Researchers at UCD


Laura McAtackney

Postdoc Research Fellow Lvl Ii

School Of Social Justice
John Hume Institute
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 716


Laura McAtackney is currently an Irish Research Council postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Social Justice, University College Dublin. Her current research is a multi-scalar approach to materialisations of female imprisonment at Kilmainham Gaol during the Irish Civil War, with a focus on recording graffiti. She has previously been a Research Fellow at the John Hume Institute for Global Irish Studies, University College Dublin (January 2010-2012), where she researched politics, memory and identity in Irish and diaspora contexts. This included periods of fieldwork in Montserrat and Australia. Previously, she was a Research Fellow at the Pitt-Rivers Museum, University of Oxford (March-August 2009) on the seed-funded, interdisciplinary Ecologies of Heritage project. Laura completed her PhD at the University of Bristol in 2008 with a thesis entitled: An historical archaeology of political imprisonment: Long Kesh/Maze prison, Northern Ireland. To date her research has been predominantly contemporary and recent historical in focus examining the complexities and contradictions of the materialisation of identity and memory in an Irish context. She has particular interests in dark heritage, especially the Northern Irish Troubles and Long Kesh / Maze prison, and has a forthcoming publication on this subject An Archaeology of the Troubles: the dark heritage of Long Kesh / Maze prison with Oxford University Press, due in early 2014.



Laura McAtackney (2014) An Archaeology of the Troubles: the dark heritage of Long Kesh / Maze. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Available Online [Details]

Edited Books

Laura McAtackney, Matthew Palus and Angela Piccini (Ed.). (2007) Studies in Contemporary and Historical Archaeology. Oxford: Archaeopress. [Details]
Dan Hicks, Laura McAtackney and Graham Fairclough (Ed.). (2007) Envisioning Landscape: perspectives and politics in archaeology and heritage. California: Left Coast Press. [Details]
Brent Fortenberry & Laura McAtackney (Ed.). (2012) Modern Materials: Papers from CHAT Oxford (2009). Oxford: British Archaeological Reports Series (BARS). [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

McAtackney, L; (2011) 'Peace maintenance and political messages: The significance of walls during and after the Northern Irish 'Troubles''. Journal of Social Archaeology, 11 :77-98. [DOI] [Details]
Laura McAtackney (2013) 'Dealing with difficult pasts: the dark heritage of political prisons in transitional Northern Ireland and South Africa'. Prison Service Journal, . [Details]
Laura McAtackney (2013) 'Autograph books and female experiences of political imprisonment during the Irish Civil War'. Eire-Ireland, . [Details]


Research Interests

My research to date has primarily concentrated on contemporary archaeology in Ireland, especially linking into materialisations of the Troubles that have remained into the peace process and memorialisation of the Troubles in this transitional period. My key research site has been Long Kesh / Maze prison. Currently, I am involved in a number of projects relating to historic Irish prisons, including an ongoing graffiti recording project at Kilmainham Gaol (concentrating on Irish Civil War period imprisonment. See blog and an quantitative analysis of prisoner records from the 19th century in Ireland (see website I am also the Project Archivist for SLAM (Survey and Landscape Archaeology on Montserrat, which explores historic Irish presence on the Caribbean island.

I am an assistant editor of Post-Medieval Archaeology Journal and a committee member of both Society for Post Medieval Archaeology (SPMA) and Contemporary and Historical Archaeology in Theory (CHAT).

Prior to October 2012 I have been based in archaeology departments and therefore my teaching has concentrated in this area. I have designed, lectured and assessed courses on Archaeological Theory and Contemporary & Historical Archaeology. I have also been a guest lecturer in interdisciplinary institutes in the US and Australia and i have lectured to MA level on landscape archaeology, historical geography and heritage issues.