Tel: +44 (0)28 70124401
School of Environmental Sciences
Investigator Rory McNeary
Freshwater archaeology is a recognised sub-discipline of underwater archaeology. It encompasses not only in-channel underwater archaeology (such as bridges, mill dams, fish weirs, revetments, causeways, platforms) and artefacts (logboats, precious metalwork, fishing equipment) but also the consideration of multi-period cropmarks, earthworks, artefacts and buildings (both in urban and rural contexts) on the adjacent floodplain lying on or under alluvial deposits, as well as, the study of palaeoenvironmental information associated with the alluvial deposits themselves and the geomorphological processes that lie behind the deposition and erosion of these particular sediments. There are ever-increasing threats to these freshwater environments and their archaeological records through processes including urbanization, drainage and flood-protection work and climate change, and there is a very real need to develop and enhance research and management frameworks for such archaeological resources in Northern Ireland.
The Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA) is currently collating and integrating relevant data in order to create a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) based resource inventory of the archaeology associated with Northern Ireland’s rivers and lakes. This information is already being used to inform current archaeological heritage management in freshwater landscapes; thus enabling NIEA, Built Heritage to fulfill the commitments of its mission statement by protecting, conserving and promoting all aspects of Northern Ireland’s cultural heritage.
Recent developments include: 1. the acquisition of archived LiDAR data which has tremendous potential in terms of future archaeological research in river valley landscapes in Northern Ireland and 2. the purchase of a shallow water sonar which will allow for the rapid investigation of underwater freshwater environments that have been up until now largely inaccessible to archaeological survey due to turbidity and general shallowness.
McNeary, R. Underwater Investigations at Dunnalong Fort 2012. For Dunnalong Archaeological Dig Family and Community Day, 18 August 2012, Sollus Centre, Bready.
McNeary, R. An appraisal of the archaeology of Northern Ireland’s rivers: a catchment-based approach. Wetland Archaeology in Ireland and Beyond conference, University College Dublin (UCD), 7 February 2010, Dublin, Ireland.
McNeary, R. An evaluation of the archaeology of Ulster’s ancient fording places. Session: Movements across and along water within landmasses. European Association of Archaeology (EAA) annual conference, 18 September 2009, Riva del Garda, Italy.
Papers and reports
McNeary, R. (2012) Underwater Investigations at Dunnalong Fort. Summary report prepared for NIEA, Built Heritage. 29pp.
McNeary, R. (2011) Riverine Archaeology in Northern Ireland: an evaluation. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, 40 (1). p. 162-170. ISSN 10572414
McNeary, R. (2010) Freshwater Archaeology in Northern Ireland: summary strategy document for rivers. Report prepared for NIEA, Built Heritage. 146pp.