Thursday, 30 November 2017

Bronze Age Forum: new paper on agriculture

I was delighted to present at paper at the Bronze Age Forum, which took place at University College Cork, Ireland from 10 to 12 November 2017. The Bronze Age Forum is held every two years, and it provides an excellent opportunity to hear about recent discoveries by scholars on all aspects of Bronze Age life (and death) in Europe. The event in Cork was very enjoyable. More than 40 papers were presented, as well as posters, providing a great overview of what’s new in research and an opportunity to catch up with European colleagues.

The last time I spoke at a Bronze Age Forum event was back in 2006, so it was good to get involved again. My paper was entitled "Farming in Late Bronze Age Ireland: a landscape approach". The paper was co-authored with international and inter-sectoral colleagues from our major research project, “Settlement and Landscape in Later Prehistoric Ireland – Seeing beyond the site”.

Agriculture in Bronze Age Europe is often considered to have provided a basis for economic growth and emerging social power. Extensive scientific data from Bronze Age excavations – particularly archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological evidence – have become available over the past two decades. Despite this availability of data and the recognised importance of farming, detailed analysis of what was being farmed, and how farming was undertaken, is often absent from narratives on the Bronze Age. To address this issue, a major INSTAR-funded research project was established, “Settlement and Landscape in Later Prehistoric Ireland – Seeing beyond the site”, which aimed to contextualise the archaeology of Late Bronze Age and Iron Age Ireland within its contemporary prehistoric landscape, focusing on farming strategies and broader landscape interactions.

The paper revealed results from collation and analysis of archaeobotanical and zooarchaeological data, focusing on south-east Ireland during the Late Bronze Age. The project team is currently writing up results for publication, so watch this space for more information on our findings.

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