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IQUA's 2016 Annual Symposium


This will take place on Friday November 25th (10.00am to 5.00pm) in the Geological Society of Ireland's Lecture Theatre, Beggar's Bush, Dublin 4.


This year's symposium theme is entitled, "Early Human occupation of Ireland and will feature a range of speakers from Ireland and the UK describing the environment of Ireland at the time and the various stages of arrival in the archaeological context.


Speakers list and topics:

Dr. Richard Jennings (Liverpool John Moore's University): Overview of Irish palaeolithic and early occupation of western europe

Prof. Dan Bradley (Trinity College Dublin): Ancient Genomics

Dr. Ruth Carden (National Museum of Ireland): New evidence from old bones

Dr. Bettina Stefanini (Maynooth University): Overview of floral landscape at time of human arrival

Prof. Robin Edwards (Trinity College Dublin): Sea-Level post-LGM and potential land bridges

Dr. Kieran Westley (University of Southampton): Submerged archaeological sites

Dr. Graeme Warren (University College Dublin): Mesolithic Ireland

Dr Jessica Smyth (University College Dublin): Early Neolithic Ireland

Post-Symposium presentation:

Tom Deane (Trinity College Dublin) will give a short presentation on the dos and don'ts concerning publicising your own work or being interviewed by the media.


Registration is from 9.30 – 10.00am (pre-registration is not required). Attendance fee (€20/€10 for current members/student members; €30/€15 for non-members/student non-members).


This year’s symposium will include a poster session. Any members who wish to display a poster please contact Benjamin Thébaudeau ( for more information.






The 2016 IQUA Annual Field Meeting

2016 field trip group


Irish Quaternary Association Autumn meeting 2016

Dates:30 September to 2 October 2016

Venue: Lady Gregory Hotel, Gort, Co. Galway


Reconstructing the Burren Landscape

Over the course of the first weekend in October, thirty-seven intrepid landscape enthusiasts traversed the Burren as part of the annual Irish Quaternary Association (IQUA) fieldtrip.  The group consisted of amateurs, professionals, academics and students, all interested in delving into ancient landscape histories.  The weekend fieldtrip was organized by members of the

Galway Geological Association (GGA).
On Friday evening Pete Coxon (Trinity College) described interglacial deposits found along the Boleyneendorish River, north west of Gort and examined first by Kinahan and Melville in the late 1800s and subsequently by Farrington, Mitchell, Jessen and Watts.  The work conducted near Gort was a seminal piece of interglacial research. On Saturday morning the group climbed Turlough Hill with its spectacular views across Galway Bay to look at  the large straight-sided summit cairn and hear about the enigmatic labyrinthine enclosure and c. 160 structural foundations with Ros Ó Maold
úin (NUI Galway).  The climb consists of short but tough hands-on climbs which all participants adroitly mastered.  Maria Long (Ecologist) described the unique plant biodiversity, how the botanical landscape is altering as a result of changes in farming, land abandonment and climate change, and the challenge of keeping the Burren a living landscape – one vibrant with human, plant and wild animal life. In the afternoon David Drew (Trinity College) and Colin Bunce (Burren Outdoor Education Centre) led the group around the Carran and Kilcorney-Meggagh depression, an area some 16 km2 enclosed by the 140 m contour, posing many interesting questions about its formation, drainage and the very shallow sediment deposits. We finished up in the Carran Field Study Centre looking at artefacts from Fanore with Michael Lynch. On the way back to Gort, Jenni Roche (Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership) described the dynamics and longevity of a relict Scots Pine population at Rockforest Lough.  Her talk was fittingly framed by a spectacular sun-set.

On Sunday the group visited a very evocative, mist shrouded Poulnabrone Portal Tomb with talks from Joanna Nolan (Archaeologist), David Drew and Maria Long.  This iconic megalithic monument was excavated in 1986 and 1988 by Anne Lynch and reanalyzed in her 2014 book.  Excavated bone fragments suggest burials of at least 19 adults and 17 children, while a further 42 artefacts and 126 pottery shards were recovered.  A Mesolithic shell midden site in Fanore More was the next stop with archaeologist Michael Lynch.  Shell and burnt stone found directly above the limestone and beneath a storm beach confirm its early origin.  Excavations revealed a stone axe, and large quantities of shale, chert and sandstone flakes suggesting axe manufacturing functions as well as shellfish harvesting.  The final stop was Polsallagh Bay where Mike Simms (National Museums, Northern Ireland) and Eamon Doyle (Burren Geopark) outlined the geological and Quaternary history of the Burren.  Polsallagh bay appears to represent the seaward end of a shallow valley extending inland for a kilometre, much of which is overlain by glacial debris. Various glacial features (stepped profile, plucked limestone blocks, poorly sorted clay-boulder matrix, glacial striations) suggest that the valley predates at least the last glacial advance.

A really fascinating and enjoyable weekend generated many questions and fond memories that will keep participants occupied over the course of the coming winter months.The guest speakers contributed articles for a fieldguide, totaling 80 pages (Nolan J. & Randolph C. (2016) The Burren Co. Clare. Irish Quaternary Association Fieldguide No. 33).
Print and pdf copies of this and guides from previous excursions may be purchased on the IQUA website at of IQUA is open to everyone and details can be found at  The next IQUA event is the 2016 Annual Symposium which will take place on Friday November 25th in the Geological Society of Ireland, Beggar's Bush, Dublin 4. This year's symposium theme is entitled, "Early Human occupation of Ireland”and will feature a range of speakers from Ireland and the UK. Additionally IQUA will host the XX INQUA Congress in Ireland in 2019 in the Convention Centre Dublin.  The congress and associated field excursionswill showcase the Irish landscape, promote Ireland’s research reputation and attract world-class scientists to the country.

Catherine Dalton (President)

sunset at Rockforest



INQUA 2019 Dublin

IQUA is pleased to announce that our bid to host the INQUA 2019 Congress in Dublin has been successful. Check out our dedicated INQUA 2019 page outlining aspects of our bid, which we'll update frequently. We thank everyone for their support during the bidding process.


Please also feel free to stop by our INQUA 2019 Facebook page for news and updates and other information on the Irish Quaternary, as well as our INQUA 2019 Twitter page. Alternatively, here's our INQUA 2019 bid flier, or just click on the image above.


Update: INQUA 2019 Field Excursions, 2nd Phase Call. Thank you in advance to all those considering organising an excursion associated with the INQUA 2019 Congress. We are pleased to announce the "Phase 2" Call to take forward the planning for Congress-related excursions, which will be a vital part of the Congress. For those interested, please download this form, complete it as fully as possible, and email to the Chair of the INQUA2019 LOCFC, Dr. Bettina Stefanini, at, on or before 4th November 2016.



The Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) Quaternary Geology Viewer

is now available online at :-


The viewer displays a National Quaternary geological map at 1 to 50,000 scalincluding quaternary sediments, maingeomorphological features anderratic carraiges. the data presented in the viewer can be downloaded inshapefile format. The data download is accompanied by an explanatoryreport describing all the data sets and methods for data collection andcompilation. The data sets areupdated on a yearly basis using data collectedduring the previous field campaign.

Enjoy It.



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