Combining information derived from legacy data from over 40 years research with recently aquired digital data into a single landscape scale GIS the Neolithic and Bronze Age Landscapes of North Mayo project aims to bring to final publication critically important aspects of the Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeology of North County Mayo. The project includes Professor Seamas Caulfield's surveys and excavations at "Céide Fields', where a Neolithic field-system is preserved beneath blanket bog. This project was supported by the Heritage Council under the Irish National Strategic Archaeological Research (INSTAR) Programme 2009 -2011.
The buried landscapes of the Céide Fields are iconic for Irish archaeology, of international significance and were included on the Irish tentative list of World Heritage Sites:
“The significance of the Céide Fields lies in the fact that along with their associated megalithic monuments and dwelling structures they provide a unique farmed landscape from Neolithic times. Not only are they 'an outstanding example' but they are the outstanding example of human settlement, land” use and interaction with environment in Neolithic times. The first adoption of farming occurred at different times throughout the world. Nowhere else is there such extensive physical remains of a Neolithic farmed landscape surviving from this significant period in prehistory.
(http://whc.unesco.org/en/tentativelists/5524/: original emphasis)
View across the North Mayo Coast from "Céide Fields' looking west
with Behy Neolithic Court Tomb in the foreground
(photo: Rob Sands)
The field-system is very extensive and the NBNM project involves a substantial geospatial component. Part of this involves rectifying and digitising older survey and excavation drawings, to create an overarching GIS framework for the pre-bog archaeology of the region. This is developing into an important research and management tool for the archaeology of the North Mayo coast.
The prehistoric field systems of North Mayo showing
the wide area covered by the currently known field walls (shown in red)
For further information about this project see: