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Early Neolithic Agriculture in County Mayo, Republic of Ireland: Geoarchaeology of the Céide Fields, Belderrig, and Rathlackan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of the North Atlantic
Early online date1 May 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 1 May 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 1 May 2016
DatePublished (current) - 1 May 2016


The Céide Fields, Belderrig, and Rathlackan are extensive early Neolithic field systems in County Mayo, Republic of Ireland. The Céide Fields are thought to be the earliest field systems in Europe, and as such they are listed as a potential World Heritage site. For this project, the buried soils of the 3 sites were analyzed in order to determine the nature and extent of the prehistoric land use within the field systems. The aims were twofold: to identify material added as fertilizer, and to determine whether the land was used for pasture or for arable agriculture. Soil phosphates and bile acids from the Neolithic soils indicate low levels of input of herbivore dung, and also some human fecal material in the Céide Fields. The results suggest that the soils may have been fertilized with animal manure.

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  • JONA-2016-30 -complete (1) (1)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Eagle Hill Institute at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 7 MB, PDF document


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