Dr Eileen Reilly

Dr Eileen Reilly

PhD, Trinity College, Dublin, 2008
Dip. Environmental Impact Assessment Management, University College Dublin, 1998
MSc Environmental Archaeology and Palaeoeconomy, University of Sheffield, 1995
BA (Hons) Archaeology and Geography, University College Dublin, 1992


Association for Environmental Archaeology (AEA)
Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland (IAI)
Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland (ESAI)

e-mail: ereilly@ipean.ie
Tel: +353-86-2235527



  • Sub-fossil insect remains analysis
  • Tephra analysis
  • General advice/guidance on sampling for bioarchaeological remains


Since 1995 I have specialised in the analysis of insect remains and have participated in a number of major interdisciplinary projects including the Lisheen Mine Archaeological Project (1996-1998) and the Troitsky excavations in medieval Novgorod, Russia (2001-2004). Other important projects have included analysis of insect remains from the multi-period wetland complex at Edercloon (N4), Co. Longford; the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age waterfront sites of Clancy Barracks and Ormond Quay, Dublin; the Early Medieval monastic site of Skellig Michael. Co. Kerry; the medieval town ditch of Edinburgh, Scotland and Viking-Age and medieval urban sites at Kilkenny Courthouse, Kilkenny City and Barronstrand Street, Waterford.
I have taught fossil insect analysis in UCC and Trinity College and co-authored the Environmental Sampling Guidelines for Archaeologists for the IAI (2007). I’ve worked as a researcher on the UCC-led, EPA-funded project Extreme Weather, climate and natural disasters in Ireland (2008) and the Discovery Programme’s Environmental Pilot Project, collating archaeological and non-archaeological environmental data from the period 1500 BC – AD 400 (Oct-Dec 2010).
Recently, I have worked with the National Museum of Ireland’s Dublin Excavations Project team, analysing over 100 samples from the iconic Viking Age Fishamble Street site. This work is co-funded by the National Museum of Ireland and a grant from the Environment Fund of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (EF/HER/2011/87).
My main research interests are woodland history, wetland archaeology, early medieval landscape change and urbanisation – all from a fossil insect perspective! I’m also very interested in the cause and timing of insect extinctions in Ireland.

