Breaking Ground, Finding Graves Vols.1& 2

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'Breaking Ground, Finding Graves' is a two-volume monograph that gathers together over 400 reports on excavations of burials carried out by or on behalf of the National Museum of Ireland between 1927 and 2006. Although many burial sites excavated by the Museum's staff have been published already, a significant number have remained unpublished until now. None of the sites reported here were selected for excavation. They were all found accidentally by people engaged in some form of earth-moving activity, from changing the position of a shrub in a garden at Lisnakill, Co. Waterford, to semi-industrial activity in quarries such as Matrinstown, Co. Meath. The monograph is structures chronologically. The earliest burials date from the Neolithic, through the Bronze Age and Iron Age to the early medieval and post-medieval periods. Those sites for which little or no detail is available or which were not inspected are collated in the form of an inventory. Brief introductions to each chapter are intended to place the reports within the wider context of the burial practices of the period in question. Each report includes an introduction, a description of the grave(s), descriptions of objects, comment, a report on human remains and any other relevant specialist reports. Osteological reports commissioned for many of the sites provide extraordinary new information on diet, disease and causes of death over a period of almost 5,000 years.The monograph also includes some 113 specially commissioned radiocarbon dates from 74 sites and is illustrated with some 412 location maps and site plans, 239 charts/tables and 130 photographs. Volume 1 covers the Neolithic and Bronze Age. Volume 2 covers the Iron Age, early medieval, post-medieval and later periods. It also includes an inventory of sites where human remains have been recorded. Mary Cahill, the former Keeper in the Irish Antiquities Division of the National Museum of Ireland, specialises in the Bronze Age, particularly the archeology of prehistoric goldwork and the history of collections. Maeve Sikora, the current Keeper of the Irish Antiquities Division of the National Museum of Ireland, specialises in early medieval collections and the archaeology of burial in Ireland.