@LMcAtackney on #Archaeology of the Troubles at #PRONI

There is a launch tonight in PRONI’s (under-used!) building this evening for Dr Laura McAtackney‘s new book on The Archaeology of the Troubles/The dark heritage of Long Kesh/Maze prison.

There are four speakers at the launch, including Laura and Professor Cahal McLaughlin of Queens’s University Belfast who will set the scene by presenting documented personal narratives of Long Kesh/Maze, recorded as part of the ‘Prisons Memory Archive’ project.A member of PRONI staff will also explore archives that illustrate some unusual historical nuances connected to the site. Prof. Audrey Horning, Head of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology at Queen’s University Belfast will formally introduce the book.

The launch is free and runs from 6.30 pm to 8 pm in PRONI.

For anyone needing a quick introduction: here’s the summary of the book from Amazon:

Long Kesh / Maze prison was infamous as the major holding centre for paramilitary prisoners during the course of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Some of the major events of the recent conflict centred on, emanated from, and were transformed by it, including the burning of the internment camp in 1974, the protests and hunger strikes of 1980-1981, the mass escape of PIRA prisoners in 1983, and the role of prisoners in facilitating and sustaining the peace process of the 1990s.
Now, over a decade after the signing of the Belfast Agreement (1998), Long Kesh / Maze remains one of the most contentious remnants of the conflict and has become central to debates about what we do with such sites, what they mean, and how they relate to contemporary rememberings of the difficult recent past.
The only independent archaeological investigation of Long Kesh / Maze prior to its partial demolition, this volume reveals the seminal role of material culture in understanding the prison. It moves from traditional uses of solely documentary and oral evidence to exploring the full range of material remains of the prison as they have been abandoned in situ or been dispersed and re-contextualized into wider society. Using a multitude of sources, McAtackney creatively provides a unique interpretation of the Northern Irish Troubles and the continuing destabilizing role of material remnants of the conflict in the peace process.
There’s more details and a preview on the Amazon website here.

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  • @John,

    What is the point in doing an archaeological dig at a site that closed down less than twenty years ago? What do they hope to learn that they don’t know already?

  • Mushroom Man

    I made it to Archaeology of the Troubles tonight. Don’t think I could describe PRONI as underused. The place was packed. All the presentations were of the highest standard. Professor Cathal McLaughlin opened with a demonstration of the Prison Memory Archive project which I could have listened to all night. Next up was Graham Jackson from PRONI who talked us through a presentation of recently released NIO files. What both speakers were able to do was convey that there was so much more to the Long Kesh/Maze story. These include narratives of prison guards, how the H blocks were laid out, and education programmes delivered at the prison.

    The star attraction was the author herself, but all credit is due to Professor Audrey Horning who launched the book.

    Great book, great night.

  • ForkHandles

    Good grief! There really is a ‘troubles’ industry that refuses to pass into history… There still is money to be made by middle class people who were not involved in anything by just waffling on about “conflict” . . . .

  • “The launch is free and runs from 6.30 pm to 8 pm in PRONI.”

    Rather more than free, it seems. Here’s Laura in her own tweets:

    Laura McAtackney ‏@LMcAtackney Mar 7
    @mjmccleery Hi Martin! Book launch is at PRONI, we’ve got a little event organised (with wine and half price book!) ….

    Laura McAtackney ‏@LMcAtackney Mar 9
    Just read on @newirelander that Bobby Sands would have been 60 today. Incredible to think how times have changed but still he resonates. ..

    Laura McAtackney ‏@LMcAtackney Mar 13
    After team meeting today really looking forward to @Transformpeace conference @UlsterMuseum tomorrow. Fully booked but we’ll tweet updates! …

    Laura McAtackney ‏@LMcAtackney Jan 26
    Great day at the ‘Moving beyond sectarianism’ Cambridge Irish History Seminar y’day. Although a little too much sectarianism for my liking! ..

    Laura McAtackney ‏@LMcAtackney Jan 13
    @SHA_org such a fab conf in Quebec. For us who beat the weather big congrats on the magical location and stimulating #questionsthatcount!

    and from Emma:

    Emma Dwyer ‏@el_dwyer Apr 3
    @LMcAtackney it’ll be great fun, signing books, sipping champers, general schmoozing. I’ve got a copy from the library, looks good so far!

    Don’t you just feel a tad envious, ForkHandles?

  • Reader

    tmitch57: What is the point in doing an archaeological dig at a site that closed down less than twenty years ago? What do they hope to learn that they don’t know already?
    But just think of the treasures to be unearthed – loyalist syringes, republican trowels – all sorts.
    I hope the archaeologists will be wearing gloves.