My latest paper with the Cultivating Societies research team has just been published in a leading journal, Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (https://doi.org/10.1017/ppr.2017.1; also see news item on UCD School of Archaeology webpages).
The team has written several ground-breaking
papers in recent years on early farming in Ireland, funded by the
Heritage Council under the INSTAR programme. We have published in a variety of high-impact journals, including Journal of Archaeological Science, Journal of World Prehistory and Antiquity, placing the archaeology of Ireland firmly on the world stage.
Our latest paper is
entitled “Radiocarbon dating of a multi-phase passage tomb on
Baltinglass Hill, Co. Wicklow, Ireland”, and it provides new evidence
for Neolithic activity spanning at least six centuries at this funerary
monument. The paper presents the results of a radiocarbon dating programme on
charred wheat grains and hazelnut shell found underlying the cairn, and
on cremated human bone found within and near two of the monument’s five
chambers. The results are surprising, in that three of the six
determinations on calcined bone pre-date by one or two centuries the
charred cereals and hazelnut shells sealed under the cairn, dating to c.
3600–3400 cal BC. Of the remaining three bone results, one is coeval
with the charred plant remains, while the final two can be placed in the
period 3300/3200–2900 cal BC, which is more traditionally associated
with developed passage tombs.
A suggested sequence of construction is
presented, beginning with a simple tomb lacking a cairn, followed by a
burning event – perhaps a ritual preparation of the ground – involving
the deposition of cereal grains and other materials, very rapidly and
intentionally sealed under a layer of clay, in turn followed by at least
two phases involving the construction of more substantial chambers and
associated cairns. What was already regarded as a complex funerary
monument has proven to be even more complex.
Schulting, R., McClatchie, M., Sheridan, A., McLaughlin, R., Barratt,
P. and Whitehouse, N. (2017) Radiocarbon Dating of a Multi-phase
Passage Tomb on Baltinglass Hill, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society.