Animal nutrition company Devenish backs UCD land study

Animal nutrition company Devenish is partnering with UCD School of Archaeology’s study of its lands at Dowth, Co Meath.
Animal nutrition company Devenish backs UCD land study

UCD researchers led by Steve Davis will identify new archaeological sites.

UCD has just signed a memorandum of understanding with Devenish to formalise studies which have been ongoing for the past four years, already identifying passage tombs, a huge henge and megalithic art.

The Dowth lands lie in the heart of the Unesco World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne.

Devenish’s funding partners include Royal Irish Academy and National Monuments Service.

Devenish chairman Owen Brennan said: “Scientific research underpins all our work in Devenish, from soil, right through to society.

“Perhaps the 6,000 years of farming etched into the Dowth landscape is an implicit reminder that these are the timescales we need to envisage when we are developing solutions for the future of farming and human health.”

Devenish’s research at Dowth is focused on human and animal health, soil and plant health, water quality and climate change. Its work feeds into the development of models for the farming, food and consumer health.

These nutritional studies have cross-fertilised several times with the UCD archaeology studies.

An imaging technology called Lidar was used to survey the surface of the land for archaeological purposes.

The same data set was used, along with Teagasc, to quantify the amount of carbon sequestered by growth in the woods and hedges each year, offsetting some of the greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.

This whole-farm calculation is a world first and paves the way for more effective policies to fight climate change.

GPS soil sampling was also carried out to monitor and manage fertility on the farm, providing a map showing the areas of phosphate concentration.

UCD’s archaeologists said the elevated levels of phosphate indicated ancient human settlement and they were able to use the phosphate map to locate two medieval enclosures.

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