Ireland's First Settlers: Time and the Mesolithic [Paperback]

Peter Woodman(Author)

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ISBN: 9781789256888 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2021 | 408p, H11 x W8.5,
Status: Not Yet Published - Available for pre-order

Ireland's First Settlers


Ireland's First Settlers tells the story of the archaeology and history of the first continuous phase of Ireland’s human settlement. It combines centuries of search and speculation about human antiquity in Ireland with a review of what is known today about the Irish Mesolithic. This is, in part, provided in the context of the author's 50 years of personal experience searching to make sense of what initially appeared to be little more than a collection of beach rolled and battered flint tools.

The story is embedded in how the island of Ireland, its position, distinct landscape and ecology impacted on when and how Ireland was colonized. It also explores how these first settlers evolved their technologies and lifeways to suit the narrow range of abundant resources that were available.

The volume concludes with discussions on how the landscape should be searched for the often ephemeral traces of these early settlers and how sites should be excavated. It asks what we really know about the thoughts and life of the people themselves and what happened to them as farming began to be introduced.

Table of Contents

Part I
1. why
2. Understanding Ireland’s environment and ecology
3. It’s about time
Part II. Laying the foundations
4. Where did it all come from?
5. Chronology, flint facts and other artefacts
Part III. Often an island too far?
6. Anything earlier?
7. The first arrivals
8. Settling in
Part IV. Lifeways
9. Patterns in the landscape
10. Food, sustenance and procurement
Part V. Where to now?
11. A critical analysis of fieldwork and methodolgies
12. Life, death, the universe and everything

Reviews & Quotes

""...this is the type of study of the Mesolithic that we need for all countries, and no one is better suited to provide it for Ireland than Peter Woodman.""
(Volume XXIV, 2015)

"“Ireland’s First Settlers is an essential researchers’ tool – a poignant, final opportunity to hear the thoughts of a period-defining authority on his most-loved academic subject.” "

The Prehistoric Society ()

"“It is accessible, well-illustrated and an essential read… A hard act to follow.” "
Alison Sheridan
(March April 2017)

"Woodman has the ability to write a serious academic text with a light hearted and approachable style. This volume is an essential text for anyone working on the Irish Mesolithic. Expertly written and helpfully illustrated, this provides a full overview of the Irish Mesolithic and places it in a wider European context.

(Spring Newsletter)

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