Leean Mountain Prehistoric Landscape Survey, Second Year

Tatjana Kytmannow (freelance), Thorsten Kahlert (Sligo IT) and Mark Gardiner (QUB)
School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology
Queen’s University Belfast


The aim of the 2nd year’s work was to complete a topographical survey of all hutsites using dGPS or total station. All sites were then depicted using 3D software, allowing the investigation of the huts for hearths, entrances, post-holes and other constructional features. There are three different types of hutsites: rectangular slab-built; low, oval earthen; and round integrating large boulders. The only hutsite built nearly entirely of stone is a much later booley hut; all the others survive only as foundations or low earthen banks. One of the research questions was to determine whether different constructional methods were evident. The detailed topographical survey also allows a pre-selection of suitable sites for future excavations and is a cost-effective preliminary method.

The survey area comprises an upland area in NW County Leitrim, measuring 2km by 2km, covering parts of the townlands of Leean, Conray and Fawnarry. Three megaliths, one cairn and one hutsite were listed before 2003 and a further thirty-two sites had been reported to the authorities in 2003. Another eighteen sites had been discovered in summer 2007; these comprise hutsites or sections of ancient walls. Three caves which were used either as stables or for habitation were identified in 2008.