News 2012

Title: Skellig Michael Archaeological Stratigraphic Report Published
Date: 17/02/2012
Skellig Michael Archaeological Stratigraphic Report Published

17 February 2012

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Mr. Jimmy Deenihan T.D. has announced the online publication of the archaeological stratigraphic report for excavations carried out by the National Monuments Service of his Department on Skellig Michael. The report highlights the work of, Joss Lynam (1924 - 2011);

“Joss Lynam, mountaineer and engineer par excellence, not only dealt with the many engineering challenges presented by the site but also helped to resolve logistical problems relating to the excavations.”

The Minister highlighted the international significance of the island which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1996. In describing the site as “a unique example of an early medieval island monastic settlement, particularly the hermitage on the South Peak”, he indicated the fascination and curiosity of visitors and academics alike in the nature and history of the island and its inhabitants. “The importance of providing a record of the conservation and research work carried out on the island over the last 30 years with a view to broadening our knowledge of the historical significance of the island cannot be underestimated”, he said.

The Minister in welcoming this report said that “Archaeological excavations carried out by archaeologists from the National Monuments Service and on contract have been an integral part of the conservation works carried out at the early medieval monastic site on Skellig Michael since the early 1980s.” He outlined that this report contains full details of features and artefacts uncovered during the excavations, supported by numerous drawings and photographs. The Minister indicated that “this information, together with the results of specialist analyses has thrown new light on the evolution of this spectacular monastery and the lives of the monks who inhabited the island between the seventh and thirteenth centuries”.

The Minister went on to say that “This is the first step in the Skellig Michael publication programme and a series of volumes is planned which will present the final results of the architectural, historical, archaeological and engineering works carried out at this World Heritage Site”.

The Minister thanked the Office of Public Works, who is responsible for the management of the World Heritage site, for its continued commitment to the work carried out on Skellig Michael, particularly in light of the challenging environment in which investigation and conservations works are carried out.

The report detailing the results of these excavations has now been completed and is available below. This report is titled Archaeological Stratigraphic Report: Excavations 1986-2010. The authors of the report are E. Bourke, A.R. Hayden, A. Lynch

Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry: The Monastery and South Peak. Archaeological stratigraphic report: excavations 1986–2010

This report is the full account of all the archaeological works carried out within the monastery and South Peak structures. It contains stratigraphic details with supporting plans, sections and photographs; a finds catalogue with descriptions and interpretations by relevant specialists; the raw data and results of palaeoenvironmental analyses and the osteoarchaeological analyses of human remains; a full account of the faunal remains; and the radiocarbon dates. The report concludes with an interim statement of the site’s significance. The purpose of this report is to make available the details of the archaeological works undertaken to date, in advance of the planned multidisciplinary publication programme.

Download : Skellig Michael. Archaeological stratigraphic report -Introduction [PDF 1MB]

Download : Skellig Michael. Archaeological stratigraphic report - Full Report [PDF 25MB]

Skellig Michael Safe Access Guide

Skellig Michael is a World Heritage Site and is unique. It has special archaeological, historical and spiritual significance in addition to being a delicate wilderness habitat. Please help us to preserve this special place at all times.

Download Skellig Safe Access Guide [562 KB PDF]