Archaeology - Book chapters

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 17
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    Seeking the desert in Adomnán’s Vita Columbae
    (Cork University Press, 2011-07) MacDonald, Aidan D. S.; Mullins, Elizabeth; Scully, Diarmuid
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    Adomnán’s monastery of Iona
    (Four Courts Press, 1997-07-01) MacDonald, Aidan D. S.
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    Aspects of the monastic landscape in Adomnán’s Life of Columba
    (Four Courts Press, 2001-05-23) MacDonald, Aidan D. S.
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    Adomnán’s Vita Columbae and the early churches of Tiree
    (Four Courts Press, 2010-07) MacDonald, Aidan D. S.
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    Iron Age settlement in mid-west Ireland
    (Sidestone Press, 2019) Becker, Katharina
    Difficulties in answering the question of where and how people lived has for a long time been one of the central obstacles to understanding of Iron Age lifeways in Ireland. The earlier part of this period between 800 or 600 BC is very poorly understood and largely characterised by low levels of archaeological evidence. In its later part, from about 400 BC to AD 400, a rather biased dataset has been highlighted as only reflecting particular, select aspects of human activity (e.g. Raftery 2006; 1994; 1998). A period of crucial interest is the Developed Iron Age between ca. 400 BC and about the turn of the millennium (Becker et al. 2008; Becker 2012a; Armit et al. 2013) that saw the re-emergence of significant levels of human activity. Demographic change has been argued to be reflected in the large set of radiocarbon-dated sites (Armit et al. 2013) and the construction of large scale earthworks, the floruit of Royal Sites, the large-scale adoption of iron working technology, and the introduction of La Tène styles, indicate cultural change (Becker 2012 a, b). While special sites, such as the so-called ‘Royal Sites’ and large-scale structures like linear earthworks, as well as the La Tène artefact record, indicate human presence and activity, no clear evidence for everyday settlement had been recognised (e.g. Raftery 1994). Biases in preservation, and difficulties in recognising settlement or mobile lifeways with low archaeological visibility have been debated as possible explanations for this (e.g. Raftery 1994). In combination with a lack of pottery and palynological evidence for an emphasis on pastoral agriculture, this has increasingly consolidated in a narrative of nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists (Raftery 1994; Lynn 2003; Armit 2007; Becker 2010; Dolan 2014), with highly visible special enterprises such as the Royal Sites seen as monumental expressions of otherwise invisible communities. In this context the absence of evidence for settlement has served as evidence for mobility – despite the significant methodological challenges that the positive identification of non-sedentary lifeways and the various degrees of mobility presents.