Chert Quarries

Prehistoric chert extraction quarry

In 2017 a prehistoric chert extraction quarry was verified in Cavan Burren, discovered by Seamus O’hUltacháin, aka Jim Nolan. Such chert extraction sites are very rare in Ireland with only a few recorded.

Dr Killian O’Driscoll, UCD, and expert on lithic tools, visited the site late 2017 – Jim said that he was most impressed with the amount of material that had been clearly quarried leaving a column with deep chambers either side. Although the main example of extraction occurred in what would have been anatural inlet cave passage the worked sections can be clearly contrasted with the natural unworked sections of the inlet. The most obvious worked section can be seen in the remaining column. Several adjacent inlets alongthe gorge and several smaller sections on opposite side of the gorge were also identified. Jim had already speculated that these were chert workings and his enthusiastic pursuit of this has been rewarded by a positive validation by a recognised specialist.

It will be interesting if other similar sites can be identified in this area. It would also be a worthwhile study to have the chert from these sites compared scientifically with the numerous chert tools in the Gortatole collection.