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Title: A palynological investigation of land-use patterns in first millennium AD Ireland
Author: Coyle McClung, Elizabeth
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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The first millennium AD in Ireland encompasses the obscure prehistoric late Iron Age Period and the thriving historic Early Medieval Period, which Includes the arrival of Christianity, the Vikings and the establishment of the first towns in Ireland. Several cultural changes are noted throughout this millennium, the Impetus for which has been attributed to a variety of factors. This thesis uses palynology to reconstruct land•use patterns for the north of Ireland, Published climate reconstructions for the period have been evaluated to assess the possible impact of climate on cultural changes. The documentary sources have been examined to gain insight into the social dynamics for the Early Medieval Period and political turmoil has also been assessed, including territorial disputes and the impact of the Vikings on the subsistence economy. This research has found that variations in land-use across Ireland have not necessarily been prompted or facilitated by environmental events. The late Iron Age lull has previously been regarded as the result of a widespread population collapse following a climatic deterioration. This research suggests that reduced human activity was more likely a symptom of Socially driven Changes such as the fragmentation of large regional political centres. A reopening up of the landscape before the arrival of the Church is clearly identified but the diachronic evidence suggest that neither was prompted by a wholesale intrusion into Ireland nor by climatic changes. and socio -political developments offer a more likely scenario, The ADS40 event is not apparent in the palaeoenvironmental records. but there is some evidence of a reduction in activity at this time. Changes to the archaeological record during the closing centuries of the study period are accompanied by agricultural expansion and diversification. This could be attributed to changing political structures and/or an intensification of farming to provision the burgeoning towns from this time.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available