Tower houses are the ubiquitous building of pre-modern Ireland. A type of castle,
the tower house was constructed c.1350–1650, and extant examples number in the
thousands. This book examines the social role of the tower house in late
medieval and early modern Ireland. It uses a multidisciplinary methodology to
uncover the lived experience of a wide range of people. This enables exploration
of the castle’s context, including how it was used as a social tool and in
environmental exploitation for economic gain. By challenging traditional
interpretations of the Middle Ages we find new evidence for the agency of
previously overlooked individuals, and thus a new insight into the transition
from medieval to modern. Each chapter in the book builds on the one preceding,
to echo the movement of trade good from environmental exploitation to entry into
global economic networks, keeping focus on the role of the tower house in
facilitating each step. By progressively broadening the scope, the conclusion is
reached that the tower house can be used as a medium for analysing the impact of
global trends at the local level. It accomplishes this lofty goal by combining
archival evidence with archaeological fieldwork and on-site survey to present a
fresh perspective on one of the best-known manifestations of Irish
An archaeology of lunacy examines the historic lunatic asylum from an interdisciplinary perspective, employing methods drawn from archaeology, social geography, and history to create a holistic view of the built heritage of the asylum as a distinctive building type. In the popular imagination, historic lunatic asylums were dark, monolithic, and homogenous, instruments for social confinement and punishment. This book aims to redress this historical reputation, showing how the built environment and material worlds of lunatic asylums were distinctive and idiosyncratic – and highly regional. They were also progressive spaces and proving grounds of architectural experimentation, where the reformed treatment practices known as moral management were trialled and refined. The standing remains of the nineteenth-century lunatic asylum system represent a unique opportunity to study a building-type in active transition, both materially and ideologically. When they were constructed, asylums were a composite of reform ideals, architectural materials, and innovative design approaches. An archaeological study of these institutions can offer a materially focused examination of how the buildings worked on a daily basis. This study combines critical analysis of the architecture, material remains, and historical documentary sources for lunatic asylums in England and Ireland. Students and scholars of later historical archaeology and built heritage will find the book a useful overview of this institutional site type, while historians of medicine will find the focus on interior design and architecture of use. The general public, for whom asylums frequently represent shadowy ruins or anonymous redevelopments, may be interested in learning more about the buildings.
fabric’ of the city into the expansive metropolis of the eighteenth century.3 Further clarifying our understanding of Ireland’s landscape in the
past is work by the Irish Post-MedievalArchaeology Group, which shares
essential information on archaeological excavations in Ireland and literature relating to post-medievalarchaeology, also publishing volumes that
correspond with the Group’s conference proceedings.4 Never before have
scholars had such a lively and complete impression of how early modern
Ireland may have looked.
Cultural and literary historians are
student of the medieval English peasant and we can think of some startling and significant instances of the medievalarchaeological study of the medieval peasantry. Some of these have been discussed already in this volume. 14 Important examples of archaeological engagement with medieval peasantry include, most obviously, showpiece investigation of deserted medieval settlements, such as Wharram Percy, Goltho and Barton Blount. 15 Examination of settlement patterns through field-walking and digs have helped to define the landscape and contours of the medieval peasant
An archaeological perspective on the use of recipe books
post-medieval period, usually taken as being c .1450 onwards,
has emerged as a specific field its own right. In the UK the
discipline is sometimes termed post-medievalarchaeology. An
alternative term, ‘historical archaeology’, is, however,
increasingly preferred, as it can be linked more seamlessly with the
parallel growth of post-colonial archaeological work, especially in
settlement in plantation ulster •
resulting in the formation of the Irish Post-MedievalArchaeology Group in
1999 and the publication of a number of important volumes.112 The results of
excavations already undertaken, such as the investigations into the location of
the village on Sir John Hume’s estate in Co. Fermanagh, have been mixed.113
However, recent excavations at the ‘lost town’ at Dunluce have revealed much
about its early seventeenth-century economy and society, and there are a
number of sites in the escheated counties that offer potential for further
Press, 2014), pp. 107–21.
16 The role of the cross in the riddle is discussed in Arnold Talentino, ‘Riddle 30: The Vehicle of the Cross’, Neophilologus , 65 (1981), 129–36.
17 Niles, Old English Enigmatic Poems , p. 130.
18 A prime example is Beowulf ; for a review of scholarship on archaeology and Beowulf since the nineteenth century, see, for example, Rosemary Cramp, ‘ Beowulf and Archaeology’, MedievalArchaeology , 1 (1957), 57–77, repr. in The ‘Beowulf’ Poet: A Collection of Critical Essays , ed. Donald K. Fry (Englewood Cliffs, NJ
archaeology. Before the 1930s professional archaeologists made little attempt to study the homes of
medieval peasants, confining themselves almost entirely to grander
buildings such as churches and manor houses. Even the vernacular
dwelling-houses they did notice were those of a relatively prosperous
class. Medievalarchaeology ‘was almost entirely concerned with the
w.g. hoskins, the founding of modern local history—109
study of the remains of those buildings, erected by the wealthier
sectors of the population: principally churches, abbeys, castles and
Consecrating Cemeteries’, in Burial in Early Medieval England and Wales , ed. Sam Lucy and Andrew Reynolds, The Society for MedievalArchaeology Monograph Series 17 (London: Society for MedievalArchaeology, 2002), pp. 195–208 (pp. 201–5).
2 The Tripartite Life of Patrick with Other Documents Related to that Saint , ed. and trans. Whitley Stokes (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode 1887), pp. 473–5.
3 Ibid., pp. 237–8.
4 The poem acquired its title from Christian W. M. Grein, Bibliothek der angelsächsischen Poesie in kritisch bearbeiteten Texten und mit vollständigem
The site of New Place from the prehistoric to the early medieval period
William Mitchell and Kevin Colls
Palmer , S .
( 2010b ).
8000 Years at Barford: The Archaeology of
the A429 Barford Bypass, Warwickshire, 2005–7 ,
Report 1046 (Warwickshire County Council).
Pantin , W. A .
( 1962 –63). ‘Medieval English
Town-House Plans’ , MedievalArchaeology , 6–7: 202