The Western Stone Forts project, volumes 1 and 2: excavations at Dún Aonghasa and Dún Eoghanachta

Calire Cotter

The results of the Western Stone Forts Project are published in two phases. Volumes 1, 2 and the E-publication, Vol. 3, make up the first phase. Volumes 1 and 2 are published as two separate books merely for the sake of convenience (a single volume would have been too unwieldy) and the chapters are numbered sequentially in the two volumes. The ‘division’ falls after the structural evidence from Dún Aonghasa is presented (Vol. 1, Chapter 7); thus Vol. 2 opens with the finds from Dún Aonghasa (Vol. 2, Chapter 8). Volume 3 is published on-line and contains appendices and finds catalogues (relating to the two excavations) and details of ancillary studies (relating to Dún Aonghasa) that were carried out in the course of the project. All the Vol. 3 data are cross-referenced where appropriate in the published volumes, but for the sake of convenience a full list of the contents, figures and tables in Vol. 3 can be found at the end of Vol. 2. The bulk of the text in all three volumes relates to ‘The excavations at Dún Aonghasa’ (Vol. 1, Part II, Chapters 3–7; Vol. 2, Chapters 8–13; Vol. 3, Appendices 1–13). The ‘Background to the Western Stone Forts Project’ (Vol. 1, Part I, Chapter 1) and ‘The excavations at Dún Eoghanachta’ (Vol. 2, Chapters 14–21; Vol. 3, Appendices 14 and 15) are, by comparison, fairly short.

The format of both excavation reports follows what could probably be described at this stage as a ‘twentieth-century’ model, i.e. the accounts are comprehensive and contain a lot of detail. For those who wish to navigate quickly through the text of the Dún Aonghasa excavation report, the background and summary accounts in Chapters 1–5 and 13 outline the aims and results. Information on the finds can be found in the specialist reports in Chapter 8 and the finds catalogues in Vol. 3, Appendix 1. A summary of the Dún Eoghanachta excavations can be found in Chapter 21. The ‘Ancillary studies’ section of Vol. 3 contains a number of articles of wider interest (see Vol. 3 contents list). The Irish evidence for bronze-casting during the late Bronze Age is outlined in Appendix 7. Irish parallels for ‘buffered bronze rings’ are discussed in Appendix 8. The comparative strength of different forms of hillfort rampart is examined in Appendix 12.

Volume 3 is available online at

(Dublin, Wordwell for the Discovery Programme 2012)


The Western Stone Forts project, volumes 1 and 2: excavations at Dún Aonghasa and Dún Eoghanachta