Rock Art

Rock art is carved, drawn, painted, engraved, or incised imagery on natural rock surfaces. It appears to be a global phenomenon of different forms and from different periods. This ancient art has been found in caves e.g the cave paintings of southern France and northern Spain, in the Neolithic passage tombs and the Bronze Age Atlantic Europe discoveries.

Open air rock art found in Ireland was a widespread practice across Atlantic Europe and usually found on rocky artcrops occuring mainly on the coastal and peninsular areas e.g areas of denser concentration found in the Cork/Kerry regions but examples have been found in e.g Carlow, Louth, Wicklow, Monaghan, Fermanagh and Donegal. In Ireland it is though to date to the Later Neolithic / Early Bronze Age period (c3000-1500 BC).


Bogbody Phenomena

Bogs and humans have had a complex relationship. Water is thought to have held an otherworldly liminal boundary for prehistoric man which explains the various possibly votive offerings that have been found. Bog butter, weaponry, wooden teritorial markers perhaps e.g Ralaghan Man, Co. Cavan (late Bronze Age) and human remains, possibly sacrificial.

Both bodies illustrated here have been dated to the Iron Age. A number of bogbodies have been found on ancient sovereign boundaries suggestive of royal sacrifices. Both were in good health and well fed. The hands of Old Croghan Man showed no signs of manual labour and the resin hair gel on Clonycavan Man was found to come from France or Spain, not available to a commoner you would assume.

Both can be seen at the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin.

Photos by the artist seanna o'boyle-irvine

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