Mary Dillon

Mary Dillon MSc

MSc (Research) Department of Archaeology and Department of Botany, National University of Ireland, Galway, 2006
BA (Hons) Archaeology and Philosophy, National University of Galway, 2001


Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland (IAI)
Association for Environmental Archaeology (AEA)
Irish Wood Anatomists Association (IWAA)

Phone: +353-86-3469302
Web address:


  • Charcoal analysis
  • Wet wood analysis
  • Marco plant remains analysis
  • Advice and site visits relating to sampling
  • Processing of wet and dry samples


I gained an interest in environmental archaeology while working on excavations in Ireland and abroad. I have worked as a wet wood and charcoal specialist since 2003 and macro plant remains specialist since 2006. My research MSc was carried out on wood and charcoal from various sites around Ireland (Title: People and past environments – Towards an anthropology of woodlands based on wood and charcoal analysis).

I have taught wood analysis in NUI, Galway and in Sligo IT. My main interests include the interaction of people and woodland in the past and the selective use of wood in various contexts. In plant macro remains I am especially interested in cereal farming in the medieval period. I also specialize in intertidal archaeology and have worked on numerous projects in the Shannon Estuary. I was awarded a Heritage Council Grant in 2008 to survey and carry out wood studies on large wooden fish weirs in the estuary. 


Dillon, M. (forthcoming) Various sections in J. O’Sullivan (ed) The Quiet Landscape: Excavations on the N6, Galway. NRA Monograph.
Dillon, M.& Johnston, P. (2009) The plant remains, pp. 101-113. In C. Baker The Archaeology of Killeen Castle, Co. Meath. Wordwell, Bray.
Dillon M., Johnston P. & Tierney, M. (2008) Charred plant material from two ringforts in Co. Galway. Seanda 2, NRA archaeology magazine.
O’Sullivan A. & Dillon M. (2008) Intertidal archaeological survey of Bronze Age structures and medieval fishtraps on the Fergus estuary, Co. Clare. In I. Bennett (ed.) Excavations 2004. Wordwell, Bray.
Dillon M., Newman C., Molloy K. & O’Connell M. (2008) Environment and ritual in an Irish Late Iron Age context: an example from Raffin Fort, Co. Meath, pp. 75-92. In G. Fiorentino & D. Magri (eds.) Charcoals from the Past-Cultural and Palaeo-environmental implications – Proceedings from the third international conference on anthracology. BAR International Series, 1807.
Newman C., O’Connell M., Dillon, M. & Molloy K. (2007) Interpretation of charcoal and pollen data relating to a late Iron Age ritual site in eastern Ireland: a holistic approach. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 16, 349-365.
Dillon M. (2006) People and past environments. Towards an anthropology of woodlands based on analysis of wood and charcoal from archaeological contexts. Unpublished MSc Thesis, Department of Archaeology and Department of Botany, National University of Ireland, Galway. (Available on
O’Conor, K. & Dillon M. 2002. The 2002 excavation at Granardkill, Co. Longford, pp. 129-38.In J. Burns & B. Grier (eds.) Granard: Its History, Our Heritage. Granard Guild, Irish Countrywoman’s Association, Longford.

Also available

Technical reports from over 100 sites in Ireland. Some of this material can be accessed on