Bronze Age, early metallurgy, copper, Ireland, prehistoric mine
Derrycarhoon is the first copper mine discovered in Ireland from the later Bronze Age. This book presents the results of recent archaeological survey and excavation of a small multi-period mine in the Cork region, along with details of landscape setting, bedrock geology, mineralisation and palaeoecology. The recent history of mining and prospection at Derrycarhoon is examined, beginning with the discovery in 1846 of so-called ‘Danish Mines’ now dated c.1300–1000 BC. The technology and operation of the early mine is considered, as well as its significance for the supply of copper in Bronze Age Ireland. The wider context is explored in relation to contemporary farm settlement in the region, with particular reference to the religious monuments of those communities. That settlement landscape was connected to regional trade networks controlled by emerging hillfort chiefdoms, at a time of growing militarism and pressure on metal supply in Ireland.