In line with government advice, most upcoming events are being moved online where possible. As we anticipate social distancing measures will be in place for some time, we have taken the decision to conduct a short series of HERoNI lectures online for the coming season.
I see you, rider: An assessment of the lack of artefactual evidence of early medieval equitation
Friday 25 September 2020, 1pm
Speaker: Dr Rena Maguire, Archaeologist, Visiting Research Fellow, Queen’s University Belfast
Recent research has meant that finally can place the iconic snaffles and y-pieces of the Irish Late Iron Age into an accurate chronology, which is not dependant on myths or legends of the ‘Celtic Twilight’. However, all answers in archaeology bring new questions with them. We still have a scant knowledge of the use and status of the horse and rider before and after the apex of Irish Iron Age equitation. The Late Bronze Age poses its own problems, but the literate early medieval period should have provided details of equitation, as the High Crosses display high stepping ponies drawing lightweight vehicles, as well as riders, yet the material evidence is minimal, unlike the flamboyant copper-alloy tack of the Late Iron Age. Using a holistic approach of conventional research and experimental archaeology, some possible reasons for the lack of equestrian equipment through the pre-Viking early medieval period are suggested, which may have much more in common with Ireland’s Late Bronze Age.
If you would like a copy of the slideshow from Dr Rena McGuire's lecture please email HERoNI@communities-ni.gov.uk
The Secret within the Stones: Earth Mortared Stone Construction in the Archaeological and Historical Record
Friday 6 November 2020, 1pm
Speaker: Dr Shirley Markley MIAI Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology & Historic Building Conservation, Department of Environmental Science, Institute of Technology Sligo
Buildings and their construction have always been an essential area of study to medievalists in understanding the diverse settlement record of the period. Archaeological excavation and building recording are fundamental tools in this regard. In Ireland a largely missing domestic settlement record has stimulated research into understanding its absence. Extensive regional field survey in north-west Ireland in combination with national documentary research has identified a heretofore unrecognised medieval building technique. This medieval construction practice comprises stone bonded with earth mortar and sealed by lime plaster renders. It occurs in domestic, ecclesiastical, defensive, infrastructural, industrial and some public buildings. Poor recording, negative terminologies and more significantly, purposeful overlooking of the archaeological evidence, has resulted in earth mortared stone construction being universally unrecognised as a significant later medieval construction technique in Ireland.
The Topography of a Tall Tale: local history and folklore sources for the topographic aspects of Táin Bó Cúailnge
Friday 15 January 2021, 1pm
Speaker: Paul Gosling, an archaeologist who lectures part-time in the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology.
Existing studies of topography in Táin Bó Cúailnge (TBC) are largely predicated on published editions of Recensions I-III of the story as preserved in manuscripts such as Lebor na hUidre, the Book of Leinster and Egerton 93. However, local histories and folklore also contain information regarding the movement of Queen Medb, Cúchulainn and the Ulster army in TBC. This lecture identifies the existence of ‘route-lore’ as a specific category of information in these sources. Their significance for the study of TBC is evaluated, including the question of the origination of this material.
Burials and Society in Early Bronze Age Ireland
Friday 12 February 2021, 1pm
Speaker: Dr Cormac McSparron, Department of Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast
Just before the start of the Bronze Age, around 2200BC, in what archaeologists call the Copper Age, a new type of burial appeared in Ireland. These were the burials of individuals with the remains usually placed in a stone box, or cist, and accompanied by a funerary pot. Over the next six hundred years this basic funerary ritual changed and developed, with new funerary practices added to this set of burial rituals, more frequent and opulent grave goods, and over time a gradual replacement of unburnt inhumation by cremation burials. It is likely that this increasing sophistication in the variety of funerary practice indicates an increasingly complex structuring of society, and during this period complex societies with powerful elites may have emerged. This lecture will describe the changes to the funerary practices of the era, how this shows the changing nature of society in Ireland at this time, and what factors may have been behind these changes.
The 18th and 19th century fanlight families of Northern Ireland
Friday 23 April 2021, 1pm
Speaker: Nessa Roche, Architectural Historian
This talk will look at the designs of fanlights, which contain numerous interesting variations on basic themes, with some unusual or extraordinary outliers only ever made for one terrace or a single house. It will also look at what they are made of and what we know of who designed and made them. In reality fanlight designs do not recognise any borders: I will emphasise that when they were in their heyday there was no border and fashions were island-wide – and indeed took inspiration from GB too.
Celtic Crosses, Identity and Symbolism in late 19th and early 20th Century Belfast
Friday 4 June 2021, 1pm
Speaker: Bronagh Patricia Murray, Archaeologist
This lecture investigates identity and ideology in late 19th and early 20th century Belfast, by analysing the use and symbolism of the Celtic cross in the city’s graveyards. This lecture will examine the religious and cultural identities of the deceased and those who commemorated them.