July 13, 2020


Aim for Excellence

Old Irish ‘clachan’ found in South Australia

Picture: Irish-Australian archaeologist Susan Arthure with family artifacts from the Baker’s Flat internet site. view more ...

Picture: Irish-Australian archaeologist Susan Arthure with family artifacts from the Baker’s Flat internet site.
view more 

Credit history: Flinders University

The oldest recognized Australian instance of a communal style of Irish settlement has been ‘unearthed’ in a dusty paddock in rural South Australia.

An substantial geophysical analyze of the Baker’s Flat Irish settlement internet site close to Kapunda has uncovered the first – and possibly most significant – clachan in Australia, states Flinders archaeologist Susan Arthure whose PhD investigations of Irish record and archaeology in SA led her to the internet site in what seems to be a featureless paddock close to the previous mining and farming local community.

“Clachans had in fact died out in Eire by the close of the nineteenth century but our study proves they continued in Australia, with this instance the first to be absolutely described,” states Irish-Australian archaeologist Ms Arthure.

“We uncovered a big, vivid clachan settlement, now hidden beneath the area of an empty farm paddock, which consists of a wealth of materials to tell us a great deal about the past,” she states.

“This standard Irish settlement design, characterised by clusters of homes and outbuildings, highlights the way the new people to this dry region labored with each other to make the finest use of marginal land.

“Much more than five hundred Irish migrants produced a local community here.

“Despite the fact that outsiders appeared at the settlement and judged it as chaotic and haphazard, in point these Irish settlers were ready to maintain a sustainable way of lifestyle by taking care of their animals communally and creating joint conclusions about how finest to use the land.

“Getting ready to handle a big region of land permitted Irish traditions and customs to be managed.”

Ms Arthure, who co-edited Irish South Australia: new histories and insights (Wakefield Press) states archaeology is not just about the ancient past.

“The recent past is definitely intriguing, and several men and women in South Australia would be descendants of those people early settlers of Baker’s Flat and other Irish settlements in the Clare Valley and the Mid North.”

Flinders adjunct Affiliate Professor Lynley Wallis, a co-author of the hottest Baker’s Flat paper released in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, states: “What we uncovered with GPR and magnetometry surveys reveals us that often all is not what it seems.”

“When we arrived at the paddock, we had no concept about the paths, homes, yards, paddocks and fences hidden beneath the floor,” Affiliate Professor Wallis states.

University of Queensland geophysical archaeologist Dr Kelsey Lowe, a further author on the paper, states that this is one of the most significant surveys of its kind to be carried out in Australia.

“When we commenced to down load the details and noticed constructions and enclosures showing, it was a very thrilling minute,” Dr Lowe states.

“We were also fortunate to have Dr Josh Feinberg, at the United states of america University of Minnesota, to assist us in analysing some of our samples.”


The paper, ‘Geophysical and archaeological investigations of Baker’s Flat, a nineteenth century historic Irish internet site in South Australia’ (February 2020) by KM Lowe, S Arthure, LA Wallis and J Feinbert, can be uncovered on-line at DOI:10.1007/s12520-019-01003-2

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