What have isotopes done for Irish archaeology lately? 

AYIA Conference 2017 Poster Submisson-Won Best Poster Award!
March 11th 2017, University College Dublin
Niamh Daly (University College Cork)
Elise Alonzi (Arizona State University)
Saskia Ryan (Trinity College Dublin)

In the last decade we have seen a proliferation of isotopic studies in Irish bioarchaeology addressing questions such as paleodiet and paleomobility patterns spanning from the Neolithic to Post-Medieval periods. The Irish Isotope Research Group, an innovative multidisciplinary groupwas set up to tackle some of the limitations in this field of research in Ireland. The creation of comprehensive radiogenic strontium isotopic baseline has been established in order to provide a better understanding of the processes effecting strontium isotope variation in the natural environment, for use in the interpretation of (1) biosphere data derived from geological landscapes and (2) biogeochemical data derived from archaeological material. IMG_3827This poster will provide an overview of the important current research being undertaken by members of this group.  Comparisons within the United Kingdom and continental Europe will be illustrated to show how data from the Irish isotopic baseline research can be used when interpreting the results of isotopic analyses from other countries. Ongoing baseline research will be categorized by region, and potential areas of Ireland in need of new research will be highlighted. The data derived from this study will make an original contribution to both Irish geological and archaeological research.


SAA 81st Annual Meeting April 6th-10th 2016

Our members Niamh Daly (UCC), Elise Alonzi (ASU) &  Saskia Ryan (TCD) recently submitted a poster presentation to the Society of American Archaeologists 81st Meeting in Florida titled:

“Connecting the Baseline: Applying Radiogenic Strontium 87Sr/86Sr Isotopes to Irish Archaeological Research” 

SAA 2016 Poster Photo

Well done to Elise Alonzi (photographed here) for presenting the poster which attracted much attention on the day. New international researchers attending the SAA meetings have joined the IIRG membership.

A Non-local Source of Irish Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Gold

Dear Members,

We would like bring to your attention the publication ‘A Non-local Source of Irish Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age Gold’ by Chris Standish and colleagues, and published in the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society earlier this year. The study employs both lead isotope and major element analysis to investigate the source of the gold used for early Irish goldwork, and contrary to recent ideas concludes that a source outside of Ireland was exploited for this earliest period of goldworking. The paper also discusses the causes of lead isotope variation between different ore deposits in Ireland, so will be of interest to anyone thinking of employing such a technique to investigate the procurement of metals in Ireland. You can download the paper here, or get in contact with Chris (Department of Archaeology, University of Southampton) directly.

IIRG Dublin Meeting: 24th/25th September 2015

Dear IIRG Members,

We are pleased to invite you to a two-day research meeting on Isotopes in Archaeology, which will take place on 24th and 25th of September. This meeting is supported by the Irish Research Council New Foundations Scheme. The first day of the meeting will take place in the Trinity Enterprise Centre on Pearse Street and will focus on exploring the current state of the art with a number of invited speakers (including: Jane Evans, NIGL/University of Nottingham; Janet Montgomery, Durham University; Barra O’ Donnabhain, UCC; Paula Reimer and Svetlana Svyatko, Queen’s University Belfast; and Paul Szpak, University of British Columbia). The second day, concentrating more on issues related to working with human remains, will be held in the National Museum’s repository in Swords.

This meeting will be an opportunity for group members to showcase some of the innovative research being carried out in the field of isotopes in archaeology, with a focus on Irish case studies. It will also provide a forum to present new results and discuss the challenges and future direction of this research in Ireland.

We welcome abstracts (450 words max, graphic images permitted, 2 page maximum overall) from individuals interested in taking part. Please download the abstract template here (Abstract Template IIRG Dublin Sept 2015). The deadline for submission is September 6th, 2015. Please note there may be an opportunity to contribute to a special issue in the Journal of Irish Archaeology (JIA).
Further details will be circulated closer to the date. We look forward to your submissions and to an inspiring meeting in Dublin.

Best wishes,
Quentin Crowley and the IIRG meeting organising committee

Andy Halpin, Niamh Daly, Saskia Ryan & Thomas Kador