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ARCHAEOLOGY

 

The archaeology, mythology and early history of Uisneach have been the subject of ongoing research by Dr Roseanne Schot (NUI Galway) since 2001. As well as studying the twenty or so archaeological monuments that can still be seen on the hill, she has carried out extensive geophysical surveys which have revealed a wealth of buried archaeological remains that shed important new light on Uisneach’s history and role as a ceremonial centre in prehistory. Some of the most exciting discoveries include a very large enclosure (about 200 metres in diameter) that encircles an ancient burial mound on the eastern summit, as well as other enclosures and burial sites around the stone cairn or tomb known as ‘St Patrick’s Bed’, and elsewhere on the hill.

More recently, Dr Schot and specialists from the Discovery Programme (Dublin) and NUI Galway extracted a core of lake sediment from the summit pond of Lough Lugh. Pollen and insect fossils contained within the sediment are now being analysed to chart the history of the lake, its environment and land-use practices at Uisneach in the past. The preliminary results of this work will be published in 2015.

Bibliography
Macalister, R.A.S. and Praeger, R.L. 1928. Report on the excavation of Uisneach. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 38C, 69–127. Macalister, R.A.S. and Praeger, R.L. 1931. The excavation of an ancient structure in the townland of Togherstown, Co. Westmeath. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 39C, 54–83. Schot, R. 2006. Uisneach Midi a medón Érenn: a prehistoric cult centre and ‘royal site’ in Co. Westmeath. The Journal of Irish Archaeology 15, 39-71. Schot, R. 2011. From cult centre to royal centre: monuments, myths and other revelations at Uisneach. In R. Schot, C. Newman and E. Bhreathnach (eds), Landscapes of cult and kingship. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 87–113. Schot, R., Stuijts, I., Potito, A. and McGinley, S. Forthcoming. Landscape use and environmental change: a multi-proxy study at Lough Lugh, Uisneach, Co. Westmeath. Discovery Programme Reports8. Dublin: The Discovery Programme.