Caves – The Facts and The Folklore

Fine below a Press Release for the Irish Cave Archaeology Project.

Over 700 caves are dotted across the limestone regions of Ireland and may hold archaeological secrets dating back as far as 10,000 years.  An exciting new project run by leading cave archaeologist, Dr Marion Dowd of IT Sligo, is set to explore and document the facts and folklores of Irish caves.

The ‘Irish Cave Archaeology Project’ is prompted by finds already made, including human bones ranging from small body parts to full skeletons of men, women and children; jewellery made from shell, amber and bone; the remains of sacrificed newborn calves, lambs and piglets.  Folklore traditions reveal that caves were seen as places of ghosts and ghouls, gateways to the Otherworld or a home for a supernatural woman that preyed on mortal men.  With uses varying from burial chambers to places to live, caves in Ireland have a diverse history and usage.  For a cave archaeologist, this rich heritage represents a feast of untapped artefacts waiting to be discovered.

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