by Rose Cleary
Lough Gur is one of the richest landscapes of field monuments in Ireland and the lake and hinterland have been the focus of archaeological research including excavation and survey over the past 150 years. Many portable antiquities have been recovered from the lake and the surrounding countryside. The information gleaned from the results of excavations, surveys and from the finds is gathered together here to present a synthesis of the archaeology of Lough Gur. The archaeology of Lough Gur is set within the context of archaeological research in Ireland over the past 70 years and where possible a chronology and interpretation of sites is presented.
Excavations began in Lough Gur almost 150 years ago and the great campaigns of investigation by Seán P. Ó Ríordáin from 1936–1954 opened up a previously unknown world of past inhabitants. These excavations explored places and landscapes inhabited by our ancestors. While the techniques of field excavation have improved and radiocarbon dating is now standard, the pioneering work contributed greatly to the understanding of both prehistoric and historic populations that inhabited the Lough Gur area and of the inhabitants of Ireland as a whole.
Allied to excavations was a tremendous amount of survey beginning with Windle in 1912, followed by O’Kelly in the early 1940s and latterly using modern survey methods including aerial photography, geophysical survey and LIDAR. The research at Lough Gur has also been augmented by various antiquarian accounts which documented sites that are no longer visible on the landscape. Rose Cleary is a Senior Archaeologist in the Department of Archaeology, University College Cork.
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Date of Publication: 28/02/2019