The Ceíde Fields - Discovery

Archaeology in Co. Mayo in the West of Ireland

How were Ceíde Fields discovered?

The discovery really began back in the 1930s when a local schoolteacher, Patrick Caulfield from Belderrig, often noticed piles of stones in the bottom of the bog when cutting his turf. He had a sharp mind and understood two important things: firstly, the way the stones were piled up couldn't be natural so somebody had to put them there, and secondly, because they were down underneath the peat they had to be put in situ prior to the growth of the bog and so must be very ancient. He decided to write to the National Museum about them almost eighty years ago.

However their significance became apparent only 40 years later when this man's son, Seamus, became an archaeologist and began studying these stones.

An old and non-destructive method of probing the bog with iron rods was used to map the stone walls hidden beneath 4 metres of bog. Archaeologic excavation yielded a unique picture of the way of life of our ancestors 200 generations ago.

Visitors can see the stones that have not be moved in over 5000 years, after excavation they have been left as they were.