Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Kevin Kearney and William O'Brien
Proceedings of The Royal Irish Academy Section C-Archaeology Celtic Studies History Linguistics Literature
Palynological investigation of a later Bronze Age copper mine at Derrycarhoon in south-west Ireland
Optional Fields
Bronze Age, copper mine, palynology, environment
This paper presents the results of a recent palynological analysis at a prehistoric mine in the Mizen Peninsula of West Cork. Archaeological survey and excavation confirm Derrycarhoon is the first copper mine in Ireland dated to the later Bronze Age, c.14001000 BC (O'Brien 2019). The production there represents the end of a mining tradition in the south-west region that began a millennium or so earlier at Ross Island, Co. Kerry. The palynological study at Derrycarhoon examines the contemporary environment of the early mine, to understand its effect on local vegetation during the later second millennium BC. This environmental impact was reduced by the small scale of ore extraction over several centuries, and by a mining technology that did not significantly impact local woodland in environments where contamination from surface ore-processing was both short-lived and localised. The results add to information on the variability of environmental impacts caused by mining and metal production in prehistoric Europe. Finally, this study contributes to a wider understanding of vegetation history and anthropogenic influences during the Holocene in the West Cork region.
Grant Details