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Dr Finbar McCormick

<p>Dr. Finbar McCormick</p>

Dr. Finbar McCormick


BA University College Cork 1976,
MA University College Cork 1982,
PhD Queen’s University Belfast 1987.

Senior Lecturer



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


+44 (0) 29 90973447

Current Administrative Roles:

Director of Research for Past Cultural Change (PCC)
Advisor of Studies for all Archaeology/ Palaeoecology Students

Current Research:

Past Cultural Change

Early medieval settlement in Ireland
The zooarchaeology of the Mesolithic and Neolithic
The zooarchaeology of the Early Medieval Period
Animals and Ritual

My research work is primarily concerned with the Early Medieval Period in Ireland. For the last five years I have been in partnership with Aidan O’Sullivan of University College Dublin in the EMAP project. This is a Heritage Council funded project which bring the results of Early Medieval Excavations into the public domain. In Belfast the work has been undertaken with Thomas Kerr This project has resulted in the production of a large number of reports which have been published online. Research has also involved excavation of early medieval sites along with Dr Emily Murray the most recently published being a coastal site in Connemara, Co Galway. Research is also ongoing on Early Medieval sites associates with St Patrick’s mission in Co. Down. In particular a study has been made of and extensive building complex at Struell which has associated documentary evidence dating as early as the 8th/9th century. Excavation of the sites undertaken in 2012 with Emily Murray, funded by NIEA, uncovered evidence for early medieval activity but also shows the wells were located in proximity to prehistoric “burnt Mound” activity. There was also evidence for early burial although this has yet to be dates. Research is also being undertaken on the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition. Excavations at Connors Island County Sligo in 2012, undertaken with Chris Hunt Tatjana Kytmannoe and Thorsten Kahlert uncovered very early evidence for agriculture. The excavation was financed by the Royal Irish Academy.

 Early Neolithic settlement at Connors Island, Co. Sligo

My other broad area of research activity is in the area of zooarchaeology and especially the combination of zooarchaeological evidence. In particular, animal bone assemblages have been used as a proxy for indentifying major economic and settlement change in Early Medieval Ireland. Recent work has dealt with the early evidence for dairying in Europe and beyond and also with ritual depositions animal remains in early prehistory. One current project concerns the unique ritualistic deposit of a large number of cattle in an early Neolithic enclosure at Kilshane, Co. Dublin.

 Cattle bones deposits at Kilshane, Co. Dublin


Kerr, T, Doyle, M, Seaver, M, McCormick, F and A. O’Sullivan, A. 2015 Early medieval craft and production in Ireland AD 400-1000: The evidence from rural settlements, BAR International Series 2707.

McClatchie, M., McCormick, F. Kerr, T.R., O’Sullivan, A. 2014 “Early Medieval farming and food production: a review of the archaeobotanical evidence from aarchaeological excavations in Ireland, Vegetation history and Archaeobotany, 24, 179-186, 119-130.

McCormick, F. 2014 "Agriculture, settlement and society in Early Medieval Ireland", Quaternary International, 346, 119-130

McCormick, F., T. R. Kerr, M. McClatchie, and A. O'Sullivan 2014 Early Medieval Agriculture, Livestock and Cereal Production in Ireland, AD 400-1000, S 2647 BAR International series, Oxford.

O’Sullivan, A., F. McCormick, T. Kerr and L. Harney  2014 Early Medieval Ireland: The evidence from Excavations, Dublin, Royal Irish Academy (Published as e-book 2013).

T. Kerr and F. McCormick 2014 “Statistics, sunspots and settlement: influences on sum of probability curves” Journal of Archaeological Science, 41, 493-501.

O’Sullivan, A., F. McCormick, T. Kerr, L. Harney and J. Kinsella 2014 Medieval Dwellings and Settlements in Ireland, AD 400–1100 BAR S2604 – International Series, Oxford

McCormick, F. and E. Murphy 2013 “Mammal bones” in C. Cotter The Western Stone Forts Project: Excavations at DúnAonghasa and Dún Eoghanachta, Vol 2. Discovery Programme Wordwell, Bray, 153-166.

McCormick. F. 2012 “Cows, milk and religion: the use of dairy produce in early societies”, Anthropozoologica, 47:2, 99-112.

Murray, E.V. and F. McCormick 2012 "Doonloughan: a seasonal settlement site on the Connemara coast", Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 112C, 1-52.

McCormick, F and E.V. Murray 2011 “The animal bones” in A. Hayden Trim Castle, Co. Meath: Excavations 1995-98, Dublin, Stationary Office, 419-431.

Murray, E.V. and F. McCormick 2011 “An early medieval broken-dogwhelk midden at Culfin, Connemara”, Journal of the galway Archaeological and Historical Society, 63, 36-42.

McCormick, F. and E.V. Murray 2011 “The animal bones from Deer Park Farms” C.J. Lynn and J.A. McDowell Deer Park Farms; the excavation of a raised rath in the Glenarm Valley, Co. Antrim, Belfast, Stationary Office, 469-488.

McCormick, F. 2010 “The faunal remains” in A. Lynch Tintern Abbey, Co. Wexford: Cistercians and Colcloughs – Excavations 1982-2007, DublinStationary Office, 227-231.

