowledgements 

I want to say a huge big thank you to my very creative cousin Claire for letting me loose with her kids  and   using them as guinea pigs for my primary school workshops. 


Thanks to Sinead, Dominic and Mark at The Playtrial for letting us use the Eco Cabin. 


And a special Thank you to my 20 little guinea pigs & their parents for taking part.

The Playtrail 15 Racecourse Road Derry/Londonderry BT48 7RE Tel: (028) 7136 8173 Email: Web:

Inside Art Claire Heaney-McKee Creative Workshop Facilitator 18 Aberfoyle Crescent Derry, BT48 7PG Tel: 028 71287713 Mob: 07513870237 Email: Web:

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


A mini Museum at the Carnival of Colours 2012 Lianne, Christina and Gavin trial-run the Open Air Museum Project at one of Derry's annual extravaganzas. Now in its fifth year, The Carnival of Colours in Derry city has become an annual event, and it gets bigger and better each year. It is an event for all the family with circus acts, street entertainers, face painting, music, food and much more and is held at the beginning of summer in St Columb’s Park. The opportunity arose for IAR to take part in this year’s carnival on the 2nd and 3rd June. We had just finished the Inside Art programme and were planning the launch of our Open Air Museum project. We wanted to ensure that the museum project would run smoothly for its official launch, during the Festival of British Archaeology, so taking part in the carnival was a great opportunity for a test run. As our participation in the Carnival was very last minute, our presence wasn't advertised making this a low-key affair. What we hadn't anticipated was this was shaping up to be one of the sunniest, warmest weekends of the year so far and with the event being free, most of Derry turned up. Our museum consisted of artefacts from around Northern Ireland, the same collection we use for our school workshops, and there was information on local archaeology. The kids area consisted of a mini excavation, where kids had to excavate to find toy skulls, bones and coins. They also had the opportunity to create Celtic shields with card and paint on Saturday and make prehistoric pottery on Sunday. Over the course of the weekend, we had in excess of 400 people through the museum and kids area; we were so busy on Saturday we were hoarse from so much talking! The people that spoke to Christina in the museum section had nothing but good things to say about the project, how it was so different and interesting, and how great it was to have something like this for the kids to take part in. Of course the kids loved painting and digging for treasures, so we knew we were on to a winner. Taking part in the carnival gave us an idea of what to expect when we launched our museum officially as part of the Festival in July. We would like to thank Wendy and the staff at In Your Space for letting us take part in the Carnival and a special thanks to Paul and Colm Heaney (Lianne's Dad and brother) for helping us with the marquee.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Carnival of Colours 2012

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


IAI have a new website, it can be found at: those of you that are already members will have received your own login details so you can up load your profile to the site and will now receive weekly newsletters on events and news in Irish Archaeology. And those of you thinking of joining the IAI should have a look at the site, IAI run a number of different CPD courses each year so there should be something for everyone. One of the perks of membership is receiving a copy of the Journal of Irish Archaeology (JIA). This is the journal of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. It is a peer-reviewed, annual journal, comprising articles on Irish archaeology and related topics. The articles have a strong analytical component and may arise from various types of research including synthesis, survey, excavation and methodological developments. Researchers working in ancillary disciplines are also welcome to contribute. Submissions that place Irish material in a broad European or global context are particularly encouraged. Editorship of the journal currently rotates between the four main Irish universities (University College Dublin, University College Cork, NUI Galway and Queen's University Belfast) every two years. The current Editor is Dr Stephen Davis, UCD School of Archaeology. The Editorial Board for the Journal assists the Editor in determining its content, actively encouraging the submission of papers and assisting in the adjudication of the JIA Postgraduate Prize. The latest edition (Volume XX 2011)is out now and contains some great articles: 

A late Mesolithic shell midden at Kilnatierny near Greyabbey Emily Murray


Later prehistoric radiocarbon dates from Ireland: an audit K. Becker, I. Armit, J, Eogan & G. Swindles


The fusion of settlement and identity in dispersed and nucleated settlements in Bronze Age Ireland Victoria Ginn


Analysing ancient Irish gold: an assessment of the Hartmann database Richard B. Warner and Mary Cahill


