Assembly and élite culture in Iron Age and late Antique Europe: a case-study of Óenach Clochair, Co. Limerick

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Abstract

This paper explores Óenach Clochair, an assembly landscape surrounding Knocklong, Co. Limerick, within its wider context. It examines its character, composition, extent and historical significance, suggesting that it was a place of regional assembly for Munster from the seventh–eighth century AD. Analysis focuses on assessing evidence for late Iron Age and early medieval activity, concentrating specifically on late Antiquity (fourth–seventh centuries AD). Through this prism it frames discussion of the broader phenomenon of assembly in Ireland within the context of developments elsewhere in post-Roman western Europe. Concurrently, it offers a brief analysis of one of the more important hoards of Roman material thus far found in Ireland: the Balline hoard, suggesting a socio-political context for its origins and location. More generally, eastern County Limerick boasts a modest yet important group of high-status artefacts intimating an élite culture heavily influenced by late and sub-Roman society. The role of such cultural contexts in shaping the development of assembly practice and perception of civic culture in Ireland during the fourth–seventh centuries AD is explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-187
JournalJournal of Irish Archaeology
Volume23
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • elite culture; late antique; assembly; kingship

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