The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies

Contact Information


The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies is delighted to invite you to attend our annual
lecture, given by Peter McElhinney, on Saturday 26 January 2019. Peter is an object
conservator with research interests in the scientific analysis of cultural material and worked
at the Smithsonian Institute. He was inspired to investigate the impact of historical cultural
disruption in Gaelic Irish communities and this is the basis of his PhD research.
This subject will be of interest to anyone who wondered about how objects can tell the
fascinating story everyday life in late Medieval Ulster.
Objects on the move: everyday life in Gaelic Ulster
The labouring classes in Late Medieval Ulster (1200-1600 AD) are considered to have been
exceptionally mobile in the landscape. In addition to seasonal movements of grazing animals
and their attendants in a process known in Ireland as ‘booleying’, migration in search of
better conditions, or to escape persecution was a feature of this politically turbulent period.
While relatively few rural Gaelic settlements have been excavated in Ulster, a body of
objects recovered during turf cutting activities in this region, and now part of national and
regional museum collections in Ireland north and south, may tell us more about the day to
day lives of the mobile labouring classes.
This doctoral research project, based at the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences
at the University of Bradford, employs heritage science based techniques to learn more
about how the objects were made and used. The isolated find locations for the objects are
reconsidered in relation to new perspectives on Late Medieval settlement patterns in Ulster.
The research reveals some surprising material connections between the objects included in
the study, and folk objects made and used in Ulster in the 19th and 20th centuries.
This research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) UK through the
Heritage Consortium, a group of seven universities in northeast England working in strategic
partnership with regional, national and international heritage organisations and networks,
to deliver doctoral training and to promote research in all aspects of heritage. If you are
interested in learning more about Peter’s project, please go to:
The fee for the event is £12 with £10 concession for students, unwaged and senior citizens including
registration, morning coffee, lecture and finger buffet lunch.
Booking is advisable
For further information:
T: 028 8225 6315

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