Interpreting a cultural landscape: a case for seaweed-harvesting at Aughris, Co. Sligo
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FitzPatrick, Elizabeth. (2007). Interpreting a Cultural Landscape: a case for seaweed-harvesting at Aughris, Co Sligo. Journal Of Irish Archaeology, 16, 11-33.
This paper presents archaeological, historical andfolkloric evidence for a local seaweed industry on the Aughris head land, Co. Sligo, in the modem period. It is argued that over 200 earthen enclosures dotting the <ruans> or commons on the cliff line of the headland are not of great antiquity but modern platforms for stacking harvested dry sea wrack. The wrack was stacked in small cocks and remained there until it was carried away and burnt with sea rods to make kelp, or spread on the land as manure. The results of an excavation (01E0700), combined with analysis of aerial pho tographs, local lore, nineteenth-century estate documents and eighteenth-century travelled observations, indicate that many of the enclosures are likely to date from the modern period and are primarily related to tenant activity on the estates of Cooper of Markree and Hillas of Donecoy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The harvesting of sea wrack for the iodine market and for local potato and grain crops continued at Aughris on a small scale into the first half of the twentieth century.