Heritage Week 2021

The first installment of our Environmental Archaeology in Ireland seminar series has now been added to the Heritage Week 2021 events page! If you would like to join us to hear about the latest research in palaeoentomology, palynology, and archaeobotany, you can do so by registering via the following link. This first seminar will feature short presentations on recent research findings from Dr Steve Davis, Assistant Professor at UCD School of Archaeology (insects), Dr Daisy Spencer, Environmental Archaeologist at IAC Ltd (pollen) and Dr David Stone, who recently completed his PhD at UCD School of Archaeology (plant macro-remains).

The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion, chaired by Dr Ellen O Carroll, Research Fellow at UCD School of Archaeology.

This event will take place online and is free to all participants.

Dr David Stone Presentation

The Deutsches Archäologisches Institut will host an online lecture to present the results of the archaeonotanical work carried out during the Archaeological Exploration of Barda Project 2015–2019. The lecture entitled ‘An archaeobotanical investigation of agriculture and diet in Late Antique and Islamic Barda (3rd–16th Centuries C.E.)‘ will be delivered by EAI member Dr David Stone, and will discuss how changing climatic and social drivers led to agricultural adaptions between the earlier (11th­–12th century) and later (13th–16th century) Islamic periods as seen through the analysis of excavated environmental remains.

You can read more about this lecture via the DAI event’s page and you can register to attend via the following link!

Heritage Week 2016 Event!

Reconstructed corn-drying kiln, Irish National Heritage Park, Ferrycarrig, Wexford,

Feeding the Ancestors: the importance of corn-drying kilns in preserving the medieval harvest.
How did our ancestors preserve and prepare crops for storage? Archaeologists Susan Lyons and Orla-Peach Power demonstrate Ireland’s only functioning corn-drying kiln using authentic fuels and cereals.

Time: 14.30 to 16.00
Organised in association with the Irish National Heritage Park.
Booking is advised. Please contact info@inhp.com, 053 9120733 or Bernice.Kelly@tii.ie


Major Archaeobotany Conference

A major archaeobotany conference will take place soon in Paris. The 17th meeting of the International Workgroup for Palaeoethnobotany starts on 4th July, and it will see hundreds of archaeobotanists coming together for one week to discuss the latest research in the discipline. The event will be hosted by the National Museum for Natural History — a really lovely venue. Some of our members in EAI will be in attendance, promoting Irish research in front of a large international audience.

Investigating Past Environments Through Experimental Archaeology

Viking house under construction at UCD (Image: Prof. Aidan O’Sullivan)

In environmental archaeology, lots of our work is indoors in laboratories or libraries, but we do sometimes get outside! It is a lovely, sunny day in Ireland today, and many of us are hankering to work outdoors. One lucky group of colleagues is doing just that at the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture at University College Dublin.

This week, they are busy building a Viking-style house, using traditional tools, techniques and materials. EAI member, Dr Eileen Reilly, is one of the project leaders. Her expertise in environmental archaeology, particularly insects, will help the team understand the living conditions in Viking houses and materials used in construction of the houses. Later this summer, we hope Dr Reilly will write for this blog about her work on the project.

In the meantime, you can visit the Centre and see the house at the UCD Alumni Festival on Saturday 18th June 2016, where UCD archaeologists will be leading tours.

If you can’t get to Dublin, you can find regular updates on the project at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/UCDExperimentalArchaeology/.

‘Food and Drink in Ireland’: New Publication By The Royal Irish Academy

The editors of the Royal Irish Academy Journal: Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Section C Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics and Literature have commissioned the publication of their special edition of ‘Food and Drink in Ireland’, which will be out the end of April 2016.

The publication is edited by Elizabeth Fitzpatrick and James Kelly.
Paperback. ISBN: 978-1-908996-84-8

This multi-disciplinary collection of fourteen essays explores the collection, cultivation, consumption and culture of food and drink in Ireland from the beginnings of settlement in the Mesolithic to the present day. One of these essays ‘Food plants, fruits and foreign foodstuffs: The archaeological evidence from urban medieval Ireland’ by Susan Lyons, discusses the archaeobotanical evidence of foodstuffs in medieval Ireland, with particular reference to urban centres dating from the 9th to the 14th centuries AD.

More information on the book and how to order a copy can be found on the Royal Irish Academy website: https://www.ria.ie/publications/books/history/food-and-drink-Ireland

The book will be presented at the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Litfest of Food and Wine May 20-22 2016, in the Ballymaloe Cookery School, Shanagarry, Co. Cork.
Further information on the event can be found on: http://www.litfest.ie/

Some contributors to the book, including Susan, will form part of a panel discussion on Food and Drink in Ireland, chaired by Ruth Hegarty (publisher with the Royal Irish Academy), which will be held in The Carrigaun Room at the Grainstore, Ballymaloe, Sunday 22 May 11am to 12pm.
More details on this particular event can be found on: http://www.litfest.ie/events/food-and-drink-Ireland.

Environmental Archaeology in Ireland: What Next?

The EAI conference is over, and we have spent the last few weeks drawing up a list of the big ideas and issues that emerged from our discussions. In the next few weeks, members of the EAI group will meet in Cork to agree on a way forward. What are our priorities for 2016? And what for the longer term?

Watch this space, because we will keep you updated on our plans and activities. In the meantime, have a look at our Storify of the conference, created by Orla-Peach Power.

EAI Conference: A Big Thank You To All Participants

Thanks to everyone who attended our conference last week — you really helped to make it a great success. Particular thanks go to our speakers on the day, Ellen O’Carroll, Isabella Mulhall, Gill Plunkett, Orla-Peach Power, Eileen Reilly and Lorna O’Donnell, and to all their collaborators. Meriel McClatchie introduced the conference, and Mick Monk responded to the presentations by highlighting and discussing many of the interesting points raised. 

Special mention and thanks also to the main chairs (Ben Geary and Michael Ryan) for their work during the day, our invited guests (Gill Campbell and Chris Caseldine) and the facilitators of the discussion sections in the afternoon (James Eogan, Ben Geary, Steve Davis, Fiona Beglane and Penny Johnston). We would also like to thank the National Monuments Service and the National Botanic Gardens for their support, and the Association for Environmental Archaeology for sponsoring the student poster prize. A full report on the conference will be published later this year in the newsletter of the Association for Environmental Archaeology.