A fragment of a gold bracelet from Newgrange, Co. Meath, and its late Roman context Robert Janiszewski


Early medieval human burials and insect remains from Kildimo, Co. Limerick Linda G. Lynch and Eileen Reilly


Medieval fulachta fia in Ireland? An archaeological assessment Alan Hawkes


The medieval coarse pottery of Ulster Cormac McSParronLa Trinidad Valencera – 1588 Spainish Armada wreck:results of the Underwater Archaeology Unit’s work at the site, 2004-6 Connie Kelleher


Plans and economics: defending the Plantation city of Londonderry B. G. Scott

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


2nd Galway City International Heritage Conference: Archives - Celebrating Ireland’s Archival Heritage Date: October 4th, 2012 Location: Harbour Hotel, The Docks, Galway Programme 9.15 Welcome by Mayor of Galway City, Councillor Terry O’Flaherty. 9.25 Official Opening by Dr. Jim Higgins, Heritage Officer. Session 1 Chair: Aideen Ireland, Senior Archivist, National Archives of Ireland. 10.00 Kieran Hoare, Special Collections NUI Galway, “Building a Research Archive, The James Hardiman Library Archives, NUI Galway.” 10.45 Catriona Crowe, Head of the Special Projects National Archives, “Archives and Society”. 10.45 am – 11.15 am Tea/Coffee Session 2 Chair: Professor Gearóid O’Tuathaigh 11.30 Dr. Raymond Gillespie, NUI Maynooth, “Why Irish Archives Matter”. 12.15 Eunan O’Halpin, Trinity College Dublin, “The Archives commemorations: The Iconic versus the enduring.”





13.00 – 13.30 Light Lunch with Sandwiches, Tea/Coffee 13.30

Benjamin van DeWetering, Ox Bindery, Co. “Protecting Your Archives, Caring for your Collection”.





Session 3 Chair: Dr. Raymond Refaussé, Church of Ireland RCB Library, Dublin 14.15 Lar Joye, Assistant Keeper at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin, “Collecting the Nation: Archival Material in the National Museum of Ireland’s Collection”. 15.00 Christian Schneeberger, Swiss Theatre Archives, Berne, Switzerland, “The Digital Challenge – Archives of the Future – The Future of the Archives”. 15.45 Comdt. Padraic Kennedy, Officer in Charge, Irish Defence Forces, Military Archives, “Military Archives Online: A Case Study using Flickr as an online photo gallery”. 16.00 Discussion Cost: A nominal fee will be payable on the day of the Conference only. Fee €10, Concessions €5. BOOKING ESSENTIAL - Please contact or tel. 091 536 410 for more information.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


A MODEL MUSEUM? Gavin Donaghy, IAR's Technical Director and Open Air Museum coordinator, outlines the benefits of this unique archaeological experience. This summer, during the Council for British Archaeology’s (CBA) Festival of British Archaeology, IAR launched the Open Air Museum Project. This unique project had been under development for a year and was waiting for the ideal public event where it could be launched. Having been approached by the CBA to host an event for the festival, the perfect opportunity at last presented itself. The project is designed to give its visitors a tactile connection with our past and to inform about the archaeology in the surrounding area. The beauty of this project is its mobility; no two events are the same and it can focus on the local archaeology of whichever area it visits, making the displays and activities resonate that much more. The Open Air Museum has key aspects designed to immerse its visitors in the heritage of our country and to give them a glimpse into the lives of our ancestors. The Pop up Museum is housed in a large marquee and gives its visitors a chance to see and handle artefacts unearthed from archaeological investigations from Northern Ireland. Specially designed posters detail the archaeological history of Ireland, archaeological excavations that have taken place in the local area and what we know of the local monuments. The presence of archaeologists gives visitors the opportunity to ask questions about any aspect of the museum, the archaeology of the area or, indeed, about the profession itself.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


The Childrens Activity area gives our younger visitors a chance to learn about archaeology through art and play, by combining these with archaeological topics we can engage with the kids and get across to them how people may have lived in the past. We have numerous activities for the kids that are suitable for all ages and can cover any period in history, to date the favorite have been cave painting, prehistoric pottery making and designing shields using Celtic art. The cave art topic teaches kids how the first ‘art’ forms came about, and that our prehistoric ancestor didn’t have paper and paint but instead used things they found in nature. Similarly



workshops not only let kids




gives us the opportunity to




Neolithic and Bronze Age life, explaining that if they lived during those periods they would probably be doing just this, making pottery and doing chores! The shield task enables us to talk about the Celts and in particular the warriors, their weapons and body art. This task gets a great response from boys who are notoriously hard to reach.

