Friday 23 March at 6 pm, at the auditorium of Fondazione Benetton, public conference with Irish archaeologists Gretta Byrne and Séamas Caulfield on The Irish landscape seen through the archaeological gaze to mark the public opening of the photography and documentary exhibition of the 2018 Carlo Scarpa Prize for Gardens, curated by Patrizia Boschiero and Luigi Latini in the Spazi Bomben.
This year the International Carlo Scarpa for Gardens will be dedicated to a site in Ireland shaped by an interaction of landscape, archaeology and human activities distinguished by profound underlying meanings and projecting a sense of history into a living environment with the unique features characterising this island in the far northern reaches of Europe.
The Céide Fields – from the Gaelic toponym Chéide meaning “flat-topped hill” – is an archaeological site holding the remains of a neolithic field system that was covered up over the course of many millennia by a layer of blanket bog formed through a combination of local geology, climate change and agricultural practices and that is so typical of Ireland.
Nestling on an exposed cliff top overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in an area of scattered hamlets and grassland, the Céide Fields have been investigated over a period of decades by a team of archaeologists, first of all by Patrick and Séamas Caulfield, who uncovered evidence of Neolithic farming, mapping an extraordinary system of buried walls, which can be seen and experienced thanks to the nearby Visitors Centre managed by archaeologist Gretta Byrne on behalf of the OPW (The Office of Public Works).
The exhibition provides a brief overview of the place chosen by the Foundation’s Scientific Committee in the context of its 2018 Prize campaign, which will involve research and a short collective study trip to a variety of Irish landscapes and gardens that will be illustrated by means of photographs, maps, drawings, concise texts and audiovisual materials displayed on the ground floor of Palazzo Bomben and in the four rooms on the exhibition floor. Words, images and interviews will introduce visitors to key sites and themes of the Irish countryside seen from the perspective of caring for and cultivating the land, the surprising finds resulting from this archaeological excavation, the beauty and abundance of the wild local landscape, and the huge variety of places – even in this small selection – expressing the many facets of a country that has yet to be explored in full.
The exhibition will pave the way for further activities to be held in May, including our usual public seminar, the prize-giving ceremony and the presentation of the book and documentary film dedicated to the Céide Fields, which will take place on Saturday 12 May in the Foundation’s headquarters and in the Teatro Comunale di Treviso.