Animal exploitation in medieval Ireland

  • Sean Denham

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis seeks to investigate animal exploitation in medieval Ireland by integrating the two proxies best suited to deal with it, the zooarchaeological record and the historical record. Three problems present themselves in such an endeavour. The first is a more general problem within the realm of historical archaeology, and that is the integration of the archaeological and historical records. As will be discussed in the second chapter, this is a process for which there can be little standardized methodology, as the natures of the two proxies can vary so widely. The Irish historical record consists of various traditions, each quite distinct in their origin, style, and content; the native Irish records focus more on narrative history, while the Anglo-Norman material tends to be much more bureaucratic in nature. Both must be treated differently when using their information in concert with the archaeological record. Throughout this work, slightly more emphasis will be placed upon the Anglo-Norman historical data. Two reasons suggest this. First, the information they convey is primarily economic in nature, a characteristic shared with zooarchaeological data. Second, and more importantly, a vast
majority of the zooarchaeological evidence comes from Anglo-Norman or Anglo-Irish sites.
Date of AwardJul 2008
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorFinbar McCormick (Supervisor)

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