Showing posts from 2016

Thanks for reading! | The Top 10 posts of 2016

As the year winds to a close, I’ve been looking over what I’ve put out on this blog and how it has been received. I’ve never claimed that I’ve written for anyone other than myself, but to know that there’s an audience for what I produce is wonderful and incredibly humbling. To everyone who has read, shared, enjoyed, or supported me in this endeavour in some way over the last 12 months, I offer you my most sincere thanks! It has been brilliant! … You’ve been brilliant! We’ve been brilliant together! Only one post not written by me made it into the Top Ten & I'm very grateful to  Sergey Telizhenko for sharing the results of his project on damage to archaeological sites in the Ukraine . Once again, topics relating to Drumclay crannog dominate … and by ‘dominate’ I mean ‘occupy six of the 10 places’. I never wanted this to become the ‘Drumclay Blog’, but it seems like it will be a recurring theme for some time yet to come! … While we can only wait to see what happens in 2017,

This majestical roof fretted with golden fire – seeing the light at Newgrange

If you’ve been paying attention to Irish archaeology over the last week or so, you can’t but be aware of the controversy stoked up by Michael and Myles Gibbons in a recent paper regarding the age and authenticity of the Newgrange ‘roof box’. I haven’t the least intent of weighing in on this topic, and I direct the interested reader to Ken William’s excellent post ‘ Raising the Roof: Comments on the recent Newgrange ‘roof-box’ controversy ’ on his ShadowsandStone blog. He neatly sums up the arguments, the available rebuttals and adds his own detailed analysis. Although it hasn’t stopped me in the past, I’m not about to comment on a situation where I’ve no in depth knowledge or expertise. Instead, I would like to point out that the original Gibbons & Gibbons paper is published in the 2016 issue of Emania , the Bulletin of the Navan Research Group . The publisher is, of course, Berlin’s wonderful curach bhán. I recommend that, to get the fullest picture, you should read the ori

Drumclay Crannog: a site in a post-truth landscape?

According to many commentators, we now live in an era of ‘post-truth’ or ‘post-factual’ politics. We have seen it in action in the US with the election of Donald Trump and in the UK with the pro-Brexit campaign. I had presumed that it was largely confined to that political realm and had not entered other aspects of our lives. My naivety on this matter was rudely shattered recently when I saw a piece from The Fermanagh Herald reporting that the consortium behind the A32 Cherrymount Link Project had received an award for their handling of the excavation of Drumclay crannog. I’m not particularly familiar with The Fermanagh Herald , but I still had to check to ensure that it wasn’t affiliated in some way with such reliable news outlets as The Onion or Waterford Whispers News . But, alas, no. The Fermanagh Herald is, as I suspected, a real newspaper that was reporting on a real event. On Monday 28 November last the CEEQUAL Outstanding Achievement Awards 2016 were held at the Inst

Bog Bodies in Bellaghy!

Ancient ‘Bog Bodies’ Revealed In Talk Evidence of ancient burial rites and the sacrifice of kings are to be revealed at Seamus Heaney HomePlace in a talk about the prehistoric bodies perfectly preserved in the bog lands across Europe The unforgettable images of bog bodies haunted Seamus Heaney’s work and in the first talk of the centre’s new 2017 season, Eamonn Kelly, a leading world expert on bog bodies and former Head of Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, will be exploring these fascinating figures and asking what they have to teach us about our past. ‘Bog Bodies’ takes place on Saturday 14 January at 3pm. Tickets priced £5 are available from Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Tel: 028 7938 7444 or online at

Green Shoots or a Death Rattle? Commercial Archaeology in Northern Ireland in 2015

Introduction It’s that time of year again … the evenings are dark and cold … we’ve put up the tree and are listening to carols … you’re writing Christmas cards … and Chapple is poring over financial statements for several archaeological consultancies … it’s tradition! Since 2014 I’ve tried to keep tabs on how the commercial archaeological sector in Northern Ireland is faring financially [ here | here | here ]. Initially, the data went from 2007/2008 to 2013 and was presented as a series of static tables and graphs created in MS Excel. As I have added in the latest data when it became available, I have also endeavoured to push back the start date, to provide the most complete portrait possible. Now the data goes back to 1998 for one company and their earliest sets of accounts for each of the other three consultancies operating in Northern Ireland. I have also moved away from the static graphs to a dynamic, interactive visualisation of the data, created in Tableau Public [ here

Robert M Chapple's Christmas List for the discerning archaeologist ...

Although I don’t celebrate Christmas*, I’m not unaware that it’s on its way … with that in mind, I recently put out the call on social media to my archaeologist and related friends (“Heritage+” if you will) asking what they’d like or are currently promoting. So, here, in no particular order, are the best of the suggestions from the ArchaeoHiveMind, coupled with a smattering of my own selections … Let’s be honest – archaeologists love books … we read books, we write books, we buy books … so let’s have some books! Where better to start than with Marion Dowd’s award winning The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland [ Amazon | Oxbow ]? It won the Current Archaeology’s prestigious ‘Archaeology Book of the Year’ in 2016. If you don’t already have it … why not? … now’s the time to add it to your collection! While you’re at it, look for Marion’s new book Archaeological Excavations in Moneen Cave, the Burren, Co. Clare: Insights into Bronze Age and Post-Medieval Life in the West of Ire