Dún Ailinne Royal Site

By February 19, 2019 January 4th, 2021 Research Projects

In 2016 the IAFS provided logistical support to excavations at the site of Dún Ailinne, a large circular enclosure, located on the Hill of Knockaulin Co. Kildare. The excavations at Dún Ailinne are directed by Dr. Susan Johnston of George Washington University. Documentary sources traditionally refer to Dún Ailinne as one of four Irish ‘royal’ sites – important pre-Christian social and political centres. Although previous excavations in the 1960s indicate the site has seen activity since the Neolithic period, the site’s archaeological assemblage is dominated by Iron Age artefacts indicating it was an important centre of ceremonial and ritual activity at this time.

From 2006-2008, archaeologists from George Washington University, New York University (USA), and the National University of Ireland, Galway (Ireland) conducted geophysical surveys within the enclosure, identifying new possible features outside the footprint of the 1960s dig. New excavations in 2016 identified an enclosure – a c. 1m deep ditch – as well as animal bone and burnt posts.

The IAFS’ role on the project was to provide all logistical support including accommodation, welfare facilities, equipment, transport, Irish staffing etc. for the 2016 season.

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Johnston, S. and Wailes, B. 2007. Dún Ailinne: Excavations at an Irish Royal Site 1968-1975. University Museum Publications. Philadelphia.