A Model for Mobility in the Irish Iron Age

Author(s): Erin Crowley

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "On the Periphery or the Leading Edge? Research in Prehistoric Ireland" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

The Irish Iron Age (~700 BC – AD 500) has been a point of consternation for archaeologists, with large ceremonial centers but scanty settlement evidence. While, during this period, more densely populated and proto-urban settlements emerged in Britain and the European Continent, settlements in Ireland diminished in scale. It was initially proposed that the dispersed and ephemeral nature of Irish settlement was the result of demographic and/or climatic decline. New studies, however, suggest that Iron Age settlement was characterized by nomadic pastoralism rather than by collapse. In order to understand how mobility shaped Iron Age archaeology and society, this paper compares ethnographic and archaeological studies of other agropastoral and pastoral-nomadic societies, including those from the Eurasian Steppe and the highland Andes. Where comparisons to contemporary European societies have constrained our understanding of Irish communities, a broader theoretical and geographic perspective may highlight aspects of the archaeological record that have previously been overlooked. This paper, therefore, assesses and compares theoretical definitions of an archaeology of mobility and examines what features we might identify in the Irish landscape that would clarify our understanding of Iron Age settlement and socio-political organization.

Cite this Record

A Model for Mobility in the Irish Iron Age. Erin Crowley. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452483)


Geographic Keywords
Europe: Western Europe

Spatial Coverage

min long: -13.711; min lat: 35.747 ; max long: 8.965; max lat: 59.086 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25332