Lough Kinale: studying an Irish lake
Lough Kinale, Co. Longford as chosen as an area for focused research because it holds both Late Mesolithic remains as well as material from the early and later Medieval periods. The National Museum of Ireland holds artefacts from Lough Kinale which were found during drainage in the area in the 1960s. One of the aims of this program of research was to provide further context for these objects, which had been dated typologically to the Mesolithic period (8000-4000BC).
The first program of work at Lough Kinale focused on a detailed survey of the lake and lakeshore in order to assess earlier recorded sites as well as to assess the potential of future discoveries. Small excavations were carried out on three crannógs (man made islands) in the area with the aim of retrieving’ samples for radio-carbon and dendrochronological dating.
An environmental study of the lake and its surroundings was undertaken with guidance from Prof. Tony Brown of Exeter University. This study resulted in a report that followed the lakelands development from the Mesolithic to the present. During the following year a detailed study of the uplands and the land archaeology was undertaken by Dr. Annaba Kilfeather.
The results of this research was published in 2010 in Lough Kinale; Studies of an Irish lake.
Derragh Island Excavation
In 2003, excavation began on what appears to have been a small man-made island measuring some 18 m in diameter, situated in the water-meadow at the mouth of the River Inny. The site consists of layers of stone, brushwood, peat, charcoal and hazelnuts and seems to be associated with spreads of lithics found in the late 1960’s. This site was chosen for because it is a wetland site with organic preservation. It is one of a small number of similar sites that have been excavated in Western Europe with parallels in Scandinavia and Northern Germany where similar preservation and evidence for woodworking has been found.