Location: Ballintober, Roscommon, Ireland
Welcome to the fifth season of our Castles in Communities project! Ireland is an amazing place and Ballintober could not be a more quintessential archaeological experience. Imagine a small village with a big beautiful castle that everyone wants to learn more about. The project consists of students from California mixed with anyone else who wants to come study a castle and then eat and enjoy music in the pubs, followed by a walk home and a warm fire. We just published a great article in the magazine Archaeology Ireland - check it out!
Our project is an examination of castles in communities from past to present that is focusing our 2019 research on Ballintober Castle in County Roscommon, Ireland. The archaeological and anthropological field school project this year is a student focused investigation of the ancient and modern medieval Irish landscape. Researchers are interested in colonial encounters between the Anglo-Norman occupiers and the indigenous Gaelic-Irish settlers.
The archaeology in 2019 will continue large cuttings within the castle to expose early construction phases. Exciting new work will look at the recently discovered deserted village adjacent to the castle. Survey will continue ground-penetrating radar and magnetometry inside the castle and in the nearby townlands. Proposed test pitting of medieval features to include house plots, agricultural features and a possible crannog. Further systematic foot survey and mapping of surrounding landscape features such as ring forts will continue.
The cultural anthropology and folklore component will continue to trace a community's relationship with a castle through time. Examples of this research will be the gathering of folklore via interviews with townspeople.
To download an application and find out more information go to the Department of Anthropology website at Foothill College. http://www.foothill.edu/anthropology/
STUDENT BLOG http://castlesincommunities.blogspot.com
For a quick presentation about the project and your experience see this Youtube video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYC6MvHe3CA&feature=youtu.be
For more detailed archaeological information about the castle: See this brochure put out by the Roscommon CountyCouncil
Also Niall Brady's Castle Studies Trust publication http://www.castlestudiestrust.org/Ballintober-Castle.html
Our Facebook page is very informative with many more photos as well https://www.facebook.com/castles.in.communities
Period(s) of Occupation: Early and Late Medieval Ireland
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 5 weeks
Room and Board Arrangements
Foothill Program students will be residing in several locations for the month. Most of the students will want to stay in the village in rented homes which was a very special experience last year. In addition, we are renting the carriage homes in the manorial estate of Clonalis which is still owned by the O'Conor family (see clonalis.com for a valuable historical perspective and the http://clonalis.com/self-catering/). Clonalis is located just next to the large town of Castlerea, in which we will also have an active presence throughout our stay however it is 10 minutes away from the castle. As indicated, we will be renting homes next the castle and being directly engaged with the community of Ballintober where the castle is located. Ballintober is a small village located a few miles away in the countryside. Students will be living and working with the people of Ballintober. Food is a mix of local Irish cooks and group meals prepared by students and staff. Vegetarians are welcome! The area of study is located in the County of Roscommon which is centrally located in the west of Ireland near to Sligo and Galway. Castlerea is on train lines and bus lines which can be used on free days to explore. As you will discover, Castlerea and Ballintober are wonderful places to spend a month -- small, open and enjoyable.
Brady, Niall. Architectural and topographical survey of the standing remains of Ballintober Castle, Co. Roscommon, Republic of Ireland. 2015. http://www.castlestudiestrust.org/Ballintober-Castle.html
Barry, Terry. The Archaeology Medieval Ireland. Routledge, 2002.
O'Conor, Kieran. The Archaeology of Medieval Rural Settlement in Ireland, Discovery Programme Monograph 3, Dublin. 1998