Dr. David McGuinness
Independent Archaeological Researcher
'An embarassment of riches' - Forms of barrows encountered by the Prehistoric Burial Mounds of County Westmeath Project, 2012-2016
Initiated in 2012 by Westmeath County Council Heritage Forum and Westmeath Archaeological and Historical Society, the Prehistoric Burial Mounds of County Westmeath Project has over four seasons encountered a bewildering variety of barrow forms, of which some belong to well-known types, some represent unusual variations on known types, and others appear to fall outside any exisiting systems of barrow classification. The idiosyncratic relationship between some barrows and the local topography means that these monuments are effectively unique in form. There are even indications that the boundaries between some types of barrow and the broad category of earthen ringfort can be blurred, and, perhaps tellingly, both types are frequently named ráth in medieval texts and folk tradition.