The Western Stone Forts Project: Excavations at Dún Aonghasa and Dún Eoghanachta

Claire Cotter, The Discovery Programme, 2013

Data copyright © Claire Cotter unless otherwise stated

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Claire Cotter, The Discovery Programme (2013) The Western Stone Forts Project: Excavations at Dún Aonghasa and Dún Eoghanachta [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]


The Western Stone Forts Project, Volume 3, by Claire Cotter.

Dún Aonghasa is one of the best-known archaeological monuments in the west of Ireland and stands at the cliff-edge on the island of Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands off the coast of Co. Galway. The site is a late Bronze Age hillfort built ca. 1000BC and remodelled in the early Medieval period, possibly sometime around AD 800. It has been a National Monument in state care since the late nineteenth century. The fort was excavated in 1992-1995 by Claire Cotter as part of The Western Stone Forts project, one of a number of projects set up by The Discovery Programme, a state funded archaeological research institute. The Western Stone Forts project focussed on a distinctive group of large stone forts, many of which were considered (at the time) to date to the late prehistoric period.

Dún Eoghanachta, also on Inis Mór and also a National Monument, is a much smaller stone fort and belongs to the ringfort class. A single short season of excavation carried out there in 1995 showed the fort to have built in the early Medieval period, possibly during the ninth century.

The results of both excavations have been published as

The Western Stone Forts Project: Excavations at Dún Aonghasa and Dún Eoghanachta, Volume 1 and Volume 2 by Claire Cotter. Wordwell, Dublin. 2012. 739pp, 579 illustrations.

The archives made available here make up Volume 3 of the Western Stone Forts series of publications. Two further volumes (4 & 5) associated with the Western Stone Forts project will appear in 2013. Volume 4 looks at the Aran forts as a group. Volume 5 looks at stone forts along the west coast of Ireland and in the broader Atlantic zone of northern Europe.