The photographs included here are from a small prehistoric monument on the coast of Sligo. It is classed as a Cist – pronounced “kissed”. This is generally a stone line box in the ground whose purpose seemed primarily for burial. This cist is something like 15cm wide and over 3m long so it stretches the theory. But then again Archaeology is well full of theories. Perhaps the body was hammered flat and posted in to the “grave”. Nevertheless it appears to be in possibly immanent danger of destruction and if that happens we will never know.
On a broad basis we see damage like this daily but primarily it is manmade – Bahn and Renfrews book on Archaeology in its theories, methods and practises (a very good book deserving of very good shelves) set aside a chapter on Archaeology and the Public. This chapter has a fair component of “stop breaking it and stop stealing it” type of thing. It puts the quote from Indiana Jones “It belongs in a museum” into the context of – only if we already know everything about it. Once the destruction has taken place the artefacts lose the majority of their point and after complete examination they boil down to (i) awesome or nice looking stuff, (ii) interesting and or informative stuff, (iii) shock and horror stuff and (iv) I don’t want to see it stuff.
Currently reading The Scientific Investigation of Copies, Fakes and Forgeries by Paul Craddock (along with How To Drive A Steam Locomotive by Brian Hollingsworth, but that’s another story). Wonderful book by a curator from the British Museum. From the book on fakes and forgeries – it would be far easier and cheaper to have artefacts made than running the risk of buying them at full price in the market – and there are a lot out there. I remember another book by Judith Miller on the antique trade (she of Millers Antiques Handbook and Price Guide fame) where she stated that more 18th century oak furniture left England each year than was ever made in the 18th century.
Rambling, back to disappearing monuments. I sometimes get the feeling that I need to qualify quickly and find my lost city before they are all gone – joking, somewhat. The monument in question is easier to look at fully because people are not involved – it is the environment – specifically the sea. Last year I took a photograph as it appeared close to the edge of the sea. This year after the storms I checked and it is still there though the sea stripped the land away no more then 20 feet up the coast from it. It needs a rescue so I will pass on the information. A Rescue is a dig that will remove the monument in a dig before the sea does – rescuing what is most important – knowledge of what happened in the past.

Cist in early 2013

Cist in early 2013

Cist early 2014

Cist early 2014



Filed under Books and their home.

2 responses to “Rescue

  1. Lovely scenery. Lovely comment about rescuing what is most important – knowledge of the past.

    • Thank you for the comment! I mailed our National Monument Service but it will probably take a while for anything to happen – a noted stone fort (semicircular against a cliff) lost some ground in Kerry recently and it was in the national news so I imagine they have their hands full. It is a learning experience for me with, I hope, a good outcome. Have to say, I enjoy your museum blog posts. Thank you.

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