Landscape Early Ireland

Landscape & Society in Early Ireland

Funded by: HEA (Higher Education Authority), NDP (National Development Plan), EU (European Union).


Dr. Conor NewmanProject Leader
Dr. William O'BrienProject Leader
Professor John WaddellConvenor
Dr. Michelle ComberPostdoctoral researcher
Dr. Karen MolloyPostdoctoral researcher
Robert LeggPostgraduate researcher
Maeve MoriartyPostgraduate researcher


Convenor: Professor John Waddell, Department of Archaeology

Contested Landscapes: The Valley of the Leinster Blackwater from Prehistory to the Middle Ages

The aim of this project is to establish essential database modules and preliminary analysis of aspects of ownership and strategic development of the Blackwater and Moynalty basin as a contested lowland environment from prehistory (c. 4000 BC) through the formation of the kingdom of Brega to the Middle Ages (c. AD 1500). The Blackwater and Moynalty rivers share a broad valley between Kells and Navan in north-central Meath. One of the few naturally pre-configured land parcels in Meath, it is the natural corridor from the north-west. Opening to Tara and the Boyne Valley, control of this area was important from the prehistoric to the Medieval periods and its contestation is manifest in the strategic location of, inter alia, military fortifications on the Hill of Lloyd and at Navan, the monastic foundations of Kells; Castlekeeran, Donaghmore and Donaghpatrick, the inauguration and assembly sites of Teltown, Tlachtga and Raffin Fort, and other monuments including numerous settlement and burial sites of all periods. Projects 1 and 2 (below) will explore, for the first time, the creation and diachronic development over several millennia of contrasting lowland and upland habitats and which will develop collaborative research and teaching programmes on different aspects of the cultural landscape in prehistoric and historic Ireland.

Mr Conor Newman, Dr M Hennessy (TCD), Dr K Molloy

Marginal Landscapes: Upland Settlement in Late Prehistoric Ireland

The aim of this study is to examine the human use and perception of upland environments in western Ireland, c. 3000 BC-AD 500, in particular the intensive use of upland areas during the Bronze Age, a period that has not been extensively investigated to date and for which there is remarkably well preserved evidence in pre-bog landscapes. This project will consider the economic development of upland areas in late prehistory, mainly in terms of resource utilisation and land-use practices. Various settlement and subsistence strategies will be examined, with particular emphasis on the understanding of early agricultural systems and other resource environments, most notably the exploitation of mineral wealth. The symbolic dimension of this upland settlement, expressed most visibly through the use of ritual monuments as an integral part of a culturally inscribed landscape, will also be explored.

Dr William O'Brien, Dr Sam Redfern, Professor M O'ConnellParticipants:
Mr Conor Newman, Dr M Hennessy (TCD), Dr K Molloy