NRA Scheme Monographs series
Through the Lands of the Auteri and St Jarlath: the archaeology of the M17 Galway to Tuam
Galway’s fascinating history, both secular and religious, is written across its landscape. Its archaeology and architecture date from the earliest settlement of the area to the mass departures at the time of the Great Famine and practically every point in between. The section of the M17 motorway described in this book runs through ancient tribal and religious territories extending from Athenry in the south to Tuam in the north. In Through the Lands of the Auteri and St Jarlath, written by Teresa Bolger, Martin Jones, Brian MacDomhnaill, Ross MacLeod, Colm Moloney and Scott Timpany, readers will explore one of the earliest ritual sites in the region in Kilskeagh townland, discover a series of burnt mounds in Cloondarone townland which was probably used by an extended family group over a period of some 30 generations, find evidence of early modern treasure hunting at a ringfort in Rathmorrissy townland and tour ‘Old Kilskeagh’ and the ruins of a community of Famine-period cottages.
A Journey Along the Carlow Corridor: the archaeology of the M9 Carlow Bypass
The River Barrow, Ireland’s second longest river, has for millennia been a significant settlement focus and communications channel––almost certainly from the time our ancestors first set foot on these shores in Mesolithic times. The role of the Barrow Valley as a communication cord is again recognised in Norman times. The development of the Carlow Bypass as part of the M9 Dublin–Waterford motorway represents a 21st–century upgrade of this ancient routeway. A Journey Along the Carlow Corridor, edited by Teresa Bolger, Colm Moloney and Damian Shiels, reports on pre-construction investigations that have demonstrated significant archaeological activity in this region of Carlow lying within the central reaches of the river. Today Carlow has a deserved reputation as a tillage county. It’s free-draining, fertile soils were equally prized for settlement in the past and the archaeological excavations have uncovered considerable domestic, ritual and industrial evidence throughout prehistory into medieval and post-medieval times. The richness of the agricultural terrain is again manifest in the proliferation of large demesne estates and country houses that dominate the rural landscape from the 18th century.
The Quiet Landscape: archaeological investigations on the M6 Galway to Ballinasloe national road scheme
Galway is a large and diverse county. In the west there are bare, rugged mountain ranges and a wild Atlantic coastline. But in the rural interior there are low-lying cattle pastures, dispersed rural dwellings and historic market towns. This is the quiet landscape of this book edited by Jim McKeon & Jerry O’Sullivan, now traversed by the M6 motorway, from the outskirts of Galway City to the town of Ballinasloe. Archaeological investigations along the motorway route have opened new windows on the early history and prehistory of this landscape. The discoveries are remarkable in their variety, especially in a county where there had been little previous archaeological fieldwork outside its historic towns. In The Quiet Landscape readers can discover for themselves a hunter-gatherer camp site at Ballynaclogh, a Bronze Age lead mine at Treanbaun, a great prehistoric hillfort at Rahally, early medieval farmsteads at Coolagh, Carnmore West, Loughbown and Mackney, an 18th-century spade mill at Coollola and many other excavated archaeological sites, representing almost 300 generations of life between the River Suck and the Atlantic.
River Road: the archaeology of the Limerick Southern Ring Road
Limerick is steeped in history. From its city walls and medieval churches to the stone circles and ringforts that dot the countryside, each generation has left its mark on the landscape. River Road: the archaeology of the Limerick Southern Ring Road, by Nóra Bermingham, Frank Coyne, Graham Hull, Fiona Reilly and Kate Taylor, describes the results of 28 excavations in this landscape, on archaeological sites discovered in lowland pastures east and south of the city and among the mudflats and reed beds of the River Shannon floodplain to the west. The excavations reveal a vivid picture of life through the millennia, from hunter-gatherers making stone tools on the banks of the Shannon 8,000 years ago, to the brick-makers of Coonagh tending their kilns to supply building material for the fine Georgian houses of Limerick City. How people lived, worked and died is reflected in the objects discovered. These discoveries deepen our knowledge of the ways in which our ancestors made their homes and livelihoods in the Limerick area since early prehistory.
