Archaeology of Uibh Laoire
Uibh Laoire is very rich in relics of the ancient past in common with much of South Western Ireland. The terminology of Irish Archaeological Eras can be a little challenging in that time scales tend to be a different from those of our larger neighbours. So..before we get to the articles, this very basic primer may help.
The Old Stone Age - Paleolithic (pre 8,000 b.c.) over 10,000 years ago
Until recently, there was no evidence of human habitation in Ireland from this period. However, slight proof has now been found in the discovery of a bear bone showing marks of butchering with a flint tool.
The Middle Stone Age - Mesolithic (8,500 - 4,000 b.c.) 6,000 to 10,500 years ago
The start of this period marks the end of the last great Ice Age in Ireland. The glaciation had totally changed the face of the island, leaving huge areas of glacial debris and killing all the large animal life. Hunter gathers probably followed the retreating ice north over a land bridge from southern Europe. Their hunting ground was mostly coastal and estuarine. Material remains consist mainly of 'microliths', small sharp stone chips fixed into wooden implements such as knives, spears and arrows.
The New Stone Age - Neolithic (4,000 - 2,500 b.c.) 4,5000 to 6,000 years ago
This phase in Irish prehistory saw the arrival of the first farmers around 4000 b.c.. They brought with them new ideas about food production having the ability to grow crops and raise domesticated animals such as cows, sheep and goats. The first farmers also introduced the earliest pottery vessels as well as utilising a much wider set of artefacts, including polished stone axes, a variety of flint tools and saddle querns for grinding corn.
The Bronze Age - Chalcolthic (2,500 - 500 b.c.) 2,500 to 1,600 years ago
Here we see the first introduction of metal working, copper at first but later alloyed with imported tin, probably from Cornwall. This made Bronze, a harder, more durable metal for tools. The earliest copper mines were at nearby Ross Island, Kilarney. There appears to have been a high concentration of population in this area during the era, resulting mostly from the prosperity brought with bronze working. There is evidence also of an emerging social elite.
The Iron Age (500 b.c. - 400 a.d.) 1,600 to 2,500 years ago
In this era we believe that immigrants from Europe brought new technological skills to the country and by exploiting them became leaders, causing the flourishing of the La Tene culture here. This also appears to be the time of the introduction of the celtic language. No DNA evidence has been found for a large scale invasion/migration however.
The later part of this period coincides with the Roman occupation of England, suprisingly there is almost no evidence of any invasion of Ireland, although trading existed.
And, as they say, "The rest is history"
But of course archaeology does not stop there.