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Edel Bhreathnach, Tara: a select bibliography (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy for the Discovery Programme 1995, reprinted 1998), 173 ++

The book contains a general introductory essay on kingship, mythology, sovereignty, high-kingship, the Uí Néill and ‘synthetic historians’, saints and their biographers, the archaeology and topography of Tara, and the name Temair. There follows a comprehensive bibliography arranged in a large number of relevant categories.

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pub mon tarasurv  Conor Newman, Tara: An archaeological survey (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy for the Discovery Programme 1997), 376 ++

The first comprehensive (including geophysical) survey of the monuments on the Hill of Tara, with relevant introductory material. The book also proposes for the first time a model for the chronological development of those structures.
Contributors: Joe Fenwick, Kieron Goucher, Thomas Cummins, Mark Noel, Peter O’Connor, Ralph W. Magee and Elizabeth Anderson.

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Kieran Denis O’Conor, The archaeology of medieval rural settlement in Ireland (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy for the Discovery Programme 1998), 144 ++

The book begins by examining the history of medieval rural settlement studies in Ireland, and then considers the subject thematically. Topics include; the role of castles, the nature of English peasant settlement on Anglo-Norman manors and the nature of Gaelic settlement in other areas. Strategies for tackling the various questions identified are considered in detail and the volume includes an extensive bibliography. This book was the scoping document for what became the Discovery Programme Medieval Rural Settlement Project.

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Aidan O’Sullivan, The archaeology of lake settlement in Ireland (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy for the Discovery Programme 1998), 236 ++

The book examines the history of such studies in Ireland. It describes the often overlooked archaeological evidence for the lakeshore habitations of Mesolithic and Neolithic people and outlines the extensive evidence for Bronze Age lake settlements. It details similar evidence through the all stages of the medieval period. It argues for a new multi-period, regional landscape study, integrating archaeological, historical and palaeoenvironmental evidence. This book was the scoping document for what became the Discovery Programme Lake Settlement Project..

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Aidan O’Sullivan, Foragers, Farmers and Fishers in a Coastal Landscape: An Intercultural Archaelogical Survey of the Shannon Estuary, 1992-7 (Dublin, Royal Irish Academy for the Discovery Programme 2001), 345 ++

People have been living by Ireland's coast since earliest times, but archaeologists are only now only begetting to explore its potential. The Discovery Programme publishes in this monograph the results of the North Munster Project's pioneering intertidal archaeological survey in south-west Ireland. The Shannon estuary is introduced in a multidisciplinary chapter that uses archaeology, history, folklore, cartographic sources and placename studies to explore its role in the region's history. The geology, soils, hydrography and paleoenvironmental deposits of the estuary are then described

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 pub mon nmp1 Eoin Grogan, The North Munster Project Volume 1: The later prehistoric landscape of south-east Clare (Dublin, Wordwell for the Discovery Programme 2005), 341 ++

This volume is part of the Discovery Programme North Munster Project. During the later prehistoric period in Ireland (middle Bronze Age to Iron Age) the lower catchment of the River Shannon was one of the most important regions in the   country as exemplified by high-status artefactual evidence (sheet gold ornaments etc), much of it recovered in past centuries without detailed archaeological context. This book describes the project set up to investigate the richness and diversity of that context, which revealed the complexity of familial, local and sub- regional landscape organisation in the period. The major implications of this research are explored at a national level in the context of regional characterisation and identity.

Contributors: Tom Condit, Finola O’Carroll, Aoife Daly, Aidan O’Sullivan, Ines   Hagen, Isabel Bennett, Karen Molloy, Finbar McCormick, Emily Murray, Barry Masterson, Gabriel Cooney, Nora Birmingham and Bernard Guinan.

 pub mon nmp2 Eoin Grogan, The North Munster Project Volume 2: The prehistoric landscape of North Munster (Dublin, Wordwell for the Discovery Programme 2005), 226 ++

This volume (related to number 8 above) further evaluates the late prehistoric evidence from the Shannon catchment area and discusses a series of proposed models for the emergence of complex socio-political regional patterns in the late Bronze Age.

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C. Fredengren, A. Kilfeather and I. Stuijts, Lough Kinale: studies of an Irish lake (The Discovery Programme Lake Settlement Project: Discovery Programme Monograph No. 8) (Dublin, Wordwell for the Discovery Programme 2010), 292 ++

This book is the result of one module of the Discovery Programme’s Lake Settlement Project. The study examined the archaeology of Lough Kinale from the Mesolithic to the present. Lake archaeology is an under-studied aspect of Irish archaeology and this book is designed to contribute to a better understanding of that topic.