Generations: the archaeology of five national road schemes in County Cork (Vols 1 & 2)
(ISBN for set 978-0-9574380-6-4)
Generations, edited by Ken Hanley & Maurice F Hurley, is a book about the lives of people in County Cork over the past 10,000 years. The generations that have come and gone in that time have all left some trace on the landscape, as revealed in 114 archaeological excavations on five national road projects: Glanmire–Watergrasshill (N8), Rathcormac–Fermoy (M8), Mitchelstown Relief Road (N8/N73), Ballincollig Bypass (N22) and Youghal Bypass (N25). Each excavated site represents the physical imprint left by our ancestors who, like us, experienced the joys and hardships of life, whether in the rolling hills of north Cork, on the fertile plains of the Lee Valley or in sight of Youghal Bay.
One of the most important discoveries, made near Fermoy, includes traces of the earliest humans to settle in Cork approximately 10,000 years ago. A house built by one of the first farming communities almost 6,000 years ago was excavated near Ballincollig and part of a Bronze Age ‘village’ was uncovered near Rathcormac. An exceptional discovery is the 3,500 year-old ‘Mitchelstown Face Cup’, the oldest known three-dimensional representation of a person in Ireland. A substantial early medieval (7th century AD) farming settlement near Youghal was contemporary with some of the first written records for people in County Cork. A moated earthwork settlement (13th/14th century AD) near Glanmire dates to the period when Cork was colonised by the Anglo-Normans.
Accounts of each excavated site are complemented in the two volumes of Generations by essays that discuss the significance of the findings in their regional, national and international contexts. The accompanying CD-ROM includes all the primary technical and specialist data from the excavations and 3D animated reconstructions of a selection of five of the prominent sites.
The Mill at Kilbegly: an archaeological investigation on the M6 Ballinasloe to Athlone national road scheme
The Mill at Kilbegly, written by Neil Jackman, Caitríona Moore and Colin Rynne, describes a remarkable discovery made in 2007 by archaeologists conducting routine test excavations in a bog in south County Roscommon, on the route of the new M6 motorway. The early medieval horizontal-wheeled watermill at Kilbegly is one of the most significant discoveries of its type in the archaeology of post-Roman Europe. The millraces, millpond, flume or penstock, mill undercroft or wheelhouse, wheel-hub, axle and paddles were all found in excellent condition (together with tools and other objects associated with the mill), preserved in the dark, cool, airless depths of the peat bog. Excavation of the site provided a wealth of new information on aspects of early mills and milling and the sophisticated craft of early medieval millwrights in Ireland. The archaeological account of the medieval mill site is augmented in this book by scientific studies on palaeoenvironmental materials from the bog and a historical analysis of early medieval documentary sources.
Harvesting the Stars: a pagan temple at Lismullin, Co. Meath
Lismullin is located in the Gabhra Valley, beneath the Hill of Tara, Co. Meath. It has become the best known of 167 archaeological sites discovered and investigated along the route of the M3 Clonee to North of Kells motorway. The discovery, excavation and interpretation of a large, circular post-built enclosure of Iron Age date is the centrepiece of this book. The author, Aidan O’Connell, interprets the enclosure as an open-air pagan temple and asks ‘Who built it? And how was it used?’ (The evidence points to spectacular nocturnal rituals imploring the Gods for a bountiful harvest.) These and other questions are explored in this publication of one of the most significant discoveries on the M3.
Beneath the Banner: archaeology of the M18 Ennis Bypass and N85 Western Relief Road, Co. Clare
Beneath the Banner, by Nóra Bermingham, Graham Hull and Kate Taylor, describes the results of archaeological excavations along the route of the M18 Ennis Bypass and N85 Western Relief Road, Co. Clare. Twenty-eight sites were excavated, ranging from prehistoric cremation cemeteries to early modern brick kilns, and including part of the medieval Augustinian foundation of Clare Abbey. The record of these discoveries amounts to a narrative of human life in the Fergus River valley from early prehistory to modern times. The prehistoric cremation cemeteries at Manusmore occupied a special place in the landscape, intervisible with the estuary of the Fergus River. Among the early medieval sites, a smith’s homestead and workshop, within a ditched earthwork enclosure at Cahircalla More, is an especially important discovery. Clare Abbey was a key religious, political and commercial centre from its foundation in the 12th century. It occupied a knoll of high ground in the Fergus River floodplain. Excavations here trace its transition from medieval religious house to military garrison in the post-Reformation period. In a later period, the brick kilns, lime kiln and other relics of early modern ‘Improvements’ testify that the landscape, and the raw materials it provides, were fundamental to life in the valley in all periods.
