Saints Home Stones

Each month this year, this website will feature a journey to take to explore the Saints and Stones of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. This month's homepage features a one-day visit to Newgrange Passage Tomb, part of the Bru na Boinne complex located in County Meath in the Republic of Ireland.

Books: The Burren and the Aran Islands: Exploring the Archaeology by Carleton Jones. The Burren and the Aran Islands form a region renowned for its geology, flora and archaeology. Possibly the greatest interest is in its archaeology but the ancient monuments are often perceived as shrouded in mystery and beyond explanation. Recent studies, however, have shed considerable light on the functions of these monuments and the people who built them. This book presents these archaeological interpretations in an attractive and engaging manner. After a brief introduction the book is divided into two parts, the Burren and the Aran Islands. Significant sites are highlighted within broader themes such as The First Farmers on the Burren and Christianity and Pilgrimage on the Aran Islands. More tangential topics such as Building a Wedge Tomb are also included and many of these are explained in concise 'panel' features such as Contemporary Travellers' Accounts of Tower Houses and Cross-Decorated Stones of the Aran Islands.

Publications: Journal of Irish Archaeology. The Journal of Irish Archaeology (JIA) is the journal of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. It is a peer-reviewed, annual journal, comprising articles on Irish archaeology and related topics. Editorship of the journal changes every two years, rotating among the archaeology teaching staff in third-level institutions on the island of Ireland. The most recent issue, Volume XXX (2021), was published in November 2021.

Websites and Blogs: Pilgrim Paths of Ireland. The Pilgrim Paths of Ireland are a collection of ancient religious routes with well-documented claims of having been used by pilgrims since ancient times. Walking these ageless trails not only offers the opportunity for spiritual renewal, but also provides a link to our past while contributing to sustainable tourism and community development in each area. Pilgrim Paths Ireland is the national representative body for Ireland's pilgrim paths. It was founded at a meeting in Nenagh to represent Ireland's principal penitential paths. Its objective is to promote greater awareness and use of Ireland's historic pilgrim routes. The Irish pilgrim logo has been adopted as the symbol for pilgrimage in Ireland. It comes from a cross-slab near Ballyvourney, Co Cork showing a Maltese Cross in a circle with a tonsured figure, probably a pilgrim, above it. The Maltese Cross has been identified by archaeologist Peter Harbison as an important early symbol of pilgrimage. Map with links to paths.

Podcasts: Our podcast for this month, Amplify Archaeology Podcast, features interviews with Ireland's top archaeological experts and and specialists. Listen to discussions of the key periods, themes, and stories and the different types of sites and artefacts that can tell us how people lived in the past. The podcasts also give an insight into the profession and practice of archaeology and the various techniques and scientific methods that help to build the picture of Ireland's history. Also, the podcasts feature interviews with teams digging iconic sites like Glendalough, Kilkenny Castle and the Rock of Cashel. Each episode has its own page with shownotes and links that allow you to dig deeper into the particular themes and references that were discussed during the show. To date, topics such as ogham stones, passage tombs, conflict and battlefield archaeology, and practices like digital heritage or living history can help to understand the past have been discussed. In addition, discussions featured the groundbreaking new insights from the passage tomb complexes at Carrowkeel and Newgrange.

Organizations: Sligo Community Archaeology Project.Sligo has an exceptional wealth of archaeological monuments spread throughout the county, from mounds and tombs to castles and medieval churches. The archaeology of Sligo dates from earliest times to the present day and includes approximately 6,500 known sites which are located throughout the countryside. Landowners, including farmers, developers, public bodies and the general public, are the custodians of this heritage resource. Increasingly, local communities are realising the value of their local archaeological resource and there is a demand for greater community involvement with the county's archaeology whether through directly experiencing sites and monuments, or by developing heritage trails, exhibitions or events. The Sligo Community Archaeology Project focuses on promoting awareness, knowledge and understanding of the local archaeological resource among individuals and community groups in the county; Promoting heritage best practice in relation to researching and undertaking works relating to archaeological monuments and; Developing a strategic approach to community archaeology in County Sligo, through working with key stakeholders on specific themes.

Art, Photography, 3D Imaging: Ken Williams is featured for the second time in these pages, as very few have captured such stunning photos of Ireland's megalithic structures as he has. Williams is a photographer from Drogheda, County Louth, in the heart of the Boyne Valley. As he describes his work, "Although I am now based in County Wicklow, barely a week passes without a visit back to the monumental landscape around Newgrange and Knowth, the places that first sparked my passion for prehistory. My specialist area is the prehistoric art and monuments of Western Europe. For almost twenty years I have been engaged in a photographic project centering on the megalithic monuments of Western Europe, under the working title 'Shadows and Stone.'

Videos: Two videos this month, both from Mythical Ireland. First, a visit to the Megalithic Highlights of County Sligo: Carrowkeel, Carrowmore, and Knocknarea. Second, a visit to the River Boyne and the Late Neolithic Monuments at Newgrange.

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Suggestions, comments, and questions are always welcome.