Lough Kinale was selected for study because a soft-bed lake was likely to provide good environmental information. A general review of the material from Lough Kinale showed that distinct human indicators existed for the Mesolithic period, the early medieval period and later. There was also potential for examining the question of the construction in the Mesolithic of man-made islands. This is one of the outstanding questions in lake settlement research and might explain the context of many of the late Mesolithic artefacts found on lakeshores in different parts of Ireland. Other issues that could be addressed at Lough Kinale included the building and use of larger high-cairn crannogs in proximity to each other. There are three large crannogs here, two of which have yielded rich artefact material. Were they in use at the same time and what was their social meaning?

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M. Murphy and M. Potterton, The Dublin Region in the Middle Ages: Settlement, Land-use and Economy (The Discovery Programme Medieval Rural Settlement Project: Discovery Programme Monograph No. 7) (Dublin, Fourcourts Press for the Discovery Programme 2010), 598 ++

This is the first major publication of the Discovery Programme's Medieval Rural Settlement Project. The book is a study of the medieval region that contained and was defined by the presence of Ireland's largest nucleated settlement. Combining documentary and archaeological data, this volume explores the primary settlement features of the hinterland area, including defensive monuments, manors, the church, and the Pale. It examines the ways in which resources of the region were managed and exploited to produce food, fuel, and raw materials for both town and country, and it investigates the processing of these raw materials for human consumption. Then as now, the city profoundly affected its surrounding area through its demands for resources and through the ownership of land by Dubliners (ecclesiastics and lay) and the control of trade by city merchants. In addition to presenting a timely examination of urban-rural interaction, the book contributes to wider debates on topics such as settlement landscapes, the role of lordship, and the productivity of agriculture.

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Martin Doody, The Ballyhoura Hills Project (Dublin, Wordwell for the Discovery Programme 2008), 732 ++

The Ballyhoura Hills Project was initiated in 1992, under the directorship of the author, to research some of the principal questions of the Discovery Programme in a confined but diverse geographical area, which was roughly centred on the Ballyhoura Hills, a series of steep hills at Seafin. A broad research strategy, combining extensive ground and aerial survey, test excavation and more detailed excavation at some sites, was followed. The study area is situated on the Cork/Limerick county border and adjacent areas of west Tipperary and contains three distinct landscape regions.

This is the final report of the Ballyhoura Hills Project which began in 1992 and examined evidence for Bronze Age settlement on the borders of Cork, Limerick and west Tipperary. As well as general background material, the book contains the reports on the important excavations at Chancellorsland, Conva and the linear earthwork known as the Claidh Dubh, as well as surveys of three hillforts in the Blackwater valley – Caherdrinny, Carntigherna and Castle Gale.

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Calire Cotter, The Western Stone Forts project, volumes 1 and 2: excavations at Dún Aonghasa and Dún Eoghanachta (Dublin, Wordwell for the Discovery Programme 2012)

The results of the Western Stone Forts Project are published in two phases. Volumes 1, 2 and the E-publication, Vol. 3, make up the first phase. Volumes 1 and 2 are published as two separate books merely for the sake of convenience (a single volume would have been too unwieldy) and the chapters are numbered sequentially in the two volumes. The ‘division’ falls after the structural evidence from Dún Aonghasa is presented (Vol. 1, Chapter 7); thus Vol. 2 opens with the finds from Dún Aonghasa (Vol. 2, Chapter 8). Volume 3 is published on-line and contains appendices and finds catalogues (relating to the two excavations) and details of ancillary studies (relating to Dún Aonghasa) that were carried out in the course of the project. All the Vol. 3 data are cross-referenced where appropriate in the published volumes, but for the sake of convenience a full list of the contents, figures and tables in Vol. 3 can be found at the end of Vol. 2. The bulk of the text in all three volumes relates to ‘The excavations at Dún Aonghasa’ (Vol. 1, Part II, Chapters 3–7; Vol. 2, Chapters 8–13; Vol. 3, Appendices 1–13). The ‘Background to the Western Stone Forts Project’ (Vol. 1, Part I, Chapter 1) and ‘The excavations at Dún Eoghanachta’ (Vol. 2, Chapters 14–21; Vol. 3, Appendices 14 and 15) are, by comparison, fairly short.

The format of both excavation reports follows what could probably be described at this stage as a ‘twentieth-century’ model, i.e. the accounts are comprehensive and contain a lot of detail. For those who wish to navigate quickly through the text of the Dún Aonghasa excavation report, the background and summary accounts in Chapters 1–5 and 13 outline the aims and results. Information on the finds can be found in the specialist reports in Chapter 8 and the finds catalogues in Vol. 3, Appendix 1. A summary of the Dún Eoghanachta excavations can be found in Chapter 21. The ‘Ancillary studies’ section of Vol. 3 contains a number of articles of wider interest (see Vol. 3 contents list). The Irish evidence for bronze-casting during the late Bronze Age is outlined in Appendix 7. Irish parallels for ‘buffered bronze rings’ are discussed in Appendix 8. The comparative strength of different forms of hillfort rampart is examined in Appendix 12.

Volume 3 is available online at

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