Excavations for 2009 will be concentrated in three locations, at Roundhouse 2 on Slievemore, at the Deserted Village on Slievemore and at an 18th century house at Keem Bay. Applicants should carefully consider which of the sites is of the most interest to them, and select a course appropriately.
Excavations at Roundhouse 2
This site is to be the main focus of excavations during 2009. It is a new excavatioin that will be completed in its entirity during the season and builds on the previous years excavations at Roundhouse 1. The site os located on the southern side of Slievemore, overlooking the Deserted Village and with extensive views of the valley floor, Keel Lough, Keel Strand and the Minaun Cliffs. Roundhouse 2 consists of a circular platform which is slightly dished in the interior and has been substantially built up around the downslope side. The site is very similar in size to Roundhouse 1 and there is every reason to believe that once revealed the structure will be every bit as impressive. The structure is thought to consist of a substantial dry stone wall with an elobrate orthostatic entrance to the south east. It is not yet known whether these structures were used for domestic or ritual purposes and answering this question is the focus of this excavation. This structure and the adjacent Roundhouse 1 are known to have collapsed prior to 1500BC, placing their date of construction in the Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age
Excavations at the Deserted Village on Slievemore
This season the excavations at House 23 will be concluded, which will bring to an end an excavation that has been ongoing since 2004. This year the excavation will focus on the entrance to the building, the pathways and roads that surround it and the substantial manure pit located to its east. Achill Field Schools excavations at the Deserted Village hold a seminal place in the development of Historical Archaeology in Ireland, and have involved such luminaries as Dr Audrey Horning and Nick Brannon. This season represents a final opportunity for students to partake in this exciting and important excavation
Excavations at Keem Bay
This site is a second new excavation which will be taken to completion during the 2009 season. Keem Bay is located at the very western tip of Achill Island and is a place well famed for its beauty. A village of at least 40 houses was present at Keem in the early 19th century, but very little is known of its origins or its nature. The remains of 12 houses can be seen today, and this will be the first time that one of the houses has been investigated archaeologically. The focus of the excavation will be to determine the nature of the structure, date its construction and period of occupation and to determine whether it was a permanent dwelling or a seasonally occupied Sheppard’s hut, known as a Booley House. This excavation will therefore answer several important questions about this little understood settlement.
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