Research Projects

Monitoring the Archaeology of Sligo’s Coastline: The MASC Project

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Project: Monitoring the Archaeology of Sligo’s Coastline: The MASC Project

Directors: Dr. James Bonsall, Sam Moore, IT Sligo

Location: County Sligo

Year: 2014-ongoing

Funding: No funding


Aim: The aim of the MASC Project is to engage with and provide training for individuals, voluntary community groups and interested NGO’s living or operating along the coastline of Co. Sligo to recognise, record and monitor exposed or threatened cultural heritage sites. The MASC Project – a citizen science scheme – has assisted archaeological research by recruiting amateur or non-professional scientists – people that live, work and use the coastline on a regular basis.

Outcomes: Since 2014 we have been involved in various conferences and outreach events in Ireland and the UK. The outcomes of the MASC Project were published in January 2018 in a Chapter by myself and Sam Moore in the international monograph Public Archaeology and Climate Change, edited by Tom Dawson, Courtney Nimura, Elias Lopez-Romero & Marie-Yvane Daire. More than 850 hours of local community volunteer work by our citizen scientists has occured, mapping 148 vulnerable archaeological monuments located <10m from the coast. We have developed and beta-Tested the MASC Project Discovery Event Form to record new archaeological sites found by citizen scientists and added five new archaeological monuments (including three middens and a cist) to the Sites and Monuments Record thanks to citizen scientist discoveries.

Bonsall, J. & Moore, S. 2017. ‘The MASC Project (Monitoring the Archaeology of Sligo’s Coastline): engaging local stakeholder groups to monitor vulnerable coastal archaeology in Ireland’. In T. Dawson, C. Nimura, E. Lopez-Romero, M-Y. Daire (Eds.) Public Archaeology and Climate Change. Oxbow. pp62-71.

Moore, S. and Bonsall, J. 2015. Take a Picture – It Will Last Longer: Use of Low-cost Photogrammetry to Record Vulnerable Coastal Archaeology. Session on ‘Data Capture, Representation and Reconstruction (Part 2) ‘, at the Virtual Heritage Network Ireland Conference. 19-21 November 2015, Maynooth University, Book of Abstracts, p29

Bonsall, J. and Moore, S. 2015. The Men and Women behind the MASC Project (Monitoring the Archaeology of Sligo’s Coastline): Engaging local stakeholder groups to monitor vulnerable coastal archaeology in Ireland. Session on ‘Engaging the Public with Archaeology Threatened by Climate Change’. In L. Campbell (ed.) Abstracts of the Oral and Poster Presentations, 21st Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, 2-5 September 2015, University of Glasgow, Scotland, p405

Bonsall, J. and Moore, S. 2015. ‘Surf ‘n’ Turf: Archaeological Discoveries by Citizen Scientists Strolling along the Beach’. Citizen Science and GIS Training School. National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland, 21-23 August 2015

Bonsall, J. and Moore, S. 2015. Introducing the MASC Project – Monitoring the Archaeology of Sligo’s Coastline. Clean Coasts Roadshow, 19 March 2015, Sligo Yacht Club, Rosses Point, Co. Sligo

Bonsall, J. 2015. The Launch of the MASC Project. Weather Beaten Archaeology Conference, 7-8 March 2015, Institute of Technology Sligo


With thanks to Oxbow Books:

Reviews & Quotes

The following reviews for Public Archaeology and Climate Change have been collected by Oxbow Books.

“…a very important contribution to our field because it offers practitioners encouragement and inspiration as they race climate change to identify, record, and understand impacts on cultural heritage sites, and then to a respond to those threats and impacts.”

Sustainable Museums (30/03/2018)

“This important volume highlights the threats facing cultural heritage sites and offers strategies for their preservation addressed through public archaeology programs… Recommended.”
J. B. Richardson III
Choice (18/07/2018)

“Given that many of these approaches could be tailored to local conditions, this book will be useful to archaeologists, heritage practitioners, or even policy-makers working on the preservation and protection of any heritage site impacted by climate change. While archaeological heritage is an underutilized field in awareness-raising about our changing climate, this edition demonstrates how it can spur engagement in diverse communities and potentially change national and international policy addressing contemporary climate change.”

Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology (11/12/2018)

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