Hillfort excavation and community archaeology

Details of an intriguing excavation at a British hillfort can be seen in the links below.  Although the the excavation findings were extremely significant and included evidence of a massacre, what is even more interesting from an Irish perspective was the way the excavation was carried out. It involved local community groups – including 400 school kids –  and professional archaeologists working side by side and was funded by National Lottery grants.

Could this work in Ireland?

Instead of archaeology being primarily driven by development and in may cases seen as an unnecessary hindrance, is it time we gave it back to the people? Is community archaeology the way forward? Local groups, such as schools, history societies and tidy towns, could work in conjunction with professional archaeologists to investigate the past.  Not alone would this create a greater interest in archaeology at a local level, it would also give communities a sense of ownership of their past. The community awareness engendered by such work would also help protect archaeological monuments from unauthorised damage. Not to mention all the extra archaeological knowledge that would be garnered and disseminated.

Now where’s the Lotto mullah….


From The Guardian newspaper

And a more in depth view from The Past Horizons website

2 thoughts on “Hillfort excavation and community archaeology

  1. I couldn’t agree more with your comments. But there are strong cultural (historical) differences how archaeology is done in the UK and Ireland. So getting this kind of thing off the ground is hard and painstaking work – worse than excavating another fullacht in mid November – but very much worth it. On this note, are you aware of the forthcoming discussion on the State & future of Irish Archaeology in the RSAI on Monday 9 May?

  2. I know sometimes we seem overly precious about excavating sites in Ireland. The general public can’t be trusted with their own heritage. But as you say its all about changing attitudes, slowly but surely. I’ll try and make that conference, kids and animals allowing :).

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