Thursday, May 26, 2022

Archaeology 360: The Hill of Tara, Co. Meath

 


I’ve taken my 360-degree 3D Vuze camera to some sites that are interesting and important to me, but they’re hardly well known. That changes now! A while back I had the opportunity to go to Tara, Co. Meath and play around up there. Unfortunately, the camera wasn’t as excited to be on this important site as I was, and insisted on repeatedly cutting out after only a sort amount of time filming. For all that, I think they resulting short clips are worth presenting to give a feeling for the place. If you don’t already know, the Hill of Tara is an ancient ceremonial and burial site and I will not attempt to paraphrase the entire Wiki page here, but go have a read for yourself [here].

I’ve compiled the tour into a consecutive YouTube playlist [here], or you can access each video clip individually here:

Standing Stones in Churchyard Pt. I [0:15]

Standing Stones in Churchyard Pt. II [0:30]

Ráth Chaelchon (Sloping Trenches) [0:13]

Banqueting Hall [0:13]

Ráth na Seanadh (the 'Rath of the Synods') [0:23]

Passage tomb: Dumha na nGiall (the 'Mound of the Hostages') [0:47]

Double-ditched enclosure: Forradh/Royal Seat [0:49]

Double-ditched enclosure: Teach Chormaic ('Cormac's House') [0:44]

Standing stone: Lia Fáil ('Stone of Destiny') Pt. I [0:18]

Standing stone: Lia Fáil ('Stone of Destiny') Pt. II [0:18]

Standing stone: Lia Fáil ('Stone of Destiny') Pt. III [0:13]

 

As I say, the video isn't as good as I'd like, but that just gives me another reason to come back again!

You can view this 360-degree video on an ordinary browser or on the dedicated YouTube app for your smartphone. However, for best results we recommend the more immersive experience that comes with an Oculus/Google Cardboard headset. Please feel free to Like and Share the video and Subscribe to the Archaeology 360 channel. If you’re feeling peculiarly generous and wish to help purchase snacks to sustain the Chapples Minor in the field, please drop something in the Tip Jar on the top right of this page.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Archaeology 360: Killora Church & Graveyard, Co. Galway



There’s something of an inevitability about it … if I start talking about Killogilleen [here], you can be sure that I’ll soon get around to blathering on about Killora. So, as I was pottering about east Galway with my 3D 360 Vuze camera, it was no surprise that I’d follow up my visit to Killogilleen with one to Killora. What I say about one I repeat about the other … there’s noting ostensibly special about these sites – to a greater or lesser degree they’re pretty much typical of rural west of Ireland church sites. Both Killora & Killogilleen have standing church ruins dating from around the late 15th century, with tantalizing hints of earlier activity, possibly going back to the 13th century. What sets them apart from others is that fact that they’ve been the focus of (sporadic) research for nearly 30 years. I’m reminded of an episode of the TV show QI that asked the question ‘Where Is the Best Place to Discover A New Species?’ [here]. In amongst answers both comedic and plain wrong, mention is made of the 18th century naturalist Gilbert White who is paraphrased as saying that ‘nature is so full and so varied that if you want to find the place with the most variety it’s the place you most study’. What White may have said of the natural world applies just as well to heritage – the most interesting & special places are the ones that are most studied, no matter how ‘ordinary’ they seem. As part of that ongoing work, I want to make these sites accessible and visitable to the widest audience, so I give you this immersive 360-degree, 3D tour of this so-much-more-than ordinary site.

You can view this 360-degree video on an ordinary browser or on the dedicated YouTube app for your smartphone. However, for best results we recommend the more immersive experience that comes with an Oculus/Google Cardboard headset. Please feel free to Like and Share the video and Subscribe to the Archaeology 360 channel. If you’re feeling peculiarly generous and wish to help purchase snacks to sustain the Chapples Minor in the field, please drop something in the Tip Jar on the top right of this page.

