Last Saturday, Members of Dungarvan & Lismore, Adopt a Monument Group explored Dungarvan's Ice Age past when they visited the long running Dungarvan Valley Caves Project (supported by the Heritage Council).
The limestone area between Dungarvan and Cappagh valley has over 25 caves including Dungarvan's well known Shandon Caves. The group met Dr. Coilin O'Drisceoil from Kilkenny and his University of Oxford-based colleagues Drs. Richard Jennings and Simon Collcutt who have been digging small trial pits in search of the remains of what might be Ireland's earliest people.
What the Dungarvan Caves Project aims to do is to see if people were here during the Old Stone Age or Paleolithic Age. The Dungarvan Valley is the place to look because the area has caves and was part of a green fringe on an otherwise ice-covered Ireland. It is also known that Wooly Mammoths, Wild Horses and Reindeer were available here for hunting. Archaeologists have long been puzzled by the lack of Paleolithic remains in Ireland and many are watching this project with great interest
A 2009 report from the Dungarvan Valley Caves Project was included in Decies: The Journal of the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society. It makes for interesting reading and outlines some of the science behind the Dungarvan Valley Caves Project.
More information about the Heritage Council's Adopt a Monument Programme, including information on the Gallow's Hill, Dungarvan and Roundhill, Lismore elements of the project can be can be found online.
Photos by John Foley Images