IRC awards funding to 3 projects in the Dept of Archaeology: NEW PASTURES (PI Dr Katharina Becker)

An IRC grant (COALESCE/2022/1717- Collaborative Alliances for Societal Challenges) has been awarded to Dr Katharina Becker, Department of Archaeology, under Strand 1 L – Instar National Monuments Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in partnership with the Heritage Council, supports Irish National Strategic Archaeological Research.

The project ‘New Pastures’ project will address central gaps in current understanding of the 1st millennia BC and AD by utilizing the abundant data generated by the infrastructural schemes of the recent past to create new knowledge about animal husbandry practices, settlement modes and lifeways of the Iron Age (IA).

The cutting edge, interdisciplinary research strategy combines zooarchaeological and isotopic analysis, Bayesian modelling and Ancient Genomics to the study of the remains of sheep, goat, cattle and horse found in Ireland. This will create a completely new understanding of animal husbandry practices of the Iron Age in all their facets and address fundamental questions about Iron Age society:

  • What forms of animal husbandry were practiced in the Iron Age in Ireland?
  • What settlement modes and patterns of mobility are implied by modes of animal husbandry?
  • What is the nature of the hiatus observed in the archaeological record at the start and end of the IA? Can these, and thus the transition between the Late Bronze Age and to the Early Medieval period be better understood through analyses of archaeological animal populations?
  • Are current policy and practice aligned in a way that ensures the preservation of important animal bone assemblages to meet the overarching policy aim of preservation by record?

The project is interdisciplinary and collaborative and brings together a range of internationally leading experts from Ireland, the UK, the US and France, with local heritage and community stakeholders from County Kildare and Laois, to co-create knowledge and understanding of our joint heritage, that will create a new baseline understanding of Iron Age life in Ireland.

Professor Derek Hamilton, University of Glasgow; Stable isotope analysis, radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling

Professor Dan Bradley, Trinity College Dublin; Ancient Genomics

Professor Ludovic Orlando, CNRS, University of Toulouse; Ancient Genomics

Professor Susan Johnston, George Washington University; Archaeology of Dún Ailinne and the Iron Age

Professor Pam Crabtree, NYU; Zooarchaeology and archaeology of Dún Ailinne;

Dr Zenobie Garrett, University of Limerick; Archaeology of Dún Ailinne, GIS analysis and community engagement

Dr Erin Crowley-Champoux, University of Southern Maine; Zooarchaeology of Medieval Ireland

Ms Bridget McLoughlin Heritage Officer Programme, Kildare

Kilcullen Heritage Group Kildare Local History

Commercial partners: Archaeological Consultancy Services Dr Kerri Cleary and Donal Murphy Rubicon Heritage

An international advisory board will provide expert advice throughout the lifetime of the project:

Professor Ian Armit, University of York; Professor Janet Montgomery, University of Durham, Professor Kristin Armstrong Oma, Stavanger Museum; Ms Mary Deevy and Mr James Eogan Transport Infrastructure Ireland; National Monuments Service; Professor Cheryl Makarewicz, Kiel University

College of Arts, Celtic Studies & Social Sciences

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