TII Heritage series
How to Purchase
All of the books listed below are available through bookshops or directly from Wordwell Books (order online: www.wordwellbooks.com; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: +353 1 2947860) priced at €25 each.
Hidden Voices: the archaeology of the M8 Fermoy–Mitchelstown motorway
Every place has a story to tell but, with the passing of time, not all stories are preserved. The archaeological discoveries presented in this book afford a rare chance to hear from people whose voices would be lost were it not for the opportunities for discovery presented by the construction of the M8 Fermoy–Mitchelstown motorway in north County Cork. Hidden Voices, by Penny Johnston and Jacinta Kiely, documents a major programme of archaeological investigations at 24 sites on the route of the motorway, which traverses broad plains of rich pastureland and the western foothills of the Kilworth Mountains. A diverse range of archaeological sites was discovered, representing the day-to-day life, work and beliefs of the communities who occupied this landscape over the last 10,000 years.
Readers will learn of Mesolithic nomads fishing the River Funshion and of Neolithic farmsteads excavated at Gortore, Caherdrinny and Ballinglanna North. Bronze Age houses were found at Ballynamona, Gortnahown and Kilshanny, and a rare Iron Age example at Caherdrinny. Life in prehistory was precarious. There were burials at Ballynacarriga of Early Bronze Age women and children, including a young woman and her unborn child. But there was also the comfort of religion. Timber circles uncovered at Ballynacarriga are evidence of ceremonial practices in Later Neolithic times. The accounts of the excavations of an early medieval cliff-edge fort at Ballynacarriga, and cob-built houses and a blacksmith’s dwelling at Gortnahown move the story into the historical era. The iron-working evidence indicates highly specialised bell manufacture and brazing. The early 12th-century manuscript known as Críchad an Chaoilli provides a backdrop to these medieval sites, with its evidence for territorial boundary evolution and land ownership in the old kingdom of Fir Maige (Fermoy). (Purchase online now.)
Colonising a Royal Landscape: the history and archaeology of a medieval village at Mullamast, County Kildare
The investigation of a lost medieval village on the M9 motorway in County Kildare has provided the material for a unique story in the Irish archaeological record. In Colonising a Royal Landscape: the history and archaeology of a medieval village at Mullamast, County Kildare readers will learn about the hobby, a small agile horse bred for raiding and scouting in time of war and the specialist light cavalry called hobelars, who rode them. There is evidence from the settlement at Mullamast for other aspects of medieval Irish life also. Cattle, sheep and pigs were reared and, variously, milked, sheared or slaughtered for their meat and hides. From the evidence for harvesting and processing cereal crops it is clear that arable farming was important too. But the distinguishing feature of this settlement is the unusually high proportion of horse remains in the animal bone assemblage recovered by the archaeological excavation of the site and, especially smaller horses corresponding in stature to the hobby. It seems that the medieval village of Mullamast is now the first attested stud farm in the long history of horse breeding in County Kildare and was a place where the villagers specialised in horses bred for war.
The excavation of the site at Mullamast was directed by Angus Stephenson and the village’s story is now told in Colonising a Royal Landscape, written by Teresa Bolger. Technical reports relating to the excavation of the medieval settlement and other sites in Mullamast townland can be found on a CD-ROM accompanying the publication. (Purchase online now.)
Stories of Ireland's Past: knowledge gained from NRA roads archaeology
Ireland has been transformed within living memory, but change and transformation have always been integral to our island story. Stories of Ireland’s Past, edited by Michael Stanley, Rónán Swan and Professor Aidan O’Sullivan, celebrates two decades of the energy and endeavour of professional archaeologists in this country and their archaeological discoveries, made in advance of one of the most spectacular infrastructural transformations of any European country in recent times: the development of a modern roadway network. This scholarly synthesis of the archaeologically excavated evidence—the first of its kind—speaks to the legacy not only of our ancestors but also of the hundreds of field archaeologists who toiled across the Irish landscape to unearth, record and understand the traces of our shared past. The stories of Ireland’s past have had to be rewritten.
The eight papers in Stories of Ireland’s Past stem from a public seminar held in 2014 during which leading scholars evaluated the contribution of ‘roads archaeology’ to our understanding of Ireland’s prehistoric and historic past. Surveying some 10,000 years of new archaeological evidence for the human habitation of the island, the authors have delivered a truly significant publication: Stories of Ireland’s Past represents a state-of-the-art review of the newly discovered archaeology of one of the richest archaeological landscapes of Europe, if not the world. (Purchase online now.)
'This is truly a milestone in Irish archaeology: a step-change in our understanding of Ireland’s past, written by foremost scholars and attesting to the massive contribution made by roads archaeology. It should be on the shelf of anyone interested in Ireland’s rich and fascinating past.'
Dr Alison Sheridan, Principal Curator, Early Prehistory, National Museums Scotland
Meitheal: the archaeology of lives, labours and beliefs at Raystown, Co. Meath
Meitheal, by Matthew Seaver, relates the story of Raystown in County Meath; a site that was lost for 1,000 years, until it was rediscovered by geophysical survey as part of archaeological investigations along the M2 Finglas–Ashbourne road project. Excavations carried out over a year revealed that Raystown began as a cemetery in the fifth century AD and evolved over the next 200 years into a large farming settlement surrounding the cemetery. In the eighth century the site developed further into a milling centre and continued in use for another 400 years. Most of the known early medieval mill sites in Ireland featured a single mill or sometimes two. At Raystown there were eight mills. This is unprecedented in the Irish archaeological record.
The book also describes the large number of artefacts recovered, which included dress accessories, domestic equipment and the tools and by-products of craft working. Some finds testify to personal moments: a ringed pin from a cloak accidentally dropped into the swirling waters under a mill, or a glass bead carefully placed around the neck of a child being laid to rest. Other finds included imported luxury goods, indicating that Raystown was connected to a trade network with Anglo-Saxon England and the European mainland in the fifth to mid sixth centuries AD. (Purchase online now.)
Above and Below: the archaeology of roads and light rail
Supernatural power dressing in the Early Bronze Age. Ireland’s little-known connections to the Roman world. The underground remnants of Georgian Dublin. All this and more features in the 13 papers in Above and Below, edited by Michael Stanley, which represents the ‘proceedings’ of a nationwide programme of Heritage Week events organised by Transport Infrastructure Ireland in August 2015. The success of this diverse series of public lectures, field trips and living history displays is celebrated with the publication of Above and Below, which presents a selection of the lectures.
Investigations on national road and light rail projects have revealed much about Ireland’s archaeological legacy at a variety of scales. Above and Below invites readers to explore the subterranean confines of an early medieval souterrain in north Kerry, amble through the magnificent Conamara landscape in search of west Galway’s industrial past, or take a virtual bird’s-eye view of the archaeological landscapes of north Roscommon. (Purchase online now.)
'This book is well worth a read and is remarkable for its interesting content and excellent reproduction quality.'
Tom Condit, editor of Archaeology Ireland magazine.
The Science of a Lost Medieval Gaelic Graveyard: the Ballyhanna Research Project
The Science of a Lost Medieval Gaelic Graveyard, edited by Catriona J McKenzie, Eileen M Murphy and Colm J Donnelly, tells the story of the discovery in 2003 of a graveyard and church at Ballyhanna, in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, as part of the N15 Bundoran–Ballyshannon Bypass archaeological works. This led to the excavation of one of the largest collections of medieval burials ever undertaken on this island, representing 1,000 years of burial through the entire Irish medieval period. The discovery led to the establishment of a cross-border research collaboration—the Ballyhanna Research Project—between Queen’s University Belfast and the Institute of Technology, Sligo, which has brought to life this lost Gaelic graveyard. The Science of a Lost Medieval Gaelic Graveyard is about a community; about their lifestyles, health and diet. It tells us of their deaths and of their burial traditions, and through examining all of these aspects, it reveals the ebb and flow of their lives. The book is accompanied by a CD-ROM which includes supplementary information from the research project and the original excavation and survey reports for all of the archaeological sites encountered on this road scheme. (Purchase online now.)
'I highly recommend this book . . . as an excellent example of a socially and historically grounded study of the lives, and deaths, of the people of a past community. Its accessible nature means that this book will also be of interest to a broad general audience.'
Siân E Halcrow, Department of Anatomy, University of Otago, New Zealand.
Illustrating the Past
Illustrating the Past by Sheelagh Hughes is a lavishly illustrated, hardback book with more than 50 high-quality archaeological reconstructions. Since 2001, over 2,000 archaeological excavations have been undertaken on national road schemes in Ireland. This work has radically transformed our understanding of the past, with an abundance of information about the individual archaeological sites available from excavation reports and numerous archaeological books and magazine articles published by the NRA between 2003 and 2015. Throughout these many publications, archaeological reconstructions have frequently been used to bring the past to life, providing an opportunity for artists and archaeologists to explore the past and to test their hypotheses. Illustrating the Past brings together a selection of these reconstructions, covering every period from the Mesolithic, when Ireland was first settled, to the early modern period and encompassing almost every county in Ireland. These reconstructions capture all aspects of past life from personal moments to broad sweeping landscapes, with the work of more than 15 artists being showcased. (Purchase online now.)
' . . . [an] excellent and thought-provoking volume . . .'
Robert Witcher, Department of Archaeology, Durham University