Some of the bits & pieces I’ve produced over the years that include Killora:

Book:

The church of prayers: gravestone inscriptions from the church of Killora, Craughwell, Co. Galway

Paper:

A Statistical Analysis and Preliminary Classification of Gravestones from Craughwell, Co. Galway

Lecture:

An archaeologist among the gravestones: reading two Irish graveyards

Video:

Killora Graveyard, Craughwell, Co. Galway

Blog posts:

Killora & Killogilleen graveyards in Craughwell, Co. Galway

Workingman’s Dead: Notes on some 17th to 19th century memorials, from the graveyards of Killora and Killogilleen, Craughwell, Co. Galway, Ireland. Part I

Workingman’s Dead: Notes on some 17th to 19th century memorials, from the graveyards of Killora and Killogilleen, Craughwell, Co. Galway, Ireland. Part II

Friday, May 13, 2022

Archaeology 360: Killogilleen Church & Graveyard, Co. Galway


There’s probably nothing to really recommend a visit to Killogilleen church and graveyard, near Craughwell, Co. Galway. It’s rather typical of traditional burial sites in rural west of Ireland … there’s a ruined 15th century church, there’s dated memorials going back to the 1600s, and continuing as late as the 1980s. You seen one you seen ‘em all! Right? … not this time!

Back in 1996 I was employed on a FÁS Scheme to oversee the cutting back of the ivy and a general cleanup of the site. I was also tasked with compiling a book of the gravestone inscriptions on the site [available here]. One day in July I got called over to see ‘something interesting’ that had just been found … I’d have a few of these calls and for a variety of reasons. Some were cool architectural fragments that were reused as grave markers, some were just rocks (used as grave markers) … in a graveyard? Who'd believe it? I think it’s fair to say that I wasn’t filled with tingling anticipation at this latest discovery. I really should have been! What had been found under the matted grass was a previously unrecorded carved representation of a human face. I’ll let you read all about it in the Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society [here]. I don’t’ have a definite answer to who might be represented, but I definitely gave it my best shot to cover all bases … a member of the O’Killeen clergy, a bishop of Kilmacduagh, Christ, the Virgin Mary, Iron Age idols, or even Odin (because Why Not, right?) … added to this I threw in the idea that the facial lines might not just indicate advanced age, but could represent facial tattooing (and I wondered why the doors to academia weren’t thrown open to me?). One way or another, I got all this past the Editor (including a sneaky thanks in the acknowledgments to in Rory Gallagher, from whom the title of the paper was stolen).


Still of Digital Heritage Age model. Used with permission 

Despite harboring the hope that – one day – someone would excavated the block of stone to see if there are further decorative elements in the portion below the ground that would give clues to the age, function, or who is represented, I don’t give it an inordinate amount of thought. Thus, I was completely unprepared when I got tagged on Twitter by Digital Heritage Age [Twitter | Website | Sketchfab]. These good folks had been out to Killogillen and scanned ‘my’ enigmatic head. The resulting image is simply fantastic. The carving was pretty clear when it was discovered in 1996, but has quickly been colonized by lichen and is rather hard to see the detail that was once visible. I’ve long regretted this natural process & have occasionally though that it should have been either reburied or excavated to move it to a more controlled environment. But there on my phone was the Digital Heritage Age image … absolutely startling in its crispness and clarity. All the detail I could see back in the 90s was there & even some of the stuff that wasn’t easily seen or understood now shines out. Since then the file has been uploaded to Sketchfab [here] & you can rotate it, see it from any side you like, and examine it to your heart's content. I'm simply astounded by it & have tried putting my viewpoint inside the head to look at the face from the inside to imaging the scenes this carving must have witnessed over the years. I’m given to understand that you can download the file & create a 3D print your own Tatto’d Lady. I've always said that I didn't have much use for a 3D printer, but I feel that my mind is being changed!

All of this reminded me that last summer I took my new camera out to Killogilleen. The previous camera had two lenses and the resulting video could be stitched together to form an immersive 360-degree experience. The new camera has eight lenses and produces video that’s not only 360-degree, but also 3D (at least when you’re viewing it on an Oculus or Google Cardboard headset). Because I can’t easily edit the resulting clips into a single file, I’ve uploaded it as a YouTube playlist & you can find it here [here]. So, to give context to this gorgeous Digital Heritage Age scan, please take a few minutes to let me take you on a wander through the site. Hear the birdsong, the occasional bark of a dog, and a car passing in the distance as you look out on the ivy-covered remains of the church and the gravestones in this quiet corner of County Galway.

