Monthly Archives: October 2012

Great day was had by all. The comference was fully attended and with all manner of interdisciplinary talks on how the dark may have affected people in the past – in all manner of ways. Dr. Robert Hensey, Prof. Richard Bradley, Dr. John Carey, Ken Williams (photographer), Tim O’Connell (Caver), Dr. Paul Pettitt, Brian Keenan (writer and captive in the dark for some years in the middle east), Prof. Muiris O’Sullivan, Dr. Sian James, Dr. Marion Dowd, Prof. Jack Santino, Fr. Colman O Calbaigh, Prof. (Emeritus) Ruth D. Whitehouse, Prof. Colin Richards and Prof. Gabriel Cooney all spoke over the day to a packed auditorium. I managed to get notes down during some – where there was enough light. Some had the lights off with only the projector on – Prof. Cooney gave his talk (last but by no means least) in complete darkness. So many elite in the one room was like going to a Police concert and finding them supported by Madonna, Ac/Dc, One Direction, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and Beyonce. There was so much presented – some new ideas, some new finds, that it was hard to devour in one sitting, yet it was compelling. Trying to concentrate enough to pierce some of the accents made a person wish they were powerful enough to have anyone who coughed silently removed.

The two internal photos were taken in the morning before kickoff – and before we were asked to switch off our phones. Outside the auditorium Wordwell had set up a bookstall – all stock was related to the topic. I was delighted to get the last copy of The Irish Revolution, 1912 to 1923 SLIGO, by Michael Farry as well as a few other books. Handy, as on my entertainment side of reading I had just finished Joe Abercrombies Red Country. There was tea, coffee and biscuits with food stalls outside. On the timber and bookshelf side of things I came across a lady I hadn’t seen in a while. She keeps bees and sells their produce in so many ways. I understand she mixes and pours the waxes herself as well as makes the sweets and candles. Havn’t used the candles but the sweets and polish are top class. If you find her – go for the one labeled Polish if you need it for wood – she has a different mix for leather. Having looked at my photo, the text is fuzzy so here it is -(from the top) Direct from the Producer. Guaranteed Pure. Beeswax Polish. 60ml. Shanvaus Apiary, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim. Ingredients: Turpentine, Beeswax, Carnauba Wax.

So many things taken from that day – it will take a while for it all to settle in. What did I love most – John Carey for his use of manuscripts, Tim O’Connell for his obvious love of caves, Marion Dowd for presenting a deep command of her subject so well, Ruth Whitehouse for her subject and because I like Italy, Colin Richards, because Easter Island is so exotic to me and Gabriel Cooney for bringing us all into the dark. Those were the people. The papers presented will have to be studied and studied before I say anything there. But that is just at the moment – its all up in the air and something else may settle into focus over later dates (as I get to know the people and the subject) – way too early to nail that list to the door.

It was a very, very good day.




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Up early

Off to the Archaeology of Darkness conference in Sligo. Fitting time of year I think. I am looking forward to it as I am studying under one of the speakers and have had a site tour with another.

What else would get me up this early on the Saturday morning of a bank holiday weekend!

More coffee me thinks.

A short post, I will agree, but posting is important, or at least I feel so at the minute.

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Sligo – home of a fantastic array of Neolithic/Megalithic monuments

Had an amazing day. Looking at the landscape and mentally stripping away the houses, masts, large buildings, roads and bridges leaves the North West of Ireland as a very special place indeed. We are looking at the oldest visible parts of prehistory first – so its the tombs. Not just the tombs themselves, but how they were seen and built together – and in relation to other sites locally. Looking at some close to 6000 years old. Think the area has approx 40% of all the passage tombs on the island. Carrowmore and Carrowkeel would be two places of focus. Littered with other eras as well – castle ruins, etc. Quite a bit to learn. Shell middens (dumps) we were shown are places where people gathered seafood and cooked them (the firecracked stones are there as well) over thousands of years. Possibly they were feasting sites.

Fair amount of reading involved, but a person has to be somewhat picky as there are a huge amount of works on the subject, and evidence, ideas and theories change. Good weather does put a shine on the country, which is a bonus as we would have to go out regardless of conditions – as do all archaeologists. I think its a Finnish expression that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes. I do not have one to hand, but if you can find a decent photo of Knocknarea – its worth a look. Knoc Na Re – Hill of Kings.

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Just a quick line or two.

Shelves to build – looks like Walnut, Beech and Oak will figure in them. Looking forward to that as both my sons will be involved.

Archaeology if working out very well – 1/4 way through the year now with some exams done. First trip today – Couple of megalithic burial sites (one urban, believe it or not) from the Neolithic and an abbey. The class I joined are a decent bunch which is always a wonderful bonus. Have to pack, and not sure what to bring – its my first trip!

Glad to be back.


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