Transforming rulership in tenth-century Ireland: paradigms, problems and prospects

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The 10th century is crucial to several established and emerging paradigms within research focused on the evolution of society in early medieval Ireland. In particular, it has been proposed as a period of centralisation and administrative re-organisation within principally historical work, while within archaeological literature it is increasingly highlighted as a period of systemic decline and economic contraction. This article explores these major competing hypotheses, examining their evidential basis in terms of recent syntheses. It is established that the 9th to 11th centuries were a period of key change, but that the exact drivers can only be determined through focused re-analysis of archival material and new fieldwork. It traces the evolution of key royal sites from early medieval Ireland, which either fell out of use or transformed dramatically in the 10th century. When situated within broader analyses and ongoing debates, it is suggested that these changes are related to changes in the nature of authority in the 9th to 11th century, which are likely to have been key drivers in settlement dislocation and the evolution of new forms of regional rulership.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 10th century in Western Europe: change and continuity
EditorsIgor Santos Salazar, Catarina Tente
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781803275147
ISBN (Print)9781803275130
Publication statusPublished - 02 Aug 2023

Publication series

NameHistorical Archaeologies Series


  • Governance
  • Landscape
  • Radiocarbon data
  • Rulership
  • Settlement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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