The next frontier - survey in the Irish sea


“Europe’s Lost Frontiers” joins IT Sligo, University College Cork, and the Irish Marine Institute to explore the lost landscapes of the Irish Sea

Over the next week the “Europe’s Lost Frontiers” research team, along with the Institute of Technology Sligo, University College Cork and the Irish Marine Institute, will undertake survey, using the Irish Marine Institute RV Celtic Explorer, to explore the extensive prehistoric submerged landscapes that exist between Ireland and Great Britain.

The evidence for early Mesolithic and Neolithic contacts between Ireland and Britain along the Atlantic coastlines is central to our understanding of settlement of the archipelago. However, our current understanding of these issues rests on terrestrial information and is undermined by the lack of data across the significant areas of inundated landscape within the Irish Sea zone. For that reason, the programme of exploration undertaken by the project is likely to provide a radically different understanding of the region’s earlier history.

To provide a context for the earliest contacts in Ireland, and the west coast of Britain, the expedition aims to recover ecofactual or archaeological evidence from marine cores, to assess current hypotheses regarding the role of Irish waters, and related inundated landscapes, in the settlement of Ireland and the broader archipelago. A key outcome of the project will also be to reconstruct the palaeo-environments of the Irish Sea using environmental data extracted directly from the sediment cores.

The conditions to carry out this work, the presence of extensive palaeo-land surfaces with supporting data, are best off the west coast of Britain and specifically in Liverpool Bay and Cardigan Bay. Up to 20 core locations will be sampled within these areas.

Cores from Liverpool Bay are from locations based on data collected by the West Coast Palaeolandscapes Project. Those from Cardigan Bay are based on legacy data and bathymetry. High-precision geophysical data will be provided at each of the core locations


Irish Sea

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