The first excavation of Pleistocene deposits at an Irish Cave for more than 70 years: a search for substantive evidence that people were in Ireland during the last ice age.
Keywords: Ireland, Pleistocene, Fauna, Genetics, Cave, Excavation
This project involves the first excavation of Pleistocene deposits at an Irish Cave for more than 70 years. Our focus is on the search for substantive evidence that people were in Ireland during the last ice age. At Ballynamintra Cave, Co. Waterford, we have unearthed potential climate records pertaining to the penultimate and last interglacial cycles in Ireland in the form of speleothems, which are undergoing isotopic analysis. We also have a climate record comprising Pleistocene fauna and pollen from the lead up to the last glacial maximum and the Late Glacial. A selection of the fauna is being dated and is undergoing ancient DNA, isotope and proteomic analyses. Our results will help to identify windows of opportunity of when people may have been in Ireland during the last ice age.
The principal investigators are Richard Jennings, LJMU, and Cóilín O’Drisceoil, Kilkenny Archaeology. Our research team are from institutions across the UK and Ireland including National Museum of Ireland, University of Huddersfield, Oxford Archaeological Associates, University of Manchester, University College Dublin, University of Oxford, University of Central Lancashire, University of Aberdeen, Natural History Museum, The Francis Crick Institute, and LJMU. We are grateful to the Royal Irish Academy for funding the project.
Other Projects from Richard Jennings
The Polynesian Origins Project integrates disparate radiocarbon datasets using international heritage recording standards of the CiDOC CRM (Council of Museums Conceptual Reference Model) in order to establish an accurate chronology of the initial movement of peoples into Oceania and of their subsequent cultural transformations.