School of History, Classics and Archaeology


Round Mounds of the Isle of Man

Isle of Man Sept 2016 Geophysics photo, jpg (882KB)

The Isle of Man is home to over 160 round mounds but very few have been excavated using techniques that have left a detailed and reliable record. Recent research has highlighted regional diversity in different pulses of round mound construction and use during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age (c. 4000-1500 BC) across Britain, Ireland and the near continent, and there has been growing interest in tracing changing connections over time between regions. However, it is currently unclear when many of the round mounds of the Isle of Man were built and what kinds of burial and other practices they were associated with.

This project aims to investigate what the round mounds of the Isle of Man, and associated burials, people and artefacts, can tell us about life on the island and interaction with other communities across Britain and Ireland (and potentially beyond) in the Neolithic and Bronze Age.  The 2016-17 research will include osteological analyses of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age human remains from historic excavations in the Manx Museum collections, radiocarbon dating, isotopic analyses and a DNA analyses of a sample of these, a new assessment of Neolithic and Bronze Age mortuary evidence from the island, new geophysical surveys of Manx round mounds, and landscape analyses using LiDAR imagery and other map data.

The 2016-17 season is funded by Manx National Heritage and Culture Vannin. As well as Rachel Crellin and Chris Fowler, contributors include Francesco Carrer (LiDAR analysis: McCord Centre for Landscape), Kate Chapman (geophysics: Northern Archaeological Associates), Michelle Gamble (osteology), David Reich (aDNA: Harvard Medical School), and Alex Turner (ground penetrating radar: McCord Centre for Landscape).

For further details and project updates visit