Prehistoric Settlement Patterns in Central Ulster: Evidence from artifacts and sites

  • Clive Briggs

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The areal limits of the study in hand are basically the bounds of the counties of Derry and Tyrone. My interest in part of this area was stimulated by visits to the excavation at Ballynagilly after 1966.
    The discoverer of the site, Mr James Brennan of Feegarron, and his fellow-worker Mr George Freeburn of Craigs, Orritor, had collected a vast amount of information and many artifacts.

    It was therefore first necessary to catalogue these collections and much of the finds catalogue and an . analysis of it was presented as an undergraduate dissertation entitled ’The Settlement and Economy of the East Tyrone Region’ (Q.U.B.,1969). This provided a basic chart for a more detailed exploration of this almost virgin terrain in terms of prehistoric food supply and production. That study achieved much of what it set out to do, though many sites however remained unvisited, many artifacts remained unseen and no planned excavations had been carried into effect.

    In this postgraduate study, the main intentions. were
    (a) to examine large accumulations of stone axe-heads and determine how far they may have served as axes, rather than adzes, or any other purposes.
    (b) Another important aspect, controversial at the time, was the megaliths. Mid-Ulster was considered crucial to the typological and chronological arguments developed between de Valera and Corcoran. Plans of sites therefore had to be drawn as part of the programme.
    (c) At the same time another progressive aspect of prehistoric
    studies was emerging through independent palaeoecological
    investigations within the area to hand. Not only was the study of pollen and determination of C dates in progress, but Prof. Frank Oldfield was also at the time devising collecting apparatus for examining early rates of silt deposition in the Lough Neagh Basin. Such investigations provided a most useful background against which to test hypotheses pertaining to early settlement
    Date of Award1981
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Queen's University Belfast
    SupervisorMichael Avery (Supervisor) & E.M. Jope (Supervisor)

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