Interesting Research Project


This year, Cornstown House has been working in collaboration with UCD School of Archaeology’s FOODSEC project, conducting scientific experiments on the farm. In addition to organic farmers Dominic Gryson and Micheal Miklis, the project team includes archaeologists and food scientists, bringing together their expertise to address questions about ancient food storage and food security.

On the farm, the team has dug six pits and filled them with the types of cereal grains that were grown in Ireland 4,0000 years ago, including emmer wheat and naked and hulled barley. Each of the pits has sensors that record the internal temperature and humidity and we’ve also been measuring the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide. By studying the archaeological record, we’ve dug the pits to the average dimensions of those found at Bronze Age (2,200-700 BCE) sites and are testing the utility of these features for storing grain through the winter.

We’re hoping to learn more about underground storage, what these environments do to the grain, and how they might have helped communities in the past thrive through the lean times and have greater opportunities in the spring. Later this year, on the Spring Equinox, we will be inviting school groups and the public to join us in our scientific experiment and open the pits.