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‘Idols and Unclean Things’: A one-day conference and photographic exhibition on The Gortnacrannagh Figure and its context

20 August, 10am - 5pm

Rathcroghan Visitor Centre

  • Tulsk, Castlerea
  • F45 HH51
  • Co. Roscommon

Rathcroghan Visitor Centre, in association with Roscommon County Council, Roscommon NRDO, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Archaeological Management Solutions (AMS), is delighted to be able to host a one-day conference and photographic exhibition, exploring the Gortnacrannagh figure and its context.

An exciting archaeological discovery was announced in autumn of 2021, with the discovery of an eight-foot-tall wooden figure in reclaimed wetlands to the north-east of Tulsk village, Co. Roscommon. This Iron Age artefact was uncovered by archaeologists from AMS during work on the N5 Road Project.

The Gortnacrannagh Idol, as the find was dubbed, is a 1,600-year-old wooden sculpture, cut from the split trunk of an oak tree. It is thought to have been deliberately deposited in the wetlands. In addition to the idol, researchers discovered animal remains and a dagger, suggesting that the site may have been used for animal sacrifice for the worship of a pre-Christian deity of late-Iron Age Ireland.

This fascinating discovery will now be the subject of a one-day conference, designed to glean insights into the artefact itself, as well as its wider significance. This conference will be blended event, with in-person attendance, and online streaming via a platform to be confirmed in due course.

The keynote lecture, and launch of the replica Gortnacrannagh figure, will be delivered by Dr. Melanie Giles, University of Manchester, with talks by Dr. Katharina Becker (UCC), Dr. Eve Campbell (AMS), Dr. Daniel Curley (RVC), Dr. Ben Geary (UCC), Cathy Moore (Archaeological and Built Heritage) and Dr. Ros Ó Maoldúin (AMS).

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