chapter  1
5 Pages

The Roman Impact

This book is concerned with the archaeology of Ireland in the early middle ages; that is, the period between the advent of Christianity, which had taken place by the early decades of the fifth century, and the settlement of the AngloNormans in the late twelfth century. The material remains of Ireland in this period are of great interest, since they include large numbers of surviving settlement and ecclesiastical sites (though only a small proportion of these have been investigated archaeologically), artefacts of considerable variety and richness ranging from everyday objects to precious relics, and the remains of Viking towns as revealed in the recent Dublin excavations. This is also the period when Ireland first emerges into history and we can begin to learn about the Irish from their own writings. It is therefore possible to draw upon documentary sources in order to illuminate the archaeological evidence.