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H 290 x W 205 mm

110 pages

Illustrated throughout in colour and black & white

Published Nov 2016

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781784914547

Digital: 9781784914554

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Bronze Age; Ritual; Cave; Ireland; Post-Medieval; Excavation; Osteoarchaeology

Archaeological excavations in Moneen Cave, the Burren, Co. Clare

Insights into Bronze Age and post-medieval life in the west of Ireland

By Marion Dowd

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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.



Part I The site, background and archaeological excavation ; 1. Introduction ; 2. Geology and geomorphology - David Drew; 3. History of investigation; 4. Cave morphology; 5. Excavation and post-excavation methodology; 6. Stratigraphic report; Part II Excavation results and specialist analyses; 7. Radiocarbon dates; 8. Mammalian faunal remains - Fiona Beglane; 9. Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) analysis of four butchered animal bones - Keri Rowsell and Matthew Collins; 10. Bird and fish bones - Sheila Hamilton-Dyer; 11. Late Bronze Age oyster (Ostrea edulis) shells - Rory Connolly; 12. Charcoal; 13. Early Bronze Age antler hammerhead/macehead - Ruth F. Carden; 14. Middle/Late Bronze Age pottery - Elaine Lynch and Helen Roche; 15. Post-medieval human skeletal remains - Catriona McKenzie; 16. DNA analysis of the human skeletal remains - Mike Taylor; 17. Metagenomic analysis and mitochondrial genome reconstruction of the post-medieval individual from Moneen Cave - Åshild J. Vågene, Johannes Krause and Kirsten I. Bos; 18. Isotopic analysis of the human skeletal remains - Thomas Kador; 19. Analysis of Growth Recovery Lines (Harris lines) in the human skeletal remains - Fran O’Keeffe; 20. Historical context of the adolescent boy from Moneen Cave - Ciarán Ó Murchadha iHis; 21. Hints of an Early Mesolithic and/or Neolithic presence; Part III Discussion and interpretation: Moneen Cave in context; 22. An Early Bronze Age horizon: an antler hammerhead/macehead and a pig pelvis; 23. Middle and Late Bronze Age deposits; 24. Moneen Cave within the wider Bronze Age landscape of the Burren; 25. A post-medieval boy; 26. Public archaeology and Moneen Cave; 27. Future work; 28. References; Appendix 1 Context register; Appendix 2 Finds register; Appendix 3 Mammalian faunal remains by context - Fiona Beglane; Appendix 4 List of human bones - Catriona McKenzie

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.