Balla Secondary School students are making history these days.
The School is the first secondary school in Europe to be invited to become an associate partner of ArchaeoLandscapes Europe following the completion of a unique Transition Year project, Balla Archaeological Remote Sensing (BARS).
And An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, will be in Balla on Friday next, April 4th, to launch a one-day seminar, titled “Archaeology Above and Below”, when he is expected to pay tribute to the pioneering work of Balla students.
Balla Secondary School is hosting the seminar in association with ArchaeoLandscapes Europe (ArcLand).
The Balla event will bring together speakers from many strands of archaeology, including local schools, colleges and heritage groups, to internationally recognised institutions and universities.
The aim of the event is to better understand non-invasive remote sensing techniques such as LiDAR, aerial photography and geophysics, to enable schools and communities to unlock and explore their local monuments and landscapes.
Transition Year students have used Kite Aerial Photography
The day will consist of introductory lectures, case histories and posters accompanied by hands-on workshops. There is also a two-day community conference taking place at Rathcroghan Visitors Centre in Tulsk on Saturday and Sunday, 5th & 6th April.
The seminar at Balla Secondary School came about as a result of the School being the first secondary school in Europe to be invited to become an associate partner of ArchaeoLandscapes Europe.
This prestigious honour was awarded to the school following the completion of a unique Transition Year project, Balla Archaeological Remote Sensing (BARS).
The project was presented at the ArcLand International Conference From Known Knowns to Unknown Unknowns: Remotely Detecting the Past and the Traces of the Past travelling exhibition national launch in Dublin last year.
Following the success of BARS 1, it was decided to extend the project into the 2013/2014 academic year and BARS 2 was born.
Transition Year students have used Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) and geophysics to investigate features associated with the Early Christian monastic enclosure at Mayo Abbey.
The aim of BARS 1&2 from the perspective of the teaching activity at Balla Secondary School provides input to the overall objectives of the TY programme. In addition it provides an opportunity to integrate elements of a number of subjects in the syllabus; in particular, history, geography, physics, ICT and art.
From an ArcLand perspective BARS 1&2 has introduced the application of remote sensing to a younger audience who may find it offers ideas on education and future careers
Speakers, workshop and exhibition facilitators include
• Dr. Ralf Hesse, State Office for Cultural Heritage, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
• Dr. Axel G. Posluschny, Project Manager ArchaeoLandscapes Europe, German Archaeological Institute
• Dr. John Wells, Jim Knowles and Heidi Walker, West Lothian Archaeological Trust, Scotland
• Seamus Ó Múrchu, School of Archaeology UCD
• Kevin Barton, Landscape & Geophysical Services, Claremorris, Co Mayo
• Christy Lawless, Turlough, Co Mayo
• Joe Brett, Western Care Association
• Teresa Walsh, History Department Balla Secondary School
• Anna Finlay, Geography Department, Balla Secondary School
• Prof. Dáibhí Ó Cróinín, Department of History NUIG
• Dr. Eve Daly Dept of Earth and Oceanographic Sciences, NUIG
• Tina Keating, Copper Coast Geopark Waterford
• Dr. Yvonne McDermott, Department of Humanities GMIT
• Dominic Cronin, Ordnance Survey Ireland