Deepmapping Kildare

[Please note that this is the fourth of nine guest blog posts written by our 3rd yr Single Hons / Major students. Feel free to add constructive comments!]

My name is Pat Reid and I’m a third year student at NUIM majoring in geography and with Celtic studies as my minor subject. As part of third year I have to complete a thesis consisting of ten to fifteen thousand words. The topic I’ve chosen for my project is probably going to be called something like ‘Can the basis of deepmapping be used following large-scale development projects to both, promote public awareness of, and further scientific understanding of, a place?’ The plan is to produce a form of ‘deepmap’, a word, map and art based report, on a section of the Kildare town bypass. The ‘deepmap’ will attempt to show the progression of the history of the subject area, from the prehistoric to present historic events, using all available media to compile it. It will draw upon written archives, including archaeological reports and historical journals, available images, including photographs, paintings and maps and other varied sources including local knowledge, folklore and poetry when available. This ‘deepmap’ will hopefully provide an in-depth view of the area’s historic development, an almost three-dimensional sense of how the place has progressed through time in light of its recorded history.

The purpose of the project is two-fold. Firstly, to assess the viability and usefulness of producing such a ‘deepmap’ in regard to raising the local public’s awareness of the history of a place. Secondly, to establish if new knowledge can be gleaned as a result of compiling such a ‘deepmap’ – to further the social, political, economic and cultural understanding of the area involved and its context in the history of the larger area. I would also like to ascertain if this information could be useful to both historians and geographers.

The completed report will be submitted to ten people for review. This will include five professionals with an interest in various aspects of the ‘deepmap’. These will include a historian, an archaeologist, a heritage officer, a coucillor and a geographer. It will also be given to five locals with an interest in the history of their area. The participants will then be interviewed and/or surveyed to obtain their feedback on the report. The main objective is to ascertain if such ‘deepmapping’ would be beneficial to, and could be included in, the remit for proposed large infrastructural and construction projects. Such ‘deepmaps’ could be displayed in local heritage centres, museums or libraries following completion. The feedback will be analysed to decide if this proposed style of post-excavation, historic document could be a viable and useful addition to the construction development process.

My interest in the area stems from a decade spent working as an archaeologist on road-building projects of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era. Most of the information uncovered during the archaeological process is again reburied in museum cabinets and academic journals and the proposed ‘deepmaps’ could aid in presenting this information to the public in a fresh and accessible manner.

Happy new year everybody!

Pat Reid

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