A new LiDAR survey of the ancient Hill of Uisneach in Co. Westmeath has been undertaken. A press announcement about the survey was released this week, with a single photograph from the new LiDAR imagery.
I took the liberty of annotating today's newly-released LiDAR image from the Hill of Uisneach, to show the location of all the known/recorded monuments and archaeological features. As you can see, there's a lot more there than meets the eye! LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) produces images of the surface of the earth in minute detail, often revealing denuded monuments or features that are not seen in regular satellite or aerial imagery.
However, only a combination of techniques, including geophysics and aerial/satellite reconnaissance along with the LiDAR, will ultimately reveal everything that's "hidden" from view. Notwithstanding this fact, it is more than likely that the new LiDAR survey will reveal previously hidden or unknown monuments and archaeological features.
Uisneach has been a sacred hill since the Neolithic. The earliest known monument on the hill, St. Patrick's Bed, is in fact a megalithic passage-tomb probably dating to around 5,000 years ago or so.
I am looking forward to seeing more detailed results of this latest LiDAR survey. It should be interesting to see what it reveals!
This survey was funded by National Monuments Service - Archaeology, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage through their Community Monuments Fund and was undertaken by Bluesky International.
The original announcement can be found on the Westmeath Heritage Facebook page.
Enter the ‘Ancient Sites’ section of this blog for a fascinating and wide-ranging exploration of the megalithic and sacred sites of Ireland. Find out all about the Stone Age and prehistoric ruins and learn more about the possible functions and alignments of these sites. Visit the great temples of Brú na Bóinne, the Hill of Tara, the ancient cairns of Loughcrew among many others.
Explore the ancient myths, legends and folklore of Ireland and their meaning. Read the epic Táin Bó Cuailnge, or the place-name myths in the Dindshenchas. Learn about how the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Milesians came to Ireland and how the early texts describe various invasions of prehistoric Éire. Hear about Fionn and the Fianna, and discover how some myths might contain information about astronomy and the stars.
There is no doubt that the ancient megalith builders had a substantial knowledge of the movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars through the heavens. Learn more about just how complex and impressive this knowledge was. There is evidence that the people of the Neolithic knew about the 19-year Metonic cycle of the moon, as well as being able to predict eclipses.