Geophysical investigation of the site of the former monastic settlement, Clonard, County Meath, Ireland

Authors

  • Paul J. Gibson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Environmental Geophysics Unit, Department of Geography, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Republic of Ireland
    • Environmental Geophysics Unit, Department of Geography, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Republic of Ireland.
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  • Dorothy M. George

    1. Environmental Geophysics Unit, Department of Geography, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Republic of Ireland
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Abstract

Clonard, in County Meath, Ireland was a major ecclesiastical centre from the early sixth century to the twelfth century and buildings associated with the monastery were in existence until the late eighteenth century. However, today no extant buildings or features associated with the monastery are known. The geophysical investigation undertaken in this project has uncovered many anomalies which may be related to the monastic settlement at Clonard. A significant number of linear anomalies have been detected east of St Finian's church using magnetic gradiometry and twin electrode resistance surveying. Many of these anomalies are probably field boundaries; however, a much greater diversity of geophysical responses is located south and west of St Finian's church. A subsquare enclosure of 60 m sides is adjacent to a 300 m long palaeochannel. A fine network of intersecting low resistance anomalies probably represent former artificial drainage channels. Three large areas associated with anomalous magnetic readings were located which might indicate sites of human activity. In addition, there are four distinct zones which have large concentrations of high resistance values suggesting the presence of walls or buildings. Resistivity and ground-penetrating radar depth slices show that one of these zones has characteristics which indicate the presence of an east–west aligned building approximately 7 m wide in a north–south direction and about 15 m long in an east–west direction. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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