The Science of a Lost Medieval Graveyard: The Ballyhanna Research Project

Catriona J. McKenzie (Editor), Eileen M. Murphy (Editor), Colm J Donnelly (Editor)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    he Science of Lost Medieval Gaelic Graveyard tells the story of the discovery in 2003 of a graveyard and the foundations of a small forgotten stone church at Ballyhanna, in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, as part of the N15 Bundoran–Ballyshannon Bypass archaeological works. This led to the excavation of one of the largest collections of medieval burials ever undertaken on this island. Over 1,200 individuals were excavated from the site at Ballyhanna during the winter of 2003–4, representing 1,000 years of burial through the entire Irish medieval period. The discovery led to the establishment of a cross-border research collaboration—the Ballyhanna Research Project—between Queen’s University Belfast and the Institute of Technology, Sligo, which has brought to life this lost Gaelic graveyard.

    This book shows how cutting-edge scientific research may aid our understanding and interpretation of archaeology and reveal new insights into past societies. For example, the use of ancient DNA analysis represented the first biomolecular archaeological evaluation of a medieval population to date and provided evidence that cystic fibrosis was much less prevalent in the medieval period than today. The Science of Lost Medieval Gaelic Graveyard is about a community who lived in Gaelic Ireland, about their lifestyles, health and diet. It tells us of their deaths and of their burial traditions, and through examining all of these aspects, it reveals the ebb and flow of their lives.

    The book is accompanied by a CD-ROM which includes supplementary information from the Ballyhanna Research Project and the original excavation and survey reports for all of the archaeological sites on the N15 Bundoran–Ballyshannon Bypass.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherTransport Infrastructure Ireland
    Commissioning bodyNational Roads Authority
    Number of pages215
    ISBN (Print)978-0-9932315-2-0
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Dec 2015


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