A Mesolithic site?
There's not much about it online, apart from a reference to an excavation in the '80s.
Don't mind me, just being over enthusiastic again I'm afraid...
It is just a mesolithic site, where a few bits were recovered, but to me it seems really important because I'm in the middle of reading about these things.
I was reading about the potential for more discoveries down here since this area escaped the ice, and of hope some day mesolithic human bones could finally be found.
I only found out recently about the "Dungarvan valley" caves, where bones of wooly mammoth, wolf, giant Irish deer and bear were found. Some of these caves are still there, and have not been fully excavated, some have been destroyed. Some human bones were found, not mesolithic though.
From what I gather more excavations/investigations were planned, but I doubt they ever took place, and that they will happen in the near future.
The Waterford County Museum site is a brilliant site, full of information and brilliant collections of old photographs too.
a bit in p.26 there : http://www.epa.ie/licences/lic_eDMS/090151b280294c64.pdf
lots more interesting in that report too about other time periods.
this too : http://www.waterfordcoco.ie/en/services/conservationandheritage/archaeology/firstirishpeopleindungarvanvalley/
Co Waterford is not exactly hectic as regards neolithic heritage, so it is nice to find excitement in other respects.
That's what it's all about really - the physical connection to the past, particularly when it's so far beyond written history.
It seems to be a remarkable place. Any idea what finds turned up and dates?
Yes, it's listed in the pdf above, which was an application to do work on a nearby factory or something.
I also found a pdf listing all the caves in the area with photographs and diagrams, and analysing them one at a time in great precision, if that's of interest to anyone lurking or yourself.
The caves listed in that pdf are fascinating. It's surprising though, that the authors say so little about the archaeology when they were trying to make the case for the conservation of the caves.
This remark seems somewhat cursory -
(Re. Ballynamintra p.9 in the pdf above)
The NLI lists a reference to Ballynamintra in its holdings:
Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Series II, Vol. II. 1879 - 88. Pp. 73 - 78
I searched here but couldn't find it.
really? where in wicklow is this? It looks like the type of stuff you see all over the place in North wicklow. pretty cool if that's what it is.
'found' the remains of a house (probably not a home) up at the top of powerscourt waterfall the other day.
This remark seems somewhat cursory -
Ah ! I thought the same of the same remark... what bones ? how old ? I have never been to the National Museum, so thought I will just look out for "some bones/remains" some day if I go up there.
And what about the "modern reassessment" remarks ???
Could there be something of importance there that was just brushed aside and boxed up at the time ? like : "ah sure they're just old bones, not going to spend the money on dating them...".
Slowburner would you believe I have been living here 15 years, and never, NEVER have I heard anyone mention the Dungarvan caves, and the discovery of Mammoths' bones in a cave in Dungarvan itself (Shandon). The caves were dismantled after excavation as they were part of a quarry I think, and the land was used to build the Cork Marts.
That's baffling. A lot of people here don't seem to know about it, and/or care.
I'm not sure how true the story is, but it goes along the lines of; a dam was built above the falls, and a viewing platform was built beneath. This was so that a substantial cascade could be created on demand for the visit of Queen Victoria.
When they gave it a go, it washed away the platform and with it went the gentlemen viewing the spectacle.
They obviously abandoned the plan, and what you saw might be the remains of the dam/reservoir.
Plenty of upright lumps of stone in N.Wicklow alright. They'd really need to be in a context or some sort of order though, if they were to be grave markers.
It would be easy to think that people don't care, but I find it's just that people usually don't know. I also find that when people become aware of what's under their noses, that they are positive about it 99% of the time. Unless they have a specific reason for not wanting it known about.
Now you have a job to do.
Untitled by mountainsandheather, on Flickr
more close ups on my flickr.
Didn't take any more as my memory card was full (sigh), and the inquisitive herd of cows there was staring at me (think "the birds" except they were cows ). I'm not very brave when it comes to cows.
So I'll return when they're gone from there.
Beside the stone, there are 2 big boulders, one of them an obvious conglomerate sort of stone, with this big layer of what looks like lime to me (there are loads of lime kilns around). It is solid, and white, like whitewash, but hard. I thought the big splat of this on the boulder and the patterns on it were ... interesting ?
COLAISTE FILM-29 by mountainsandheather, on Flickr
I don't think that boulder is man made, but it could be I suppose if it was part of a wall/gate post.
edit : the boulder close up is seen on this pic in the background, the one to the left.
Untitled by mountainsandheather, on Flickr
edit bis : oh, and I checked, there was never any habitation on this spot.
They're big lumps of stone for a wall.
It'll be interesting to see them in a wider, cow free context.
I'm a bit puzzled by this. It looks very much like a clay which has been sun baked.
I can see that the stone is a conglomerate, but my gut says it's natural. But then the clay like cake seems to form part of the stone - as if it was a mortar which was exposed to the sun before it was dry, and which then cracked.
It could be that the stone was sitting in a clay or marl and at some point it was moved. The clay stuck to it and cracked as it dried out. It is very likely that there is a heavy clay or marl around the boulders - the rushes indicate persistent wet and marl is frequently associated with rushes in this sort of situation.
When you get complex patterns like this, it easy to 'read' things into it. I think all the fissures are natural, but I certainly see how the curved marks stand out.
Here's an example of the way we can superimpose meaning or symbolism. It's actually an appropriate interpretation for this particular field and its residents. (Forgive my lack of graphic skills)
Is there any local knowledge about the site?
In the wine trade, they say one look at the label on the bottle, is worth twenty years experience.
Local knowledge has a similar effect
I find it strange too, but the white colour is what is most striking to me. Yes the area is wet, and in the same field a distance away, there is a spring I think. But the clay around here is brown, and often with that yellow clay they have a name for, the bad one. (excuse my ignorance)
I thought maybe what might explain the curvy shapes could be pebbles embedded underneath ?
There's no local story I can think of, most of the farmers are friendly and local, but this farmer lives away and really only comes around to tend to the cattle. I will ask the farmer who sold us our house and land, he's young but there is a standing stone in his field at the back of our house, and his family have a lot of land around, so he might be interested and might know something.
One of our friends is older, and knows a good few stories, although they're often hazy in his memory since they're things he heard or witnessed as a child. He says that one local fellow carved some stones somewhere near me (but not in that spot), I think he carved faces maybe of the Virgin, or something. Some male faces too. People knew for a while where the stones were (in the forest-ry), then forgot, then someone came across them, then as far as I recall, it was forgotten again. I wonder would the same fellow have practised on any local stones that were soft enough to be carved ?