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Posts Tagged ‘Archaeology’

Archaeologists and antiquarians are very keen on typologies and sometimes in their attempt to scientifically record sites they unintentionally create beautiful images. This series features cairns or stone mounds from counties Mayo and Waterford which were photographed in the 1930s. Any discussion of typologies and photography has to mention Bernd and Hilla Becher whose industrial imagery transformed the mundane through repetition. 

The human figures in the first of these Irish images gives a sense of scale and the unknown photographer appears to have taken the shots from a similar distance in order to aid comparison. The photographs are small prints on Velox paper, however, the detail is amazing and results in landscapes which can be appreciated without any archaeological knowledge. 


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This is one of twelve photographs of Irish antiquities which I bought on Ebay. It shows Labbacallee wedge tomb (also known as the Hag’s Head) which is located near Glanworth, County Cork. This site was excavated and written up by Liam Price in 1934 (see Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, V. 43, Section C, no. 4, 1936).

A note on the back of the photograph states that it was taken “before Price’s excavation”. Other sites are named in the photos as follows: “Carn near Cong, County Mayo”;  “Harristown, County Waterford”; “Dolmen near Carlow” and “Dolmen near Wexford”; “Cnuachan Carn near Dungarven, County Waterford”.

Note the amateur archaeologist’s shock of hair and pioneer pin!

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