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Creative Continuity:Tradition and Community Reproduction on the Margins of Western Ireland

Author(s): Ryan Lash

Year: 2016

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Local pilgrimage or an turas traditions in western Ireland provide a valuable opportunity to critique and nuance the common association of geographically marginal communities with cultural stasis. Emerging archaeological evidence suggests that modern pilgrims not only re-used older monuments, but also reproduced certain patterns of movement and memory initially developed for monastic liturgies in the early medieval period (c. 400-1100 CE). Such apparent long-term continuities of practice evoke colonial and nationalist perspectives that attributed western Ireland’s ‘timelessness’ to its geographic, ecological, or genealogical marginality. Using archaeological, folkloric, and ethnographic evidence from the cult of Saint Leo on the island of Inishark, this paper will explore how people creatively adapted and maintained the infrastructure of early medieval ritual as they confronted the shifting constraints and affordances of island life during the 18th-20th century. This long-term perspective reveals the dynamism of tradition and its capacity to sustain community relations in marginal settings. 

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Creative Continuity:Tradition and Community Reproduction on the Margins of Western Ireland. Ryan Lash. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434556)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 734

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America