Achill Archaeological Field School are delighted to announce the publication of our 2014 excavation at the ‘pony graveyard’ in Dooagh in The Journal of Irish Archaeology (Vol. XXV, 2016). The article is co-authored by site director Stuart Rathbone, osteology David Blauvelt and Dr Theresa McDonald.

In 2014 heavy storms around Achill exposed a peat bed at Dooagh Beach with some 26 large pits cut into it. Exposed bone visible in the pits indicated that the area was associated with the disposal of farm animals. In May of 2014 Stuart Rathbone directed the excavation of two of the pits at the site, discovering the articulated remains of two ponies. The bones were analysed in detail by David Blauvelt. The article gives an account of the excavation of two pony burial pits in Dooagh, and discusses the wider context of the ‘pony graveyard’. It further provides a detailed analysis of the pony bones, outlining what they can tell us about the animals’ work life on Achill in the late 19th and early 20th century.

  • Rathbone, S., Blauvelt, D., and McDonald, T. 2016. Excavation of a farm animal burial ground at Dooagh Beach, Achill Island, Co. Mayo, The Journal of Irish Archaeology, Vol. XXV, 123-140.