 

 

You can view this 360-degree video on an ordinary browser or on the dedicated YouTube app for your smartphone. However, for best results we recommend the more immersive experience that comes with an Oculus/Google Cardboard headset. Please feel free to Like and Share the video and Subscribe to the Archaeology 360 channel. If you’re feeling peculiarly generous and wish to help purchase snacks to sustain the Chapples Minor in the field, please drop something in the Tip Jar on the top right of this page.

For anyone interested, I’ve there’s some of the other bits & pieces I’ve produced about Killogilleen over the years:

Book:

Cillogcillín: gravestone inscriptions from the church of Killogilleen, Craughwell, Co. Galway

Papers:

Tattooed Lady?: a carved stone head from the graveyard of Killogilleen, Co. Galway

A Statistical Analysis and Preliminary Classification of Gravestones from Craughwell, Co. Galway

Lecture:

An archaeologist among the gravestones: reading two Irish graveyards

Video:

Killogilleen Graveyard, Craughwell, Co. Galway

Blog posts:

Killora & Killogilleen graveyards in Craughwell, Co. Galway

Workingman’s Dead: Notes on some 17th to 19th century memorials, from the graveyards of Killora and Killogilleen, Craughwell, Co. Galway, Ireland. Part I

Workingman’s Dead: Notes on some 17th to 19th century memorials, from the graveyards of Killora and Killogilleen, Craughwell, Co. Galway, Ireland. Part II


Friday, April 15, 2022

Archaeology 360: Tullyhogue Fort, Co. Tyrone

I don't really keep a list of archaeological sites that I'd love to see fully excavated, but if I did Tullyhogue Fort, Co. Tyrone would be up there! Today, it's a series of grassy banks with a wonderfully waterlogged ditch. It would be a pain to excavate safely, but the potential for well preserved organic artefacts and environmental evidence could be huge! The site probably started off in the prehistoric period (it's a hill in Tyrone - I defy you to not find evidence of prehistoric activity!), and by the Early Medieval a ringfort/rath had been built there. It was, evidently, an important place in the landscape as each new O'Neill was obliged to schlep over to Tullyhogue from Dungannon to be formally inaugurated by an O'Cahan wielding a shoe. The origins and significance of the 'shoe ritual' are obscure, but appear to derive from the 1979 epic movie Monty Python's Life of Brian. OK ... I'm joking, but have you read the nonsense some prehistorians get away with?



You can read all about Life of Brian here [
link] and the Tullyhogue Wiki page is worth a look too [link].

Once you've done that, come take a relaxing, immersive wander through the site from the comfort of your armchair ...

You can view this 360-degree video on an ordinary browser or on the dedicated YouTube app for your smartphone. However, for best results we recommend the more immersive experience that comes with an Oculus/Google Cardboard headset. Please feel free to Like and Share the video and Subscribe to the Archaeology 360 channel. If you’re feeling peculiarly generous and wish to help purchase snacks to sustain the Chapples Minor in the field, please drop something in the Tip Jar on the top right of this page.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Archaeology 360: Portora Castle, Co. Fermanagh

I've been busy ... busy being happy.

Busy being happy and not writing ...

I've been making gin [here]

I've been making bowls [here]

I've even got some bees [here]

but most of all, I've been watching movies [here]

... so many movies!



However, it's time to start releasing some of the movies that I've made of archaeological sites around the countryside. With that in mind, here's a meditative wander through Portora Castle, Co. Fermanagh. Portora is a Plantation Period castle and was built around 1612. I've written a little about it before & published some 3D photos, as well as recounted my part in the excavation of the site back in 1997 [here].


For now, enjoy this soothing, immersive 360 degree video  tour around this peaceful castle on the shores of Lough Erne ...


You can view this 360-degree video on an ordinary browser or on the dedicated YouTube app for your smartphone. However, for best results we recommend the more immersive experience that comes with an Oculus/Google Cardboard headset. Please feel free to Like and Share the video and Subscribe to the Archaeology 360 channel. If you’re feeling peculiarly generous and wish to help purchase snacks to sustain the Chapples Minor in the field, please drop something in the Tip Jar on the top right of this page.