Borderlands: archaeological investigations along the route of the M18 Gort to Crusheen road scheme
The M18 motorway is a central element in the Atlantic Corridor. It traverses the economic heartland of the West, linking its two major cities—Galway and Limerick—and passing by Shannon and Ennis among other places. But a better road does not set aside history to make a single region. The authors of this present volume remind us that the Gort to Crusheen section of the M18 crosses the ‘borderlands’ between two provinces, two counties and also two historic territories. The contemporary motorist will hardly notice the boundary, as traffic streams north and south along a seamless new motorway. But it was once strongly defined in the landscape, by the Moyree River, and is still strongly defined in the imaginations of local people living on either side of the divide where Munster meets Connacht, Clare meets Galway and, in later medieval times, the old Gaelic kingdom of Thomond, in Clare, met conquered Norman lands to the north. Borderlands, written by Shane Delaney, David Bayley, Ed Lyne, Siobhán McNamara, Joe Nunan and Karen Molloy, tells some of the stories of these borderlands in prehistoric and historic times.
Cois tSiúire—Nine Thousand Years of Human Activity in the Lower Suir Valley
(ISBN 978-0-9564180-3-6) CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT
Edited by James Eogan and Elizabeth Shee Twohig, Cois tSiúire—Nine Thousand Years of Human Activity in the Lower Suir Valley presents the results from over 60 significant archaeological excavations on the route of the N25 Waterford City Bypass, which revealed that humans have lived in this part of the Lower Suir Valley from the time of the earliest hunter-gatherers onwards. Among the discoveries were an early seventh-century AD vertical watermill at Killoteran, the earliest such mill yet identified in Ireland, and the internationally significant, ninth-century AD Viking settlement uncovered at Woodstown.
Cois tSiúire (‘beside or alongside the Suir’) contains excavation summaries written by the excavation directors, which are complemented by a series of specialist overviews that place the discoveries in their regional, national and international contexts. The authors demonstrate that from the earliest times the Lower Suir Valley was home to vibrant communities who were outward-looking and dynamic, and who benefitted from the natural advantages provided by the varied landscapes and resources available ‘alongside the Suir’.
In the Lowlands of South Galway: archaeological excavations on the N18 Oranmore to Gort national road scheme
Written by Finn Delaney and John Tierney, In the Lowlands of South Galway describes over 20 archaeological sites excavated by Eachtra Archaeological Projects on the route of the N18 Oranmore to Gort road scheme, which traverses a landscape in which human communities have come and gone for 10,000 years. The plain where their lives unfolded was a constant backdrop, a mosaic of grasslands, hazel woods and karstic limestone bedrock, with an indented Atlantic coastline, all overlooked by Sliabh Aughty and the Burren. The excavations are individually described in this book but the authors also try to understand the evidence from each period in its broad landscape setting and thus offer the reader a bird’s-eye view of life on the lowland plain of South Galway, from prehistory to modern times. Published in June 2011, this handsome volume is accompanied by a CD containing the relevant final excavation reports and other technical information.
Of Troughs and Tuyères: the archaeology of the N5 Charlestown Bypass
Written by Richard Gillespie and Agnes Kerrigan, Of Troughs and Tuyères is a regionally significant and visually impressive book dealing with the results of more than 40 excavations carried out by Mayo County Council archaeologists in advance of the construction of the N5 Charlestown Bypass in east Mayo. Published in December 2010, this monograph presents an exploration of six millennia of human activity evidenced by Neolithic structures, well-preserved Bronze Age fulachtaí fia (also known as ancient cooking sites), early medieval enclosed settlements and 19th-century vernacular buildings. The discoveries have reconstructed past landscapes, revealed ancient contact with the wider world and provided significant insights into past technologies and crafts. The fascinating sites revealed in Of Troughs and Tuyères highlight the key role that the West of Ireland plays in the unfolding archaeological story of this island.
