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Title: Settlement structure in middle-late bronze age Ireland
Author: Ginn, Victoria Ruth
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines Middle-Late Bronze Age (c. 1750--600 BC) domestic settlement patterns in Ireland. Recent archaeological investigations have extended the knowledge of habitation, but no detailed, systematic attempts have been made to understand the domestic evidence, or to substantially revise the existing models for the development of complex Bronze Age societies. All available data relating to settlements dating to Middle-Late Bronze Age have been collated. An evidence-based chronology for settlement is established for the first time. The data are examined at multiple scales to investigate any spatial or chronological trends in settlement character or distribution. The relationships between settlements and the surrounding environmental and social landscapes are analysed through a GIS. The new data are investigated to see how domestic settlements operated, and if traditional concepts regarding the structure of Bronze Age society can still be upheld. Agent-based modelling and social network analysis provide another dimension to the discussion regarding power, regionalism and hierarchy within the settlement network. The results reveal a distinct rise in the visibility, and a rapid adaption, of domestic architecture, which seems to have occurred earlier in Ireland than elsewhere in western and northern Europe. The ways in which Bronze Age communities socialised their landscapes were similar throughout Ireland, highlighting a high degree of communication and shared preference for location, but by the Late Bronze Age differences became more obvious, reflecting an increased regionalism. Overall, a strong, socio-economic hierarchy is not evident A distinct class of independent farmers existed, but on the whole there is little wealth and power overtly present in the extant settlement record. This thesis provides a major contribution to the continued appreciation of the Middle Bronze Age as a distinctive period. It also presents a wellordered. integrated, alternative interpretation to the traditional perception of stratification in the Bronze Age.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available