November 2011
Frank Prendergast, College of Engineering, DIT & School of Archaeology, UCD

The national monument at Lismullin was discovered by archaeologists in 2007 during topsoil stripping for a section of the M3 motorway. The most significant finding was a series of buried sockets that indicated the former presence of a large c. 80 m diameter multi-ring structure with a formal entrance avenue and other pit and post features.

This is now described as a rare example of a timber post-built ceremonial enclosure. It is securely dated to the Iron Age in c. 600 BC, and to have had a probable ritual and ceremonial purpose rather than a burial or habitation function. This lecture examined the role of astronomy in prehistory and then focus on how geo-spatial analysis of the excavation data was used to unlock the construction method and the likely use and role of the monument at Lismullin in the Iron Age.


Frank Prendergast is a chartered geodetic surveyor, practitioner, and Head of the Department of Spatial Information Sciences, DIT. His interests in archaeology stem from an undergraduate dissertation relating to the archaeoastronomy of the Boyne Valley tombs. He has done research work on Newgrange as well as on Ireland’s prehistoric stone rows and stone circles. He is a contributor to TV and radio programmes on the subject for the BBC and RTE. In addition to being involved with scientific societies in archaeoastronomy at a European and world level, he holds a masters degree from TCD and has recently submitted a PhD to the School of Archaeology UCD entitled ‘Linked Landscapes – Spatial, Archaeoastronomical and Social Network Analysis of the Irish Passage Tomb Tradition’.