Select Publications

Reilly, E. (2014, forthcoming) The environment of Viking Age settlements: recent evidence from Ireland to Russia. In H. Clarke and R. Johnston Viking Age Ireland: Beyond Clontarf. Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquities of Ireland/Four Courts Press/Dublin City Council joint publication, Dublin.
Reilly, E. (2014, forthcoming) Chapter 8 The local site environment: evidence from insect analysis at Edercloon, Co. Longford. In C. Moore, D. O’Connor & S. Mandal Archaeological Investigations on the N4 Dromod Roosky Road Scheme. National Roads Authority, Dublin.
Reilly, E. (2014, in prep) ‘From landscape to streetscape’: insect evidence from Viking-Age Fishamble Street. Medieval Dublin Excavations 1962-1981, Monograph Series C Vol. 3. National Museum of Ireland.
Reilly, E. (2014, in prep) From Christchurch Place to Fishamble Street: developments in archaeoentomology in Dublin since 1981. Quaternary International (special issue in honour of Russell Coope).
Overland, A., O’Connell., M., Lyons, S., Reilly, E., & Svensson, K. (2013) Chapter 3 Environment, flora and fauna, 47-107. In N. Jackman, C. Moore & C. Rynne The Mill at Kilbegly: Archaeological excavations on the N6 Ballinasloe to Athlone Road Scheme. The National Roads Authority, Dublin.
Reilly, Eileen (2012) 6.4 The insect remains, pp.399-413 (species lists 417-420). In E. Bourke, A.R. Hayden, A. Lynch Skellig Michael, Co. Kerry: The Monastery and the South Peak. Government of Ireland Publication, Dublin (published on www.worldheritageireland.ie).
Lynch, L.G. & Reilly, E. (2012) Early medieval human burials and insect remains from Kildimo, Co. Limerick. Journal of Irish Archaeology Vol. 20 (2011), 65-76.
Reilly, E. (2012) Fair and Foul: Analysis of sub-fossil insect remains from Troitsky XI-XIII, Medieval Novgorod Excavations 1996-2002. In M. Brisbane, N. Makarov & E. Nosov (eds.) The Archaeology of Medieval Novgorod in its Wider Context: A Study of Centre/Periphery Relations. Oxbow Books, Oxford.
Reilly, E. (2011) Wax or wane? Insect perspectives on human environmental interactions, 85-97. In M. Stanley, J. Eogan & E. Danaher (eds) Past Times, Changing Fortunes. NRA Seminar Series Monograph No.8. National Roads Authority, Dublin.
Reilly, E. (2011) Appendix 6: The insect remains, 137-159. In E. Jones et al.‘Through the Cowgate: life in 15th century Edinburgh as revealed by excavations at St Patrick’s Church’. Scottish Archaeology Internet Reports 42. The Society of Antiquities of Scotland.
Kiely, G., Leahy, P., Ludlow, F., Stefanini, B., Reilly, E., Monk, M. & Harris, J. (2010) Extreme weather, climate and natural disasters in Ireland. Climate Change Research Report 5, EPA Publications, Dublin.
Reilly, E. (2009) Insect remains from Lemanaghan, 1996-2001, pp.131-149. In E. OCarroll & J. Whittaker Peatland Excavations 1999-2000: Lemanaghan Excavations. Wordwell Ltd., Bray.
Reilly, E. (2008) An ever-closing gap? Modern ecological and palaeoecological contributions towards understanding the Irish post-glacial insect fauna. Irish Naturalist’s Journal Special Supplement, 63-71.
Reilly, E. (2008) Killickaweeny 1: The insect remains (CD Rom). In N. Carlin, L. Clarke & F. Walsh The archaeology of life and death in the Boyne Floodplain: The Linear Landscape of the M4. NRA Scheme Monographs 2. Wordwell Ltd., Bray.
Reilly, E. (2008) A study of a Bronze Age insect fauna, 443-456. In M. Doody The Ballyhoura Hills Project. Discovery Programme Monograph 7. Wordwell Ltd., Bray.
Johnston, P. & Reilly E. (2007) Plant and insect remains, pp. 55-62 (with Appendix, 90-92). In A. O'Sullivan, R. Sands & E.P. Kelly Coolure Demesne crannog: an introduction to its archaeology and landscapes. Wordwell Ltd., Bray.
Reilly, E. (2006) Chapter 14: The insects, the body and the bog, pp. 155-171. In N. Bermingham & M. Delaney The Tumbeagh Bog Body. Wordwell Ltd., Bray.
Reilly, E. (2006) Geochemical analysis of tephra samples from Late Holocene small hollow and mor humus deposits in Killarney National Park, Co. Kerry, Southwest Ireland. Quaternary Research Association Newsletter No. 109, 42-45.
Reilly, E. (2005) Chapter 8: Coleoptera, pp. 187-209. In M. Gowen, J. O’Neill & M. Phillips (eds.) The Lisheen Mine Archaeological Project 1996-8. Wordwell Ltd., Bray.
Reilly, E. (2004) Insect remains, pp. 67-80. In E O’Donovan et al., Excavations at Friar Street Cashel: a story of urban settlement AD 1200-1800, Tipperary Historical Journal 2004. Tipperary Historical Society, Thurles.
Reilly, E. (2003) The contribution of insect remains to an understanding of the environment of Viking-age and medieval Dublin, pp. 40-63. In S. Duffy (ed.) Medieval Dublin IV. Four Courts Press, Dublin.
Ellis, C., Crone, A., Reilly, E. & Hughes, P. (2002) Excavations of a Neolithic wooden platform, Stirlingshire. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 68, 247-256.
Caseldine, C.J., Hatton, J., Gearey, B., Stuijts, I., Reilly, E. & Casparie, W. (2001) From the wet to the dry: Palaeoecological studies at Derryville Bog, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, pp. 99-115. In B. Raftery & J. Hickey (eds.) Recent Developments in Wetland Research. Seandálaíocht: Monograph 2, Department of Archaeology, UCD and WARP Occasional Paper 14, Dublin.
Reilly, E. (1996) The insect fauna (Coleoptera) from the Neolithic trackways Corlea 9 and 10: the environmental implications, pp. 403-411. In B. Raftery Trackway Excavations in the Mountdillon Bogs, Co. Longford, 1985-1991 Irish Archaeological Wetland Unit Transactions Vol. 3. UCD Publication, Dublin. < /p>

Recent Presentations
Dublinia ‘Science Month’ public lecture, Dublin, October 2012: Beetles, seeds, wood and bone – the role of the environmental archaeologist.
European Association of Archaeologists Annual Conference, Helsinki, August 2012: Building the towns: the interrelationship between woodland history and urban life in Viking Age Ireland. Paper given in session ‘Life in the City: environmental and artefactual approaches to Urban Europe in the Middle Ages’ jointly prepared with S. Lyons, E. OCarroll, L. O’Donnell, I. Stuijts and A. Corless.
Russell Coope Memorial Seminar, Royal Holloway, London, June 2012: From Christchurch Place to Fishamble Street: developments in archaeoentomology in Dublin since 1981.
Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland CPD course ‘how, what, where and when to sample on a range of archaeological sites’, Trinity College, Dublin, November 2011: Sampling for insects in waterlogged archaeological contexts.
Wetland Archaeology in Ireland and Beyond conference, University College Dublin, February 2010: New insights into the riverine environment and landscape of pre-Viking Dublin: palaeoenvironmental analysis at Clancy Barracks and Ormond Quay, Dublin. Paper jointly prepared with R. Allen, B. Gearey, E-J. Hopla and L. O’Donnell.

Also available
Extensive ‘grey’ literature and technical reports from c.40 sites in Ireland and the UK. Please contact me directly for access to this material.