Socio-political dynamics in later prehistoric Ireland:insights from the pollen record

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The Irish Late Bronze Age (1200-600 BC) is characterised in the archaeological record by several distinctive phases of material culture, the earliest hillfort constructions, an increasing level of wetland occupation, and progressively more complex and regionalised expressions of ceremonial/ritual activity represented by metalwork production and hoard deposition. It is separated from the ensuing Iron Age by three centuries during which evidence for settlement, material culture, trade and ritual becomes obscure throughout the island, marking this as arguably the most perplexing period of Irish prehistory. In the Earlier Iron Age, from c. 300 BC, a new material culture emerges alongside large-scale ceremonial centres and earthworks that suggest the establishment of well-defined political territories. Pollen diagrams from across Ireland provide important glimpses into the varying nature of landscape use and, by inference, demographic patterns during the later prehistoric period. These patterns are compared with the archaeological record. Distinct changes in landscape use over time can be seen to underlie successive re-organisations of the socio-political structure. Despite the apparent hiatus between the Later Bronze Age and Early Iron Age and overt transformations in many aspects of the archaeological record, certain aspects of continuity suggest a persistence in the meaning of specific localities and activities across these periods.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2006
EventEuropean Association of Archaeologists' 12th Annual Meeting - Cracow, Poland
Duration: 19 Sep 2006 → …


ConferenceEuropean Association of Archaeologists' 12th Annual Meeting
Period19/09/2006 → …


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