Encountering the sacred in the everyday; from prehistory to the present

Author(s): Gabriel Cooney

Year: 2015


A notable feature of the Irish prehistory is the recurrence of activity over long periods of time in specific areas. These persistent places or landscapes are also a feature of the wider world of prehistoric Atlantic Europe. This pattern of human activity has been long debated. Depending on the point of view of the researcher it can be explained for example as indicating foci of long-term settlement, as the repeated but unrelated use of areas improved by human modification in the context of technological constraints on land use or as special places, sacred landscapes. Not only does the understanding of such landscapes require explanation in terms of how they articulated with everyday life in the past, but they also pose problems of recognition and sustainability in today's world. Globally significant cultural landscapes, for example as indicated by World Heritage status, are recognised as requiring specific protection, but there are problems relating to the wider recognition of prehistoric landscapes. The protective focus tends to be placed on visible monuments; dots on a map. In the context of modern development pressures, competing land uses and social change can we retain an ability to recognise and retain what was sacred in prehistory?

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Cite this Record

Encountering the sacred in the everyday; from prehistory to the present. Gabriel Cooney. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395091)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;