Academic staff and students from two international archaeological field schools gathered in Rathcroghan Visitor Centre recently for a ‘meet and greet’ and a tour of the archaeological sites in the locality.
Cllr Tom Crosby, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, welcomed the staff and students. He noted: “County Roscommon is blessed with a wonderful cultural landscape, rich in archaeology. This importance is reflected in the fact that there are currently two international archaeological field schools carrying out significant research projects in the county”.
The two research projects taking place in the county at the moment are the ‘Castles in Communities’ field school and the ‘Lough Key Archaeological Project’. The ‘Castles in Communities’ field school is an intensive archaeological/anthropological field school and cultural immersion experience based in Balintubber, and it is being held in collaboration with Dr Niall Brady and Foothill College in California and Columbia University in New York.
The Lough Key Archaeological Project meanwhile includes research on the Rock of Lough Key (McDermott’s Island) and is brought to the county by Dr Tom Finan of St Louis University. Research to date has detailed significant medieval elements of the island through archaeological stratigraphy and artifacts.
Archaeological field schools are a great benefit to the county through the academic research and knowledge gathered through the cultural exchange between local communities and international students by bringing visitors into the county and raising awareness of the value and importance of our heritage.