Environmental Sciences Research Institute
The Archaeology of Post-Medieval Coastal Settlement in Ulster
Investigator Wes Forsythe
This project is concerned with establishing a baseline survey of nucleated post-medieval settlement (‘clachans’) around the coastline of Ulster. Using cartographic evidence, a list of 367 coastal sites was drawn up for inspection. These were distributed across four counties and as such included a range of cultural influences and experiences. Although clachan sites are found around the entire coastline, differences in architecture and internal arrangements imply a diversity of social and economic experience.
The survey work also included any evidence of coastal economies in the vicinity of the clachans and these ranged from salt works to flax processing and food processing. The work established a number of sites as particularly promising with regard to long-term settlement and answering fundamental questions about the changing nature of settlement in post-medieval Ireland. It also provided a valuable snapshot of the degree of survival of these sites to the present day. The project is funded by the British Academy.
Forsythe, W. (2012) Improving landlords and planned settlements in eighteenth-century Ireland: William Burton Conygham and the fishing station on Inis Mhic an Doirn, Co. Donegal. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 112C, 1-32.
Forsythe, W. (2013) The measures and materiality of Improvement in Ireland. International Journal of Historical Archaeology 17 (1) 72-93.