Actively discovering our past in the eastern Sperrins

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SIGNS and remains of our ancient past are all around us in the form of rigs, raths and ruins. These archaeological remnants give us clues as to how our ancestors utilised resources in their surroundings and how they then moulded the landscape, causing it to evolve into the scenery and structure we appreciate today.

Elements of our archaeology can be difficult to spot and interpret for the untrained eye. But the clues are there to be understood, and a little guidance is often all it takes to gain a deeper understanding of where we have come from.

To this end and to open up our archaeological past to the community, the ENVSION community heritage project at An Carn, Maghera, is organising an archaeological walk on Sunday 1st July with local archaeologist and expert, Paul McCooey. Paul will lead a guided walk up Carntogher mountain to view some of our ancient past, from the Neolithic through to the bronze and iron ages, and into the realms of historical Ireland.

Paul has led community archaeological digs in the area in the past, and this walk preludes further community archaeology in the area as part of the ENVISION and Reconciling Communities projects. ENVISION, funded by SWARD, the landfill tax and the Heritage Lottery Fund and in keeping with their objectives, aims to conserve varied aspects of heritage, including oral traditions, rural skills and natural heritage. It aims to promote active involvement and learning and promote heritage to a wider audience. Reconciling Communities is funded by the International Fund for Ireland and the Rural Development Council, and it based between Carntogher and Kilcronaghan community groups, in Maghera and Tobermore respectively.

Pól Mac Cana, Project Coordinator of ENVISION commented, “It is only by attempting to understand our past, and in documenting the heritage that we have in the present, that we can appreciate the wealth of our heritage assets and determine the best means of carrying them forward for the benefit of future generations. Archaeology in particular can inform us as to how our ancestors interpreted and utilised our landscape for the benefit – and sometimes the detriment – of the wider environment. This gives important lessons to us today looking forward.”

“This walk with Paul McCooey will act as a prelude to community work with volunteers to uncover future information from other archaeological sites in the Carntogher area. All who are interested are invited to get in contact and get involved.”

The walk will take place from 2-6pm on Sunday 1st July 2012, meeting at An Carn. More information from Pól Mac Cana, Project Coordinator, An Carn: pol.maccana@ancarn.org; 028 7954 9978. The walk will be bilingual.

This event is part of Féile Charn Tóchair at Tirkane, Maghera (1 – 15 July). Details of festival events are available from Claire Doherty, An Carn: claire.doherty@ancarn.org; 028 7954 9978.