Places Along the Way: first findings on the M3
Edited by Mary B Deevy and Donald Murphy, Places Along the Way represents a considerable milestone for the NRA as it was the fifth publication in its scheme-specific monograph series and was the first monograph dedicated to the excavation results from the M3 Clonee to North of Kells motorway scheme (see Harvesting the Stars above). Published in December 2009, this book presents substantial accounts of and reflections on eight of the most significant sites excavated on the M3 motorway between Dunboyne and Navan in County Meath—an area incorporating the broader landscape around the Hill of Tara. The chapters describing the individual sites in this volume are all interim statements written while post-excavation research was continuing; however, many of the conclusions tentatively proposed in the book are unlikely to be radically altered by further research. While the evidence from the sites concentrates heavily on the early medieval period, there are also substantial traces of prehistoric and later medieval activity. The book also contains an important contribution to the documentary evidence for later medieval settlement in Meath.
In the Shadow of the Galtees: archaeological excavations along the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown road scheme
Written by Melanie McQuade, Bernice Molloy and Colm Moriarty, In the Shadow of the Galtees is the fourth publication in the National Roads Authority scheme-specific monograph series and was published in November 2009. This book brings together the results of archaeological investigations on the route of the N8 Cashel to Mitchelstown road scheme in County Tipperary undertaken by Margaret Gowen & Co. Ltd. The construction of this new road led to the discovery of a great many significant, previously unidentified, archaeological sites that have added a new depth to our knowledge of South Tipperary. The book describes the fascinating sites and artefacts that were uncovered and explores how these discoveries reflect the changing needs, tastes, and even political allegiances of the people who lived in this area over the last 5,000 years. The most significant discoveries described in the book are 24 Bronze Age structures (between 4,000 and 2,600 years old). This is the largest number of Bronze Age buildings discovered to date on any single road scheme in Ireland. In the Shadow of the Galtees is attractively produced with full-colour illustrations throughout and comes with a CD-ROM incorporating all of the final excavation and specialist reports. Not only will this book appeal to anyone who is fascinated about our past, it will also be of immense interest to people from the Tipperary region.
Near the Bend in the River: the archaeology of the N25 Kilmacthomas realignment
Written by Penny Johnston, Jacinta Kiely and John Tierney, Near the Bend in the River is the third publication in the National Roads Authority scheme-specific monograph series and was published at the end of 2008. This book brings together the results of archaeological investigations on the route of the N25 Kilmacthomas realignment in County Waterford undertaken by Eachtra Archaeological Projects between 1998 and 2000. This led to the first use of extensive pre-construction test excavations on an Irish road scheme. The excavations resulted in the identification of traces of past human activity in 30 separate areas along the length of this new road. Before this work only a single fulacht fiadh, or burnt mound, was known along the line of the realignment. The remains uncovered range from the nationally significant discovery of the foundation post-holes of a building constructed almost 4,500 years ago by people who used highly decorated Beaker pottery to the locally significant identification of a field system probably associated with the development of the settlement of Kilmacthomas in the medieval period. The excavations revealed almost continuous human activity in this part of Waterford during the last six millennia and the findings are presented in the form of a gazetteer, with an accompanying CD-ROM incorporating all of the final excavation and specialist reports.
The Archaeology of Life and Death in the Boyne Floodplain: the linear landscape of the M4
Written by Neil Carlin, Linda Clarke and Fintan Walsh and published by the National Roads Authority in August 2008, this monograph is the second publication in the NRA scheme-specific monograph series. This publication brings together the results of the extensive archaeological work that was undertaken on the M4 Kinnegad–Enfield–Kilcock motorway scheme (M4 KEK) prior to the commencement of construction. This publication represents a substantial contribution to our understanding of the early medieval period in particular but also of the early Iron Age and of later developments. The great scope of work presented in this monograph is indicative of the professionalism and enthusiasm of all of the archaeologists involved in the project. An accompanying CD-ROM to the publication incorporates various final excavation and specialist reports.
Monumental Beginnings: the archaeology of the N4 Sligo Inner Relief Road
Written by Ed Danaher and published by the NRA in December 2007, Monumental Beginnings was the first publication in the NRA Scheme Monographs series. This publication details the results of discovery and archaeological excavation along the route of the N4 Sligo Inner Relief Road. Investigations in 2003 by Archaeological Consultancy Services Ltd and initial testing and excavation by Mary Henry Archaeological Services Ltd in 2001 resulted in the discovery of a number of significant prehistoric sites, including that of a causewayed enclosure dating to the Early Neolithic period, around 4000 BC. These discoveries add to the archaeological heritage of a region already well-known for its upstanding monuments. An accompanying CD-ROM to the publication incorporates final excavation and specialist reports.