Much of our knowledge of early history depends on archaeological artefacts and the evidence of the landscape. A prime example of this is the Céide Fields, located between Ballycastle and Belderrig in North Mayo, which show evidence of human settlement in Mayo more than 5000 years ago. This is the oldest known Neolithic field system in Europe and was discovered in 1934 by a local teacher, Patrick Caulfield, while cutting turf. Remains of stone walls beneath the blanket bog indicated the existence of an organised system of farming.
Archaeological excavations were begun in 1969 by his son, Dr. Seamus Caulfield, who devised a system of tracing the lines of the stone walls without having to remove the covering of blanket bog. This is illustrated in the video clip below.
The following video clip has been taken from "Counties of Ireland series, Mayo", and appears here courtesy of Beaumex Ltd. Click on the relevant file to download clip.