Pictures of the Children's area at the Festival of archaeology events in Glenariff & Gosford Forest Parks

A big favorite with kids of all ages and even some parents is a miniature excavation, this not only allows the children to partake in some of their favourite activities: getting dirty and finding treasure, but it also gets across how archaeologist don’t know where artefacts are ‘hidden’ they have to spend time looking and digging. We hope that an appreciation for archaeology will develop and remain through to adulthood.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


The Hunting and Gathering area gives visitors the opportunity to see how our ancestors might have found their supper. An archery range, run by IAR's Ross Bailey, a qualified archery instructor, lets people see just how effective a hunter they might have been. ancestors hunted, how that prey was used

Explanations of the different kinds of prey that our and demonstrations on how they made hunting tools

accompany the archery tutorials.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


All of the activities and aspects of the museum are designed to reinforce each other in the minds of our visitors. Someone who has just taken their first few shots with a bow and arrow will better appreciate what they are handling when they encounter flint arrowheads or replica prehistoric arrows in the museum. Likewise, anyone who has examined the prehistoric pottery on display will feel, we hope, much more of a connection when sitting making their own pottery in the children's area.

This then gives a better

understanding of the contents of the posters and exhibits discussing the archaeological heritage around us.

With the help of the Northern Ireland Forest Service we launched the Open Air Museum Glenariff and Gosford forest parks over two weekends in July. These days were very successful and we had a large turnout, in spite of the weather. Alot of positive feedback was received from the people who visited the project - all of them, young and old, had a keen interest in the archaeology and heritage of their local area. It was extremely gratifying to hear visitors wanting to know where they could go to, or how they could learn more about the archaeology within their communities, and ask when we would be back with another event.

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Since we launched our project during the CBA festival we have toured the country with it, bringing it to Muff in County Donegal and Portumna in County Galway as part of the event for Heritage Week 2012. In both cases we had a similar response from the people that came to visit us; they all had a keen interest in the archaeology and heritage of the local areas as well as the island as a whole and wished they could visit more projects like ours. This fuelled in us a passion to expand the project for festivals next summer and to take it to other parts of the country.

The Open Air Museum Project would not have been possible without the help of key individuals. To that end, IAR wishes to thank: The Counsel for British Archaeology The Northern Ireland Forest Service The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA: Built Heritage) Andrew Gault (NIEA) The Office of Public Works (OPW) The Heritage Council The Border Villages Social Integration Project Kathleen Murray (The Glenariff Tearooms) Muff Festival Portumna Castle Northern Archaeological Consultancy Rubicon Archaeological Services BBC Radio Ulster (Your Place or Mine) The Navan Centre Rowan McLaughlin Rachel McAvera Arlene Matthews Jonathan Barkley Darren Bailey Gemma McNickle

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Making Christian Landscapes Conference Date: 21-23 September 2012 Location: UCC, Cork Making Christian Landscapes: Conversion & Consolidation in Early Medieval Europe Landscapes across Europe were transformed, both physically and conceptually, as a result of the conversion to Christianity and the development of ecclesiastical structures during the early medieval period. This interdisciplinary conference will seek to illuminate this process through case studies of particular landscapes. Speakers will consider a range of settlement and ritual/burial sites as well as territorial divisions and routeways in order to explore where and how people chose, or were obliged, to live, worship and be buried and how this changed over time. Some papers will focus on the initial process of conversion while others will also consider changes in the nature of people's relationships with ecclesiastical sites and structures over the course of the period. The conference forms part of the INSTAR-funded Making Christian Landscapes Project and is the 2012 annual conference of the Society for Church Archaeology. It is organised by the Archaeology Department, University College Cork, the School of Historical Studies, University of Newcastle, and the Society for Church Archaeology. For more information please visit: MCLConferenceSept2012/#d.en.148350

