tDAR Logo tDAR digital antiquity

Gendering herding: an ethnoarchaeology of transhumant settlements in the west of Ireland

Author(s): Eugene M Costello

Year: 2017

» Downloads & Basic Metadata


In much of Ireland, from early medieval times up to the 19th century, it was common practice to take livestock - cattle especially - up to the hills and mountains for the summer. This was a small-scale transhumance known as booleying, and involved the relocation of a minority of people with livestock to the upland areas. Here they lived in summer (booley) huts and tended to milch cows. The remains of these structures are now the best archaeological evidence of the practice ever taking place. Furthermore, in the late 18th and 19th centuries, it is clear that it was mainly young women who acted as herders on the summer pastures. Drawing from field survey in Connemara and folklore archives, this paper examines the agency of these young women within farming communities and questions whether they maintained genuine social freedoms as a result of their important role as cow herders.

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Cite this Record

Gendering herding: an ethnoarchaeology of transhumant settlements in the west of Ireland. Eugene M Costello. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435394)


Agency female herders Transhumance

Geographic Keywords
Ireland Western Europe

Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -10.463; min lat: 51.446 ; max long: -6.013; max lat: 55.38 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 243

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