McCormick, F. 2009 “The grave of Magnus Barelegs”, Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 68, 1-2-1-9

McCormick, F. 2009 “Struell Wells: pagan past and Chrstian present”, Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 109, 45-62.

McCormick, F. 2009 “Ritual feasting in Iron Age Ireland” in G. Cooney, Katarina Becker, J. Coles, M. Ryan and S. Sievers (eds.) Relics of old decency: archaeological studies in later prehistory, Bray, Wordwell, 405-412.

McCormick, F. 2008 ‘The decline of the cow: agricultural and settlement change in early medieval IrelandPeritia 20, 210-225.

McCormick, F. 2007. ‘Reformation, privatisation and the rise of the headstone’ in A. J. Horning, R. O’Boyle, C.J. Donnelly and P. Logue The post-medieval archaeology of Ireland, 1550-1850, Bray, Wordwell, 351-366.

McCormick, F. 2007 ‘Mammal bones from prehistoric Irish sites’ in E.M. Murphy and N.J. Whitehouse (eds) Environmental Archaeology in Ireland, Oxford, Oxbow. 

McCormick, F. and Murray, E.V. 2007  Knowth and the zooarchaeology of Early Christian Ireland, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.

McCormick F. 2007 ‘The horse in early Ireland’, Anthropozoologicia, 42(1), 85-104. 

McCormick, F. 2006 “Animal bone” in I. Armit Anatomy of an Iron Age wheelhouse, Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, Edinburgh. 161-172. 

McCormick, F. and E.V. Murray 2006 ‘The mammal bones from Mooghaun, Co. Clare: Preliminary report’ in E. Grogan The north Munster Project: Volume 1 The later prehistoric landscape in south-east Clare, Bray, Wordwell. 

McCormick, F. 2005 ‘Archaeology: The horse in early Ireland’ in M. McGrath and J.C. Griffith The Irish draught horse: a history, Cork, Colins Press, 17-29. 

Murray, E. and F. McCormick 2005 ‘Environmental analysis and food supply’ in Jenny White Marshall and Claire Walsh Illaunloughan Island: An early medieval monastery in County Kerry, Wordwell, 67-80. 

McCormick, F 2004 ‘Animal bone report’ in M.K. Grig ‘Excavations in the Laird’s Hall, Drum Castle’, Proceedings of the society of Antiquqries of Scotland, 134, 440-442. 

B. Graham and F. McCormick 2004 ‘The headstones of James Connelly’, Seanchas Ard Mhaca, 20, 162-168. 

Kerr, T. and F. McCormick 2004 ‘Early secular settlement in County Fermanagh, in E.E. Murphy and W.J. Roulston Fermanagh History and Society, Dublin, Geography Publications,  57-75. 

McCormick, F. and P. Macdonald 2004 ‘Excavations at Dunnyneill Island’, Strangford Lough’, Lecale Review, 2, 5-10. 

McCormick, F. 2004 ‘Hunting pig in the late mesolithic’ in H. Roche, E. Grogan, J. Bradley, J.Coles and B. Raftery (eds.) From megaliths to metals, essays in honour of Geroge Eogan,  Oxbow, Oxford, 1-5. 

E. Murray, F. McCormick and G. Plunkett 2004 ‘The food economies of Atlantic Island Monasteries: The documentary and archaeo-environmental evidence’, Environmental Archaeology, 9, 2004, 179-189.  

Moore, P., Donnelly, E. Murphy, W. Roulston and F. McCormick 2004 ‘Excavations at St. John’s Church, Islandmagee, Co. Antrim’, Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 61 (2002), 130-136.

McCormick, F. 2004 ‘The Mammal bone’ in A. Hayden ‘Excavation of the medieval river frontage at Arran Quay, Dublin’, Medieval Dublin V,  221-231.

Edwards C.J., Connellan J., Wallace P.F., Park S.D.E., McCormick F.M., Olsaker I., Eythórsdóttir E., MacHugh D.E., Bailey J.F. & Bradley D.G. 2003 ‘Feasibility and utility of microsatellite markers in archaeological cattle remains from a Viking Age settlement in Dublin’, Animal Genetics 34(2003), 410-416.

McCormick, F. and F.J. Crone 2002 'A destroyed enclosure at Site 5, Marshes upper, County Louth', County Louth Archaeological and Historical Journal, 26, 4 (2000), 553-562.

McComick, F. 2002 'The animal bones from Tara' in Discovery Programme Reports 6, 103-116, Dublin, Royal Irish Society/Discovery Programme.

McCormick, F. 2002 'The distribution of meat in a Hierarchical Society: The Irish evidence' in P. Miracle and N. Milner Consuming Passions and Patterns of consumption, McDonald Institute Monographs, Cambridge, 25-31.

P.J. Reimer, F.G. McCormac, J. Moore, F. McCormick and E.V. Murray 2002 ' Marine radiocarbon reservoir corrections for the mid- to late Holocene in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic, The Holocene, 12, 2, 129-135

McCormick, F. 2001 'The mammal bone' with C. Smith in A.S. Cameron and J.A. Stones (eds.) Aberdeen: An in-depth view of the city's past, (Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph No. 19), 271-275.

McCormick, F. 2001 ‘Animal Husbandry’ in P. Crabtree (ed.)  Medieval Archaeology: An Encyclopedia, New York and London, Garland, 1-4.