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Rebecca Enlander

<p>Rebecca Enlander</p>

Rebecca Enlander


MA with distinction;
BSc Hons.




School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP)
Queen’s University Belfast
Belfast, BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK


+44 (0)28 9097 5287

Current Teaching:

I currently take a tutorial class for the undergraduate module ‘Europe in Prehistory (ARP1002)’

Current Research: Past Cultural Change

Prehistoric rock art and the cultural landscapes of the north of Ireland: a contextual and interpretive study

Whilst recent research in Ireland, Scotland and northern England has demonstrated the potential for both landscape and site based analysis of petroglyphs, this theme has remained a neglected area of research in the north of Ireland. Parallel studies in Argyll and Northumberland, as well as Cork and Kerry have demonstrated the successful use of various landscape approaches and careful field survey within this stimulating area of archaeological research. Additionally comparative work has shown that the sheer quantity of decorated stones is far greater than previously thought. However, beyond initial survey work in the broad area of Ulster, little attempt has been made to map, catalogue or interpret these sites. This project proposes to act as a major revision of this resource and aims to produce a robust inventory of sites and a re-evaluation of rock art in the geographical area explored. Although previous survey results and theoretical application in Britain and Ireland have provided both an anchor and a departure point for this project, the aim here is to formulate a setting suitable for the application of a theoretical dialogue which is related to but not reliant on previous approaches and seek to interpret this resource from a contextual point of view. Data collection, detailed recording methods (including GIS) and various landscape approaches will be employed to identify and enable interpretation of:

  • geological characteristics of decorated rocks, society’s understanding of the nature of particular rock types and whether the geological attributes of certain rocks had an active role in the creation of rock art
  • characteristic geologies which ultimately effect the shape and complexities of a distinct region through the form of watersheds, slopes and skylines
  • site/landscape accessibility - by defining contextual elements of the landscape such as solid geology we can ascertain if certain areas are favoured and demonstrate if regional landforms determine the accessibility of rock art sites physically in regards to both audience and visibility
  • establish the relationship between rock art sites and their cultural surroundings, including secular and sacred landscapes - analysis of both British and Irish rock art more generally has a tendency to place sites at the ‘limits’ or margins of the lived landscape, in remote locations, accessible to a restricted few; recent projects at Drumirril (O’Connor) and Loughcrew (Shee Twohig) paint a different picture and so this relationship needs to be readdressed
  • explore the connection between quintessential rock art and megalithic (passage grave) art in terms of chronological implications and ‘function’ which may not necessarily rely on visibility to ‘operate’
  • and establish the significance of Irish decorated rocks within their wider, European and even global setting – comparative sites will include the Kilmartin valley in Scotland. The ‘Panaramitee’ territory of Australia has also been selected for comparative analysis; although geographically and temporally distinct, the same basic motif repertoire and method of application to natural rock surfaces seem to be conformed to.

Project supervisors
Dr. Caroline Malone and Dr. Alastair Ruffell


Enlander, R. (2011). ‘Rock art and prehistoric geologists? Some observations from the Kilmartin Valley,’ PAST 69, (Nov.). 11–13.

Enlander, R. (forthcoming). ‘Reference, repetition and re-use: defining ‘identities’ through carved landscapes in the north of Ireland,’ in V. Ginn, R. Enlander and R. Crozier (eds), Exploring prehistoric identity in Northwest Europe: our construct or theirs?

Ginn, V., Enlander, R., and Crozier, R. (forthcoming) Exploring prehistoric identity in Northwest Europe: our construct or theirs? Oxbow.


8th June 2012. Regional identities and the rock art landscapes of the north of Ireland: stones, symbols and social narratives. The Prehistoric Society Europa Postgraduate Conference, Reading University

May 2012. Regional identities and the rock art landscapes of the north of Ireland: stones, symbols and social narratives. British Rock Art Group (BRAG 2012) annual meeting, Bristol University

27 – 28 May 2011. Defining personal expressions through carved landscapes (poster). Interpreting Identity Symposium, Queen’s University, Belfast

7 – 8 May 2011. Carving Local: rock art ‘landscapes’ in Ireland (poster). British Rock Art Group (BRAG) 2011 annual meeting, Durham University.

17 – 19 Dec 2010. Carved Narratives: Rocks, Rock Art and the Geological character of some Irish Stones. 32nd annual conference of the Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG), Bristol University.

External Grant Funding:

2012 – Co-recipient of the Marc Fitch fund publication grant (£400) to cover colour illustration costs for the publication: Exploring Prehistoric Identity in Northwest Europe: our construct or theirs? Oxbow Books have agreed to print the volume at no cost to us.

2011 – The Coles Award, Prehistoric Society (£300) for field research in Kilmartin, Argyll.

2011 – Co-recipient of the Student-led Initiative Fund, QUB and additional funding from The Prehistoric Society and NIEA for the ‘Interpreting Identity’ conference held at QUB, May 2011.

2010 – 75th Anniversary Fieldwork Prize Fund (£200) for ongoing field research.

2009 – Recipient of a Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) award, which covers all fees and provides a maintenance grant for three years of my PhD study

2007 – Daphne Lorimer Bursary, Orkney Archaeology Society for MA fees, Kirkwall, UHI.

Conference Organization:

27 – 28 May 2011. Co-organizer of the student-led ‘Interpreting Identity’ conference held at QUB.

Additional Information:

Research Interest

My main area of interest is primarily European society during the Neolithicjavascript:;, Bronze Age and Iron Age, specifically in Ireland and Scotland and includes petroglyphs, settlement manifestation, spatial analysis, monument reuse and the formation of ancestral landscapes to name a few. My research also approaches the significance of stone in prehistory both in its architectural and portable dimensions. I am also interested in theoretical approaches to the formation and maintenance of memory and personhood in pre-written society.


2008 – MA with Distinction in Archaeological Practice, Orkney College, Scotland. Thesis: “Socially inherited landscapes of the Broch dwellers: A case study of Neolithic locality associations in Iron Age Rousay.” 2006 – BSc Hons in Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queens University, Belfast.

Field Experience

 Since 2003 I have worked as a field archaeologist on various excavations within the commercial sector in Ireland on a wide variety of sites ranging from prehistoric settlement to seventeenth century urban remains. Additionally I have worked on a series of research excavations both in the U.K., and Slovakia (up to supervisory level) and undertaken fieldwork at Valcamonica, Italy, recording Neolithic – Iron Age rock art panels.