A team of archaeologists and heritage scientists from NUI Galway, UC Cork and the UK universities of Bradford and Aberdeen have been awarded an IRC-AHRC Digital Humanities grant to develop a research network called ‘Hidden Heritages’. The aim of this network is to explore new and innovative ways of ‘Communicating hidden archaeological monuments and heritage landscapes to different audiences through advanced digital technologies’. 

This is very much a project of its time that is minded of the potential of archaeological landscapes  and monuments, and cultural heritage more generally, to enrich people’s lives. 

Led by Professor Liz FitzPatrick (Galway) and Professor Andrew Wilson (Bradford), the team in collaboration with partners in the heritage sector and creative industries will address the challenges of revealing, interpreting and in particular communicating to diverse audiences the hidden aspects of archaeological landscapes, monuments and associated artefacts (spanning prehistory to the late medieval period) using cutting edge digital documentation and visualisation technologies.

Digital technologies will be trialled at a range of contrasting sites, including: Rathgall hillfort Co. Wicklow, a ceremonial centre in the Late Bronze Age, and at four sites within the cultural landscape of the Burren, Co Clare − Turlough Hill, a place of Neolithic and Bronze Age gatherings, Killinaboy-Creevagh, a Chalcolithic−Early Bronze Age landscape of farms and ritual monuments, Caherconnell, a long-lived medieval settlement enclosure, and Doolin, the site of a late medieval brehon law school in a coastal landscape. 

The Burren team are Dr Stefan Bergh, Dr Michelle Comber, Mr Joe Fenwick, Prof. Liz FitzPatrick, Dr Carleton Jones (NUI Galway). The Rathgall team are Dr Katharina Becker (UC Cork), Dr James O’Driscoll (University of Aberdeen). The heritage scientists are Prof. Andrew Wilson, Prof. Chris Gaffney, Mr. Tom Sparrow (University of Bradford). 

Central to the aim of the network is a focus on outreach – developing innovative and effective means of communicating the processes and results of our work with these landscapes, monuments and artefacts, both to those visiting in person as well as to the virtual visitor, ensuring accessibility to a socially diverse and inclusive public audience. Findings will be shared through an interactive website, workshops and a public symposium.