Book Chapter Details
Mandatory Fields
W.O'Brien, J. O'Driscoll and N. Hogan
2018 January
Conflict Archaeology: Materialities of Collective Violence from Prehistory to Late Antiquity
Warfare and the burning of hillforts in Bronze Age Ireland.
Optional Fields
Prehistoric archaeology; ancient warfare, Bronze Age Ireland
This paper considers the archaeological evidence for warfare and conflict in Bronze Age Ireland, with specific reference to traumatic events that occurred at hillforts during the twelfth and eleventh centuries BC. The building of these strongholds took place at a time of growing militarism, reflected in an increased output of bronze weaponry, including the first use of swords. The picture that emerges, however accurate, is of a highly competitive society, obsessed with power and status, but riven by disputes of various kinds. As with all warfare, those conflicts were historically contingent and culturally determined, leaving us with the challenge of how to recognize short-term catastrophic events in the archaeological record. The results of recent fieldwork are used to identify direct evidence of conflict at a number of hillforts across Ireland. Patterns of deliberate destruction can be identified for the first time, based on a correlation of geophysical survey data and excavation records. The significance of these hillfort-burning events is considered in relation to longer-term processes that shaped the political relations of the Late Bronze Age.
M. Fernandex-Gotz and N. Roymans
Grant Details
Irish Research Council