Showing posts from August, 2017

Five copper axes ...

A hoard of five copper axes from Lough Ravel, County Antrim. Now in the Ulster Museum. I just liked the composition of the display and the prominence of the museum accession numbers ... to me they speak of the importance of collection, curation, and study - all the things a good museum facilitates and fosters. The Ulster Museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays & is free! Go explore!

Archaeology in Social Media | Chronicles 18

It has been a while, but here’s my take on what’s the best and most interesting in (mostly) Irish archaeological and historical material on … have a read, find and follow the authors most relevant to your research interests … when you’re done, come have a look at some of my stuff [ here ]. Merryn Dineley: Who were the first maltsters? The archaeological evidence for floor malting Merryn Dineley: Neolithic Ale: Barley as a source of sugars for fermentation Richard Warner: Beehive querns and Irish 'La Tene' artefacts: a statistical test of their cultural relatedness Eamonn Kelly: The longphort in Viking-Age Ireland: the archaeological evidence Elizabeth Twohig: Containing the dead in Irish Passage tombs Mary Cahill: 'Here comes the sun....' solar symbolism in Early Bronze Age Ireland Mary Cahill: A stone to die for [Hacketstown, Co. Waterford] Mary Cahill et al.: James Carruthers, a Belfast Antiquarian Collector Alan Hayd

Audleystown neolithic bowl

Audleystown megalithic tomb lies on the south shore of Strangford Lough, near the back entrance to Castle Ward . It is a ‘dual court tomb’ in that it is essentially two court tombs, placed back to back. It was excavated by A.E.P. (Pat) Collins in 1952 and the disarticulated remains of at least 34 individuals were recovered. The burials were of both males and females of various ages, indicating that formal burial here was not restricted by sex or age.  I know I do bang on about this, but when we see reconstruction drawings of Neolithic life we almost exclusively see images of males - the fact that women and children were afforded high status burial should alert us to the understanding that they would have occupied similarly high social positions in life too. Of the 15 pottery vessels recovered from the site, most were plain Western Neolithic carinated (shouldered) and uncarinated (unchouldered) bowls . The pot in today’s image is one of these plain, uncarinated bowls. It caug

The Malone Hoard - Neolithic Axe Heads in Belfast and Car Crime in Carolina

The Malone Hoard is a collection of 19 polished axe heads. They were found on the grounds of Danesfort House on the Malone Road, Belfast. The present house was built for Samuel Barbour to the designs of William J Barre in 1864 and takes its name from an earlier rath or earthwork on the site. Although nothing survives of the archaeological site today, it is likely that it post-dated the deposition of the axe heads and was not directly connected to them. It was during the digging of the foundations that the axe heads, along with a number of urns, were found. When discovered, some of the axe heads were reported to have been found placed vertically in the earth. Once the house was completed, they were displayed in cabinets in the library. When Samuel died in 1879 his widow married Charles Duffin and the house remained in the family until the 1940s. After passing through a number of corporate owners, the house was refurbished in the late 1980s and is the current home of the United States

Irish Elk at the Ulster Museum

The entrance to the archaeological section ( i.e. the best bit) of the Ulster Museum is guarded by two Irish elk ( Megaloceros giganteus ). One is a skeleton of that iconic beast and the other is a reconstruction of what the animal most probably looked like in life. I love both of these … not just because they mark where my main interests in the museum begins … but because together they literally put flesh on the bones of an extinct animal. And, whether animal or human, isn’t that exactly what a museum should do? Go check out their web page for opening times and all related information [ here ] … it’s well worth the time and the trip! As you stop and admire the conserved skeleton and the reconstructed one (seemingly caught mid yawp) reflect on these magnificent animals that once roamed across Ireland and as far east as Siberia and China. Reflect too on the fact that my instinct led me to imagine them as producing a ‘yawp’ when, if they were anything like their m