Insights into Bronze Age and post-medieval life in the west of Ireland by Marion Dowd. x+98 pages; illustrated throughout with 39 colour plates. 276 2016. Available both in printed and e-versions. Printed ISBN 9781784914547. Epublication ISBN 9781784914554. |
In 2011, cavers exploring a little-known cave on Moneen Mountain in County Clare in the west of Ireland discovered part of a human skull, pottery and an antler implement. An archaeological excavation followed, leading to the discovery of large quantities of Bronze Age pottery, butchered animal bones and oyster shells. The material suggests that Moneen Cave was visited intermittently as a sacred place in the Bronze Age landscape. People climbed the mountain, squeezed through the small opening in the cave roof, dropped down into the chamber, and left offerings on a large boulder that dominates the internal space. The excavation also resulted in the recovery of the skeletal remains of an adolescent boy who appears to have died in the cave in the 16th or 17th century. Scientific analyses revealed he had endured periods of malnutrition and ill health, providing insight into the hardships faced by many children in post-medieval Ireland.
About the author:
Dr. Marion Dowd is a Lecturer in Prehistoric Archaeology at the Institute of Technology Sligo, Ireland. For two decades her research has focussed on the human use of caves in Ireland, and specifically the role of caves in prehistoric ritual and religion. She has directed numerous archaeological excavations in Irish caves, and has lectured and published widely on the subject. Her first book, The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland (Oxbow Books, 2015), won the Tratman Award 2015 and the Current Archaeology Book of the Year 2016. This current book is the result of excavations she directed in Moneen Cave, with a team composed of both archaeologists and cavers.
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