Balla Secondary School, Balla, Co. Mayo, Ireland is the first secondary school in Europe to be invited to become an ArcLand Associated Partner.
Balla Secondary School.
HISTORY OF THE SCHOOL
The school was founded by the Sisters of St. Louis in 1920 in the old 18th century house called Athavalley House. This house had been the home of the Lynch Blosse family who had been the landlords there. The school catered for girls only and was a boarding school-cum-day school until the St. Louis Sisters left in 1978. In a unique local initiative the school was purchased from the St Louis Sisters and has been run as a co-educational secondary school under the control of the local community ever since. The old house still stands but is no longer used for educational purposes. The old house was used as a military hospital during World War 1.
The school stands on about 8ha of land and has a population of 280 (approx.) students with boys and girls in about equal numbers.
REMOTE SENSING AT BALLA SCHOOL
This invitation to the school followed the successful completion of a unique collaboration in the Balla Archaeological Remote Sensing (BARS_1) project carried out by the 2012/13 Transition Year students at Balla Secondary School, Balla No Name Club and Landscape & Geophysical Services.
The School is the beneficiary of a donation of Kite Aerial Photography equipment from ArcLand Associated Partner West Lothian Archaeological Trust
The BARS_1 Project was presented at the ArcLand k2u2 Conference in Dublin in May 2013.
Students from Balla Secondary School on Field Studies as part of the BARS_1Project.
A short report on the BARS_1 Project can be found on the ArcLand website.
Following the success of BARS_1, it was decided to extend the project into the 2013/2014 academic year and hence BARS_2 was born. This will use Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) and geophysics to investigate features in an 11ha Early Christian monastic enclosure. The project will involve the 2013/14 Transition Year class. This site is located at Mayo Abbey in the catchment area of Balla Secondary School and about 5km to the south of the school. Part of this site had previously been researched some years ago for an MSc in Applied Geophysics.
The Mayo Abbey Monastic Enclosure (after Madden, 1999)
Archaeology Above and Below
Working with a number of partners, the forthcoming ArcLand Event comprising seminars, workshops and presentations will take place in Balla Secondary School and Rathcroghan Visitor Centre, Tulsk, Co Roscommon on 4th & 5th April 2014 respectively. The EventÂ has been designed to create a friendly open environment in which schools, youth groups and local communities can participate and interact with professionals in various aspects of archaeology and remote sensing.
Through a series of activities and presentations it is anticipated that students and communities through participation will learn about the various remote sensing techniques used and projects that have taken place. It is hoped that these ArcLand events will encourage similar projects in Ireland and across the ArcLand community base into the future.
Madden, J. 1999. Geophysical Signatures of various archaeological sites / monuments at Mayo Abbey, Co. Mayo. Unpublished MSc thesis, National University of Ireland, Galway.