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  • Publication
    Mapping social, ideological and economic transformations: Settlement and landscape in the early medieval kingdom of Brega, AD 400-1100
    (University College Dublin. School of Archaeology, 2022) ;
    Archaeology is a constantly evolving discipline, and geographic information system (GIS) software and theory as it relates to archaeology is evolving with it. This project combines archaeology and GIS and has two main strands. The first is to examine settlement, landscape, transport and communications in the early medieval kingdom of Brega. Brega was one of the most economically wealthy and politically powerful kingdoms in the country at this time and had a long practice of prehistoric settlement. It also has substantial early medieval settlement remains and is the location of Tara, the seat of the High Kings of Ireland. It was also a kingdom riven with strife throughout the period. Annexed internally by the Southern Uí Néill, it was also a target of attack for the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and latterly the Anglo-Normans, and all of these factors served to alter the political and often physical landscape of the kingdom. This is the first time an attempt has been made to model the transport, communications and settlement network of an early medieval kingdom in as complete a way as the evidence allows. The second strand was to approach this subject through use of a GIS, using free and open source datasets, to assess their ability for use in an Irish context. The thesis uses a wide-ranging suite of GIS processes applied to these datasets to produce meaningful, substantial and original results. Some of the processes within the PhD have never before been applied to Irish material remains and these new techniques and approaches coupled with the power of the GIS to process large datasets can help untangle some of the complexity of settlement in Brega.