Achill Island Field Report 10: Recording the Steering Assembly on the Successful Trawler Wreck, 2-3 July 2006

Last year we spend a significant amount of time recording the wreckage of the Successful, a late 19th/early 20th century fishing trawler (see Field Report 4). It is a very complex shipwreck, and we were unable to fully document it in one field season. The fact that we can only work on the wreck at low tide makes this task even more challenging. This year, we have re-visited the wreck and cleared it of a year’s growth of kelp and seaweed, in order to continue its documentation.

Achill Island Field Report 9: Arrival of Kevin and Lecture in Westport, 28-29 June 2006

On the 28th I’m driving to Westport to pick up Kevin Cullen, an archaeology graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is Irish-born, but emigrated to America when he was young, and it has been eight years since he’s been back to Ireland. He is also a diver, and will be participating in the project through the end of July.

Achill Island Field Report 8: Archaeological Tour of Clare Island, 25 June 2006

A few days ago, my landlady Sheila McNamara brought to my attention an announcement in the Mayo News about a free archaeological tour of Clare Island being hosted by the Clew Bay Archaeological Trail ( This trail, which encompasses 21 archaeological sites including megalithic tombs, Bronze Age cooking sites and promontory forts, medieval churches, and a 16th century tower house, was set up to introduce visitors to the rich archaeological heritage of the southern portion of Clew Bay. It stretches 35 km from Westport through Murrisk (west of Westport on the southern shore of Clew Bay), further west to Louisburgh, and then (via ferry) to Clare Island.

Achill Island Field Report 7: St. John’s Eve: Bonfire Night, 23 June 2006

After another low tide recording the Successful wreck at Achill Sound, I am looking forward to participating in a traditional Irish event, St. John’s Eve, also known as Bonfire Night. School kids and adults alike can’t hide their excitement over the upcoming conflagration. At various locations throughout Achill, and over the entire country, massive piles of refuse are collected and, around midnight, will be set alight in a series of huge bonfires.

Prehistoric Artifacts Found In Blue Hill Bay, Maine

Fishermen Interviews by East Carolina University Graduate Reveal Locations of Prehistoric Artifacts and Shipwrecks In June 2006, Franklin Price (M.A.) of Bernard, Maine, and recent graduate of East Carolina University, received a grant from IMH and the Fund for the Preservation of Maine's Maritime Heritage ( interview fishermen about the locations of shipwrecks and submerged prehistoric sites in Blue Hill Bay, Maine. "Fishermen know their coasts and fishing grounds. The fishing community is as likely as any to know the locations of cultural resources within their fishing areas," says Price. In fact, scallop draggers from Blue Hill Bay in the 1980s and 1990s recovered stone biface tools from depths of up to nearly 200 feet below sea level. A recent interview by Price revealed other remarkable examples of Native American gouges and a spear point that were hauled by a Blue Hill Bay scallop dragger from approximately 20-30 meters below sea level. These new finds are tentatively dated to ca. 8,000 - 6,000 BP.

Achill Island Field Report 6: 19th century Ice House on Corraun, 21 June 2006

Today I have joined the Achill Archaeological Field School students for their weekly field trip, lead by Field Director Simon O Faolain and Managing Director and Field School founder Theresa McDonald. The students will be traveling to Corraun to see a number of historical and archaeological sites. Theresa has promised to show me a stone structure used as an ice house for Achill’s 19th century commercial fishing industry. This commercial marine activity was introduced to Achill by a Scotsman named Alexander Hector, who came to the island in 1855 to start a salmon-fishing venture.

Achill Island Field Report 5: Hike to the Napoleonic Tower, 19 June 2006

We’ve had a few days of bad weather, and so haven’t gotten much work done. It has made for some interesting sights, though. Here the mist creeps over the crest of the mountain and threatens to engulf a holiday home below.


We’ve had a few days of bad weather, and so haven’t gotten much work done. It has made for some interesting sights, though. Here the mist creeps over the crest of the mountain and threatens to engulf a holiday home below. 

Achill Island Field Report 4: Return to the Wreck of the Successful, 14 June 2006

Today’s plan is to visit the wreck of an old fishing trawler named the Successful. This vessel may have been originally built as early as the late nineteenth century, though it certainly operated through the first decades of the twentieth century. Around 1950 it was a derelict vessel in Westport, and it was bought by the Sweeny family of Achill Sound for only five pounds.

Achill Island Field Report 3: On to Achill, 09-12 June 06

Achill, wind-swept and bare, heavily peat-covered, with great gaunt brown mountains rising here and there, and a wild coast hammered by the Atlantic on all sides but the east, has a strange charm which everyone feels, but no one can fully explain. — Robert Lloyd Praeger, geologist

Achill Island Field Report: Discovery of the Westport Quay Wreck

The following evening we set out to the quay at low tide to look for the wreck that local historian John Mulloy told us was abandoned and exposed on the foreshore. My host Mr. Shanley has also seen this wreck, though like many people living on a historic waterfront he hasn’t given much thought to it until an archaeologist comes around asking questions about it. The weather has been sunny and beautiful, something that is not necessarily the norm in Ireland. At the end of the pier on Roman Island we see the mist shrouding Croghpatrick, a mountain with religious significance which has long drawn pilgrims to the area.

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