Gary Dempsey - Dr Paul Naessens
Rathcroghan Field System Project
Rathcroghan is on of Ireland's most impressive archaeological landscapes. Located in the heart of Co. Roscommon, in the West of Ireland, the Rathcroghan complex, is a region populated with over 240 archaeological features associated with ancient Irish myths and legends, and reputed to the inauguration site of Irish Kings. While recent published research has focused on a series of multi-phase features around Rathcroghan mound (Waddell et. al. 2009), the larger field systems and their connection has been overlooked outside of the work of Michael Herity (1980's) and T. H. Knox (1914). For an excellent overview of Rathcroghan and the historical research at the site as well as an interactive map visit Voices From the Dawn.
The Rathcroghan Field System Project, as lead by the DHA, aims to pick up where Knox and Herity left off, in terms of mapping of field systems and monuments at Rathcroghan. The project will use cutting edge digital visualisation tools, LiDAR, Colour Infra-red, historical mapping and UAV Aerial imagery to map out the field systems and attempt to place a chronology on interlinked field systems. The research undertaken by this project follows on from a number of important research projects by the above named individuals and groups, and the DHA are grateful to the dedicated research teams who collected the data. The geophysical data provided by NUIGalway archaeology department, as well as aerial imagery recorded in 2005 and 2007 by the Discovery Programme will play an important part in the research and final visualisation of Rathcroghan.
The Rathcroghan3D project is funded through the Royal Irish Academy - Directed Archaeological Research for Work Heritage Sites - grant. The aim of the research grant is to aid in the management of the archaeological resource within the core areas of World Heritage properties and to maintain, and where possible enhance, the Outstanding Universal Value of these internationally important sites. While the core focus of the research project is to create a better understanding of the field systems surrounding the Rathcroghan complex, the project will also create a first of it's kind interactive landscape model for the Rathcroghan complex to aid in future research and site management. Rathcroghan is on the tentative list for UNESCO world heritage sites along with other 'royal sites' in Ireland.