The PRISM project (Preservation by Record of Ireland’s Shell Middens) is a citizen science participatory mapping scheme initiated by researchers from University College Dublin and University College Cork.

The project is developing digital mapping tools which will help volunteer citizen scientists to record observations about the impacts of climate change and human activities on coastal shell middens in their community.


We are preparing to launch our web-based midden mapping platform. Check back soon for updates!


Climate awareness

To raise awareness and help build resilience to climate change impacts in Irish coastal communities

Citizen science

To promote citizen science through the use of digital tools and participatory mapping to record vulnerable coastal shell midden sites


To foster pride in Ireland's coastal heritage for volunteer citizen scientists through education, training, and a two-way flow of information


To draw on our experience and connect with stakeholders across various sectors to work toward more effective mitigation strategies

We are currently beta testing our web-platform…

Click HERE to access the main user survey

Click HERE to access the additional user survey

What are shell middens and why are they important?

A shell midden is any human-made deposit composed primarily of mollusc shells. Such deposits are common in coastal areas throughout the world and can vary dramatically in terms of size and morphology.

Shell middens are a valuable archaeological resource with the potential to shed light on many aspects of human interaction with coastal environments over time. Over 500 midden sites are recorded along the Irish coastline, dating from the earliest settlement of the island right through to the modern era. Understanding past human-coastal interactions can assist researchers, policy makers, and community leaders in developing new approaches and building resilience along the coast today. Unfortunately, coastal middens are increasingly being lost and irreversibly damaged as a consequence of both natural and anthropogenic factors.

The PRISM Project is working with local communities to take practical steps toward mitigating these impacts.

Recorded archaeological shell middens in Ireland

The interactive map above shows all of the archaeological middens recorded by the National Monument Service (NMS) in the Republic of Ireland. Use this map to explore whether or not there are shell middens in your local area!