"Some of the richest archaeological resources are found in estuarine zones around Ireland, and these rival in quality any comparable environment in Europe. In this project, the candidate will exploit the unique archaeological potential found in estuarine zones around Ireland, specifically the Fergus Estuary, where there are now known to survive some of the most spectacularly well-preserved prehistoric and medieval fisheries in Europe, but which are likely to be destroyed within the next 10 years. She will employ a holistic approach to attain high-precision chronology from tree-ring sequences locked in surviving wooden structures in these environments. This analysis will enable a comprehensive understanding of changes over time and of people’s decisions in terms of form, structure and life-spans of wooden fishing structures and their repair and abandonment year by year – all at a chronological resolution normally impossible to discern in conventional archaeology. The candidate will develop techniques in non-destructive analysis of the material, thus maintaining and enhancing the candidate’s position at the forefront of advances in this field.
A team in UCD School of Archaeology are currently investigating these estuarine remains. The project objectives will be achieved through integrating tree-ring analysis into the stratigraphical, environmental, tree-species and morphological analyses of the structures. The methodologies and data sets produced by the candidate will have a value at a global archaeological level (these sites are amongst the best surviving examples known from Europe, North America and Asia) as they will demonstrate how we can investigate past people’s decisions and actions relating to rapidly changing environmental circumstances at a very fine-grained, close chronological scale. This project will provide one of the key tools through which past human-environment interactions can be modelled at varying chronological scale of seasons, years and decades."
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