The Modest Man Research Project


The modest Man Research Project was the working title of my Ma Thesis undertaken in the Digital Arts and Humanities at University College Cork. It is an interdisciplinary project which combines traditional archaeological field survey methods and up-to-date non-contact optical measurement techniques to record a number of at risk commemorative stone monuments in Ireland known as Cadaver Stones / Transi Tombs. These monuments are linked to commemorative traditions that emerged in the wake of the Black Death pandemic in Europe in the early 16th century. To date only a small number of these monuments have been identified in Ireland, however all retain very individual stylistic associations to other European examples. As most remain in situ, exposed to the elements and are subject to ongoing mechanical attrition, it is of utmost importance that they are recorded using up-to-date technologies, software packages and national guidelines as set by the Heritage Council of Ireland. This will ensure the interoperability of the data being collected across a range of technological platforms and will therefore increase chances for international dissemination and local community involvement while also ensuring the sustainability of the data itself.

This thesis included the results from data processing of 5 cadaver monuments :

  • Triskel Christchurch, Cork City, Co. Cork
  • St. Peter’s Church of Ireland, Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • St. Brigid’s Church, Drogheda, Co. Louth.
  • St. Coman’s church, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon
  • Christchurch Cathedral, Waterford City, Co. Waterford

The relevant site information is presented for each monument in the ‘Modest Man Research Project’ navigation menu. Each page will present the monument and all relevant historical, topographical and preservation data. A detailed discussion of the style and inscriptions utilised at each site is also provided. Below is a list of definitions to assist the reader in their understanding of each monument:

Inscriptions and Sculpture Definitions

  • Incised – Letters are cut or engraved into the stone.
  • Relief – where the letters are raised above the surface of the memorial
  • False Relief – where the letters of the memorial have been carved into the surface of the memorial to give the impression that the letters are in relief but they are still flush with the surface of the memorial
  • Inlaid – where a material has been set into the cut or incised letters
  • Applied – where the letters are attached onto the surface (appliqué) of the memorials.

A number of 3D models were reconstructed using photogrammetric methods and are available via Sketchfab. All material and data generated throughout the course of fieldwork and analysis will be archived using Omeka, however this is currently being updated.