In August 2021, staff from the Centre for Community Archaeology presented several online public talks about recent work that they have carried out around south Armagh. These talks were given as part of the Ring of Gullion's Lúnasa Festival 2021. The excavations and surveys brought together archaeological investigations and local knowledge to explore a landscape that is central to many of the ancient myths in the Ulster Cycle, as well as being rich in history and archaeology. The Centre for Community Archaeology worked closely with local community groups and helped them to learn more about the monuments and landscapes around them.
The projects presented were undertaken as part of work with the Ring of Gullion Partnership. The series of talks was in partnership with Creggan Historical Society and the Ring of Gullion Partnership. You can find out more about the Ring of Gullion Partnership on their website - https://www.ringofgullion.org/
Cornahove and the ringforts of south Armagh
Ringforts are enclosed farmsteads of the Early Medieval period and the most common archaeological monument type in Ireland. Brian Sloan from the Centre for Community Archaeology at Queen’s University discusses the investigation he led at Cornahove ringfort near Lough Ross in a community-based excavation undertaken for the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership. Brian also discusses other local ringforts in south Armagh, such as Corliss Fort (one of the best-preserved bivallate ringforts in the county).
Recent geophysical surveys in south Armagh
Colm Donnelly and Siobhán McDermott from Queen’s University speak about several geophysical surveys that were recently undertaken in south Armagh. One project investigated part of the Slighe Miodhluachr, the great northern road from Tara, and was supported by the Historic Environment Division of the DfC. Another project investigated a “lost” Medieval church site at Killyloughran and was funded by the Royal Irish Academy.
Excavations at the Dorsey in 2002 and 2019
Cormac McSparron from Queen’s University discusses the archaeological excavation that was undertaken in 2019 at the Dorsey on behalf of the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership. The Dorsey is a large Iron Age earthwork enclosing an area measuring approximately 1.8 km long and 0.5 km wide. Previous excavations had indicated that the entrance through its “South Gate” is original and that the modern Bonds Road, which runs through the Dorsey, may follow the route of the Slighe Miodhluachr. During excavations in 2002 three palisades were found flanking the west side of the modern road. The community-based excavation in 2019 sought to investigate if a corresponding palisade might be detected on the east side of Bonds Road.