Rathcroghan revisited: A renewed archaeological and geophysical exploration of selected areas of the focal ritual complex
Fenwick, Joseph P.
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Fenwick, Joseph P., Daly, Eve, & Rooney, Shane. (2020). Rathcroghan revisited: A renewed archaeological and geophysical exploration of selected areas of the focal ritual complex. Emania, 25, 81-98.
A renewed programme of geophysical survey was implemented over selected archaeological features in the fields surrounding Rathcroghan mound during the summers of 2013 and 2014. This was undertaken as part of the Rathcroghan ArchaeoGeophysial Field-School, a combined interdisciplinary field-research and teaching initiative based at NUI Galway. An electromagnetic conductivity survey was deployed to map the variable depth of soils and glacial sediments in the immediate vicinity of the great mound. In addition, a suite of geophysical techniques were applied over two 40m x 40m sample survey areas, targeting parts of the 360m Enclosure, encircling the focal ritual complex, and the Northern Enclosure, situated on the summit of a glacial ridge that extends from the north-eastern flank of the mound. Few new details relating to the enclosing element of the 360m Enclosure emerged, but the combined survey results resolved a number of questions relating to later episodes of cultivation over its sediment-filled fosse. By contrast, the high-resolution survey of the Northern Enclosure revealed a wealth of new detail and demonstrated that this remarkable structure had been replaced episodically over a number of generations. The overall survey results confirm that the monuments identified through geophysical means at Rathcroghan share broad similarities with those revealed through excavation and field-survey at the other Irish royal sites of Navan Fort, Tara and Knockaulin, in addition to some other cognate sites of predominantly Iron Age date.
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