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


‘Twas gas craic: Lianne goes solo at the Gasyard Feile The Gasyard Centre, in Derry’s bogside, is a heritage centre as well as a community resource for arts & crafts. The staff here are at the centre of child-orientated events throughout the city, with one such event being the Gasyard Feile. This annual event takes place over two weeks during the summer months and brings music and art to the city, encouraging young people to take part in numerous workshops. This year IAR was contacted by the SureStart Edenballymore team, who work through Gasyard Centre, to be part of the family funday at the Feile. We had been recommended by Claire Heaney-Mckee who runs Inside Art. We had just finished three weeks of Open Air Museum events around the country and it must be said, everyone was wrecked. Thinking this would be a low key affair and given the fact that there would be bouncy castles, laser quest and lots of other activities on site, I decide to staff our area on my own. SureStart had requested we put on the mini excavation and the pottery workshops. As with the previous events, both of these activities were very popular with the kids from the toddlers who tried to get into the mini excavation pit to the over-10’s (including some parents) who spent quite a bit of time trying to find the treasure in the excavation and a lot of effort perfecting their prehistoric pots. The day was a great success, with the SureStart staff even commenting on the fact that quite a lot of young lads took part in the pottery workshops and everyone was very interested in the artefacts I brought along, particularly the bones and replica spear. As with our other events, I explained why we were making the pots in a particular way, how we conduct our excavations, the types of things we find and what those things can tell us about people in the past. The kids might not have realised it, but on a warm Sunday afternoon during the school holidays, they actually learnt things about history and archaeology!

Digging for Treasure! 

Making Prehistoric pottery 

Some of the artefacts on display 

All of the events that we have hosted over the summer months have shown us the incredible appreciation that our visitors have for the work and effort that goes into bringing the Open Air Museum to life. With each event we learn a little bit more about what people want out of a travelling archaeology show, even though they may have never seen one before! These events have also given us new ideas and insights into how we can improve our school workshops. For now, we look forward to our next event and hope to see you there. Inside Art’s Tepee Village 

The Carnival 

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


The latest news from the Belfast Hills Partnership Take a hike this September The Belfast Hills Partnership is stepping out for September with a robust, early autumn walk in the hills of Belfast. The ‘September Morn’ walk on Saturday September 15 takes a little-known route linking the heights of Divis and Black Mountain with Colin river valley in the west of the city. The trail stretches from Divis to Glenside community woodland into upper and lower Colin Glen. It takes in spectacular mountain views descending into shaded valleys, dramatic flooded quarries, a waterfall and deep river gorges. The walk will also treat the hardy band of walkers to the sights of ripening fruits including wild blackberries and elderberries growing along the way. It was not possible, until recent years, for the public to walk a route from Black Mountain down through Colin Glen. But walkers taking the hike will be able to see tangible improvements being made within the Belfast Hills. “This walk will inspire people to get out as autumn begins, to see the changing of the seasons through mountain and valley in the Belfast Hills,” said Partnership manager Jim Bradley. “This is a challenging trail that provides a slice of nature to the large urban populations across the Belfast Hills. It offers a chance for walkers to enjoy the hills as the season changes.” A pre-bookable, free shuttle bus service is provided at 9.30am from Colin Glen Forest Park centre taking walkers to Divis for the start of the event at 10am. Those taking this option will walk back to the end of the route to pick up their cars or access public transport at Colin Glen Forest Park centre. People can otherwise meet for the start of the walk at the Divis Mountain. The event starts at 10am from Divis car park, 12 Divis Road and costs £1 for under 18s and unemployed, £5 for adults. All proceeds go to improvement works in the Belfast Hills.

