Underground Archaeology: Studies on Human Bones and Artefacts from Ireland's Caves [Hardback]

Marion Dowd (Editor)

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ISBN: 9781785703515 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Year of Publication: 2016 | Language: English 232p, H279 x W215 (mm) b/w and colour illus




Underground Archaeology

Details

This book brings together a series of ground-breaking studies on human bones and artefacts recovered from Irish caves principally between 1870 and 1990. Until now these assemblages had either been completely neglected or had not been examined with modern techniques. The 15 expert contributions presented here shine a light on the use and perception of caves at different times in the past, from the Early Mesolithic through to post-medieval times. The book opens with osteoarchaeological analyses of human bones from 24 caves, revealing complex and varied funerary practices and rituals. Shell beads and animal tooth pendants provide insight into the status of those whose skeletal remains were placed in caves. Studies on lithics, stone axes and prehistoric pottery highlight the changing roles of caves as places for shelter, occupation, burial and ritual practices during the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age. An examination of the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age metalwork contributes to wider evidence of votive deposition at natural places in the landscape. Several chapters focus on the wealth of early medieval and Viking-age activities, drawing on pottery assemblages from caves along the north coast, to ecclesiastical shrine fragments from sites in the south, as well as Viking material from a growing number of caves. These studies will be of interest to osteoarchaeologists; to those who specialise in particular archaeological periods; to museumologists and artefact specialists; to cave archaeologists; and to everyone interested in Ireland’s past.

Table of Contents

List of figure
List of plates
List of tables
 
Introduction and acknowledgements
Marion Dowd
 
PART I: HUMAN REMAINS
 
1. Osteoarchaeological analysis of human skeletal remains from 23 Irish caves
Linda Fibiger
2. Osteoarchaeological analysis of human skeletal remains from Dunmore Cave, Co. Kilkenny
Linda G. Lynch
 
PART II: ARTEFACT ASSEMBLAGES
3. Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age lithics from Irish caves
Peter C. Woodman
4. Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery from Irish caves
Helen Roche
5. Polished stone axeheads from Irish caves
Stephen Mandal, Emmett O’Keeffe and Gabriel Cooney
6. Prehistoric perforated marine shells from Irish caves
Rory Connolly
 7. Prehistoric perforated and worked animal teeth from Irish caves
Fiona Beglane
8. Late Bronze Age and Iron Age metalwork from Irish caves
Katharina Becker
9. Early medieval and medieval pottery from sea caves along the Antrim coast
Alison Kyle
10. Early medieval shrine fragments from Park North Cave, Co. Cork and Kilgreany Cave, Co. Waterford
Griffin Murray
11. Viking-age artefacts from Irish caves
John Sheehan
 
PART III: SITE-SPECIFIC ARTEFACT REPORTS
12. Stone rings from Robber’s Den, Co. Clare
Alison Sheridan
13. Medieval pottery from Carrigmurrish Cave, Co. Waterford
Clare McCutcheon
14. Late seventeenth century material from Kilgreany Cave, Co. Waterford
Clare McCutcheon
15. Coarse stone objects from Ballynamintra Cave, Co. Waterford
Stephen Mandal
 

Reviews & Quotes

"A volume to turn to where you will find hard data and discussion… this is a valuable work of documentation and more kudos to Marion and her fifteen contributors for bringing it into existence."
Chris Howes
Descent (13/04/2017)

"This is a worthy counterpart to Dowd's earlier volume, and it is there that readers should look for the broader discussion that draws together the wide-ranging material presented here."
Ian Armit
Medieval Archaeology (16/10/2018)

"This volume is an essential reference for anyone studying the human and artefactual assemblages from British and Irish caves, and in terms of the osteology chapters, human bone assemblages more widely. It is also a necessary addition to the Irish archaeological literature, in allowing this once understudied material to be woven into broader landscape narratives. "
Lindsey Büster
Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society (07/06/2017)

"I would recommend this book to anyone who was intrigued by Dowd’s The archaeology of caves in Ireland and who is interested in the primary data that she used for her broader synthesis presented therein… specialists from the Mesolithic to the Viking Age will be pleased and inspired by the wealth of data included here. This book will be an important reference work for generations of archaeologists to come."
Marieke C. Stahlschmidt
Journal of Irish Archaeology - Reviewer 2 (17/04/2018)

"The 15 expert contributions presented in Underground Archaeology shine a light on the use and perception of caves at different times in the past, from the Early Mesolithic through to post-medieval times. The studies in this volume provide many valuable insights and will be of interest to osteoarchaeologists; to those who specialize in particular archaeological periods; to museumologists and artifact specialists; to cave archaeologists; and to everyone interested in Ireland’s past."

www.sirreadalot.org (28/04/2017)

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