2 edition of Material correlates of the pre-famine agri-social hierarchy: Archaeological evidence from County Roscommon, Republic of Ireland. found in the catalog.
Material correlates of the pre-famine agri-social hierarchy: Archaeological evidence from County Roscommon, Republic of Ireland.
Katherine L. Hull
Written in English
Little is known about Irish pre-famine rural society beyond what is available in the few extant documents and contemporary reports available on the subject. Archaeological excavation offers a new avenue of research into the lives of the families that were most affected by the Great Hunger of 1845 to 1850. Over the course of six years, researchers associated with the Centre for the Study of Rural Ireland have excavated four rural households from the pre-famine period in County Roscommon, Republic of Ireland---Gorttoose townland, Mulliviltrin village, and the two Nary households at Ballykilcline townland. Through the combination of historical research and archaeological inquiry, I have recreated the rural agricultural and social hierarchy that was a social reality for the nineteenth-century population of rural County Roscommon. Rather than consisting of landlords, large farmers, and a simple homogenous "peasantry," the rural population of Ireland consisted of at least seven hierarchical categories based upon access to land and type of lease agreement. In rural Ireland, a family"s agri-social position was defined by their access to land and agricultural output. Therefore, the higher a household"s position in the rural agri-social hierarchy, the more land, livestock, or both, they owned or accessed. Would these agri-social positions be visible in the archaeological record? North American historical archaeologists have previously demonstrated that quality, quantity, and variety of artifact assemblages often reflect social status. I applied these North American methods in a new context, rural Ireland, to assess their effectiveness. In addition, I utilized a new data set, the locally-produced coarse earthenware, in the evaluation of status. I contend that due to the peculiarities of sociohistoric context, such as the role coarse earthenware played in agricultural production and local market conditions, coarse earthenware would more closely reflect agri-social position than imported fine earthenware, whose market history is largely unknown.
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