Anyone wishing to take part in the September Morn walk and book the bus can contact the Belfast Hills Partnership. Call 02890 603 466, or

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Pot Luck Ross Bailey, IAR’s Research Director, outlines the results of an unusual request put to the team at Glenariff, County Antrim. Occasionally in our line of work, particularly when

What follows here is a brief preliminary account of

dealing with archaeological sites studied decades

what has been found to date about the bowl, and

ago, we find that these sites, or the artefacts, and

a brief background of the excavator, Professor

the archaeologists, have somehow slipped through

Walmsley. It is our hope that in a future article we

the cracks and faded into relative obscurity.

can revisit this subject with a much more in-depth


can happen even when local interest is present, as

look at the site.

we discovered during our Open Air Museum visit to Glenariff Forest Park.







Walmsley, was the Head of Anatomy at Queens There we were shown a photograph of an artefact,

University Belfast from 1919-1951, and was the

and written on the back was simply ‘Prof. Walmsley

Vice Chairman of the Ulster Archaeological Society

QUB, Foriff Td., 1947’. We were told that the bowl

in his time, and the Chairman of its excavation

in the photograph had been found during field

committee. It was related to us at Glenariff that

clearance activities by two young brothers, Louis and

he put forth that the occupant of the cist as a

Charles Monaghan. They uncovered a cist - a simple




interpretation and does not sound like one which

rectangular pit is lined with slabs of stone, the burial

would be made today. His comments about the

placed inside, and a final slab placed as a capstone

Persian origin make rather more sense when set

to seal the chamber. They removed the capstone,

against his background in anatomy, and his



interests in interpreting the human skeleton in

beneath, had found some finger bones and a broken

terms of morphology and anthropology, with


physical traits indicating place of origin and











Word spread, and Professor Walmsley

arrived from Queens University, excavated the rest







of the cist, studied the human remains found within, took the broken vessel, and (presumably after time

It perhaps seems odd, given Professor Walmsley’s

to conserve and refit the pot) provided the

standing in the Ulster Archaeological Society, and

Monaghan family with the photograph. They could

the fact that the vessel is a rather nice example of

find no report on the excavation, no sign of it in the

its kind, that nothing, even in passing, appeared in

Sites and Monuments Record, and no-one they

the Ulster Journal of Archaeology.

asked seemed to recognise the name of Professor

currently in the keeping of the Ulster Museum,

Walmsley, or was entirely certain what had become

recorded as found 'in a cist in Foriff Townland,

of the bowl.





The bowl is


donated by Prof. T. Walmsley'. IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


The vessel, as shown in the photograph, is a tripartite bowl, a style of Early Bronze Age vessel consistently linked with burials. Unfortunately we have not been able to trace the human remains from the cist, though we have been informed by the current owner that they were removed from the site. Irish Archaeological Research would like to thank Mr. Donnell O'Loan for bringing the photograph and site to our attention, Mr Louis Monaghan – the younger of the two brothers who found the cist and current owner of the farm – for the extra detail and information on the circumstances of the excavation and the contents of the cist, and Carole Hearst of the Ulster Museum for timely responses to queries about the artefacts in the museum’s collection.

The photograph of the Early Bronze Age Tripartite Bowl found in 1947

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


What next for IAR…    School Archaeology Workshops  A new school year has started and our archaeology workshops for post primary’s are being booked up at the speed  of  light,  so  if  your  interested  please  call  or  email  us  for  further  details.    We  are  also  in  the  process  of  developing    primary school workshops and some very exciting outdoor school activities for spring next year, so stay tuned to our  website and facebook page for further news on these.    Halloween  On  Saturday  27th  October  2012  we  will  be  at  Antrim  Castle  and  Gardens  with  the  Open  Air  Museum  and  kids         archaeology activities as part of the Howling Histories Event, hosted by Antrim Borough Council.  Come along a learn  about the legend of the Irish Wolfhound that saved the Castle. Further details will be on our facebook page closer to  the time.    New Projects  Over  the  coming  months  we  hope  to  have  several  new  projects  in  place  including  research,  experimental  and        excavation projects. Keep up to date with our latest projects on facebook, twitter and our website. 

If you would like to hire the Open Air Museum or book our archaeology workshops  for school,  youth or communities groups please drop us an email.  

IAR Digital Magazine  Issue 4   Summer 2012 


Irish Archaeological Research Digital Magazine  

This is the fourth issue of our free digital magazine featureing news about archaeology and heritage in Ireland. This Issue features a speci...