EMAP- Greatest Hits Vol 1: Now Thats What I Call Archaeology

885886_665258363545035_195922879323719923_o

‘Early Medieval Ireland, AD 400-1100. The Evidence from Archaeological Excavations’.

A few days ago saw the official launch of what can only be described as the archaeo-bible for the next generation (and beyond) for scholars of Early Medieval Ireland. Essentially, it contains the most up to date survey, run-down and compilation of everything we thought we knew, everything we have learned, and everything we think we now know, arising from archaeological excavations (1930 to the present).  This is the latest offering from the Early Medieval Archaeology Project and is the product of several years of dedicated work and research.

I wasn’t that far away from some of the authors during this time and witnessed just a little of the efforts involved – so naturally, am in no way neutral on this. Bearing institutional and personal loyalty/bias in mind, it nevertheless represents an astonishingly impressive resource. Just look at the  contents and length of the bibliography:

10257976_665258443545027_7115614194947333011_o

Early Medieval Ireland has of course always been the most important, interesting and archaeologically rich period in Irish history.* In terms of the landscape alone, there are more early medieval features, placenames and sites still surviving than any other era. Thanks to modern archaeological methods, discoveries and a national building boom/bust, you can now get a glimpse of the extraordinary  range and scope of new material evidence of the period – previously unseen and hidden beneath our feet.

10258810_665267206877484_3516181022368049676_o

The period not only marks the transition to recorded history, but also marks an explosion in Irish culture, language, society, and activity – much of which forms the bedrock of modern Irish identity. If you ever wondered just how we came to be who and what we are – this will give you some idea of the horse/cow our ancestors rode in on.

Or something.

10257092_665267353544136_5905291774951982496_o

‘Early Medieval Ireland, AD 400-1100. The Evidence from Archaeological Excavations’.

Now available in bookshops and from www.ria.ie and elsewhere.

See here for background to EMAP project, or follow on facebook.

For impoverished students, or for a flavour of the archaeo-riches within, you can check out previous (pre-print) versions of much of the material here.

 

 __________________________________

* It’s a well-known fact that prehistorians are mad jealous of us altogether, not only because of the stunning archaeology we have, but mainly because we have so much of it. As a result, we don’t have to try to recreate the complexities of prehistoric society by sexing up the chance survival of a few flint scatter patterns; over-thinking the anti-social megalithic graffiti of mushroom trippin’ neolithic teenagers; and poking at some half-chewed dog bone with a stick… or as I like to call it – ‘making it up as they go along’ 😉
Advertisements

12 thoughts on “EMAP- Greatest Hits Vol 1: Now Thats What I Call Archaeology

  1. “The period not only marks the transition to recorded history, but also marks an explosion in Irish culture, language, society, and activity – much of which forms the bedrock of modern Irish identity. If you ever wondered just how we came to be who and what we are – this will give you some idea of the horse/cow our ancestors rode in on.”

    May I disagree on this and point to the Irish age as the formative period during which all these seeds of Irish identity, language and culture germinated? I won’t deny that the Early Mediaeval Period is an explosion of this, but the Later Iron Age is – in my humble opinion, and that of Jim Mallory (see 2013, The Origins of the Irish) – where it all started.

    Like

  2. Thanks to Vox for the kind words! Alex, I would agree with you that the 4th/5th century was the manure which fertilised the wonderful garden that was the 6th/7th century when early medieval Ireland took off 😉

    Like

  3. No seriously, joking aside. I think the 5th century is remarkably interesting, certainly archaeologically difficult, but probably the time when things started to change quite rapidly. The Christian religion appears to be affecting not only beliefs, but burial practices, while there were presumably at least some newly converted Christian communities. We also have some hints of early settlements, Garranes being one, and of course we have all the stuff – the imported late Roman amphorae in the late 5th/early 6th. The most recent radiocarbon dating does suggest though the raths start to be constructed in the early 6th century. I think we need to look at these centuries from both the Iron Age and the early medieval perspective, to bridge the chronological period gap, so that we can start to really investigate what was happening in 5th century Ireland.

    Like

  4. I have to agree here and think it is a steal at the price for what it is. I have one fear – I will be returning to this book again and again – I hope the spine can take it. This has a broader application – for a book that so well serves the topic it needs to stand up to library use.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s