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  • Publication
    Industrial Activity on Early Medieval Rural Secular Sites in Ireland, A.D. 400-1100
    (Early Medieval Archaeology Project (EMAP) UCD School of Archaeology snd School of Geography Archaeology and Palaeoecology Queens University Belfast., 2012-12-31) ; ; ; ;
    EMAP Report 6.1 deals with the archaeological evidence for industrial activity on secular sites in early medieval Ireland. It is comprised of four main sections. The first section provides a general overview of the creation of the report, including general distribution maps and histograms. The archaeological evidence for industrial activity is covered in fuller detail in sections two and three. Section 2, prepared by Matt Seaver, examines the evidence in greater depth for specific industrial activity, namely iron-working, non-ferrous metal-working, glass- working, and antler/bone-working. This is accompanied by comprehensive tables outlining the site evidence for the major industrial activities. Section 3, prepared by Maureen Doyle, looks at the production of items of personal ornamentation and decoration. Rather than adopting a single-material approach, this section examines the production of different types of artefact. Thus ‘pins’ are discussed together, whether they were made of bone, antler, bronze or iron, since they performed a similar function. The final section consists of a site gazetteer of industrial activity in early medieval Ireland. This includes over 300 secular sites, and contains substantial tables outlining the evidence for craft activity, as well as the types of artefacts recovered from the site. Much of the evidence for industrial activity in the gazetteer is derived from reports which have not been fully published, i.e. the large body of ‘grey literature’ that has emerged during the last two decades. The investigation of industrial activity shows that certain early medieval secular site-types produced more evidence than others. It also suggests that there was a hierarchy of industrial activity, with perceived high status sites producing more prestigious materials – such as non- ferrous metals or glass. There is also a suggestion of a degree of regional patterning, most clearly indicated by the distribution of shale-working sites, but also possibly influential in the location of iron-working sites. The findings indicate that secular sites played a substantial role in early medieval craft and industry, a fact that is often overlooked due to a focus on the production-levels of ‘monastic towns’, and latterly, Hiberno-Norse settlements.