Archaeological Dialogues


Landscapes of power in nineteenth century Ireland

Archaeology and Ordnance Survey maps

Angèle Smith


The British Ordnance Survey mapping of Ireland in the nineteenth-century was an official systematic survey which created a picture document of the landscape and the past. While the maps influenced the institutionalization of archaeology, the documenting of an archaeological record on the maps shaped their look and language. Within a setting of the political contest between British colonialism and Irish nationalism, both the Ordnance Survey maps and the archaeological past they recorded became powerful tools that helped to construct Irish identity and a sense of place and heritage.


  • Ireland;
  • maps;
  • archaeology;
  • landscapes;
  • colonialism;
  • nationalism