Project Title: The application of GIS, predictive modelling, and morphological analysisto further understand cave use in Neolithic Ireland.
Supervisor: Dr. Marion Dowd
Funding Body: Irish Research Council and T Sligo President’s Bursary Awards
Description of Project
This thesis presents the results of two archaeological predictive models applied to two geographic regions in Ireland – North Connaught and Munster. The main aim of the project was to identify caves that were most likely to have been chosen as places of Neolithic funerary activity. This was achieved using a non-invasive assessment strategy, consisting of data collection through field visits and desk-based research. In a juxtaposed setting, internal morphological characteristics of caves were used in a cognitive-deductive predictive model, whereas external environmental factors were used in a second, correlative-inductive predictive model.
Several archaeological predictive modelling and survey methods were critically evaluated and adapted for this project, including cognitive modelling approaches and cave survey techniques. The resulting model for North Connaught forms a new approach to cognitive-deductive archaeological predictive modelling. Fieldwork was a major component of this thesis and encompassed detailed recording and surveying of numerous caves, mainly in the northwest of Ireland but also in the south where almost all caves of Neolithic significance are located. The catalogue presented here is the first extensive record of relict caves in the northwest of Ireland.