ARCH06033 2019 Neolithic Ireland and Europe

General Details

Full Title
Neolithic Ireland and Europe
Transcript Title
Neolithic Ireland and Europe
N/A %
Subject Area
ARCH - Archaeology
ESCI - Environmental Science
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Frances Lucy, Sam Moore, Shirley Markley
Programme Membership
SG_SAPPL_H08 201900 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Archaeology SG_SAPPL_B07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Applied Archaeology SG_SAPPL_C06 201900 Higher Certificate in Science in Applied Archaeology

This course explores issues of Neolithic life in Ireland within the broader European context while also examining developments in the Near East. Topics covered will include continuity with the Mesolithic; beginnings of agriculture in the Near East, central Europe and Ireland; food and farming; pottery, lithics and lithic technology; stone axes as indicators of communication and trade; religion, burial and non-funerary practises and monuments; megalithic tombs; and regionality. 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Express knowledge on the origins and spread of agriculture


Demonstrate knowledge of Neolithic settlement, material culture/technology, economy and ritual activities.

Demonstrate detailed knowledge of both megalithic and non-megalithic forms of burial.

Place the Irish Neolithic within a wider European context.

Demonstrate skill in researching the Neolithic archaeology of Ireland.
Express archaeological data and ideas concerning the Neolithic through both oral and written formats.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module will be delivered full-time. This will include lectures, laboratory practicals, and site visits augmented by independent learning and directed learning.

Module Assessment Strategies

This module is 70% Continuous Assessment and 30% Final Exam.

The Continuos Assessment is broken down into 50% for a selected essay on key themes associated with the Neolithic and 20% for a student presentation on comparing an aspect of the Irish Neolithic with that of Europe.

Repeat Assessments

Repeat Continuous Assessment and/or Final Exam.

Module Dependencies


Indicative Syllabus

Topics in this module includes The origins of farming; Neolithic Europe; Neolithic France and Britain; the meso-Neo transition; pottery and lithics; stone axes and trade; Neolithic Ireland and the house horizon; Megalithic tombs and art;; non-megalithic burial; Late Neolithic and introducing the Beaker phenomenon..

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
70 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
30 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Presentation Continuous Assessment Assessment 20 % Week 13 1,3,4,5,6
2 Essay Continuous Assessment Essay 50 % Week 9 1,2,3,4,5,6

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final Exam Final Exam Open Book Exam 30 % End of Term 1,2,3,4,5,6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Flat Classroom Lecture 2.5 Weekly 2.50
Independent Learning UNKNOWN Independent learning 4.5 Weekly 4.50
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.50 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2015-03-26 The Oxford Handbook of Neolithic Europe (Oxford Handbooks) OUP Oxford
ISBN 9780199545841 ISBN-13 9780199545841
Required Reading
2017-05-17 The Neolithic of Britain and Ireland (Routledge Archaeology of Northern Europe) Routledge
ISBN 1138857165 ISBN-13 9781138857162
Required Reading
1999-10-21 Landscapes of Neolithic Ireland Routledge
ISBN 0415169771 ISBN-13 9780415169776

Landscapes of Neolithic Ireland Landscapes of Neolithic is the first volume to be devoted solely to the Irish Neolithic, using an innovative landscape and anthropological perspective to provide significant new insights on the period. Full description

Required Reading
2000-08-01 The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland Wordwell
ISBN 1869857399 ISBN-13 9781869857394
Recommended Reading
ISBN 9171929452 ISBN-13 9789171929457

The Cuil Irra region on the west coast of Ireland is one of the richest areas of passage tombs in western Europe. The monuments range from small, simple, dolmens to complex monuments with gigantic cairns, and cover the timespan c. 4000-3000 BC. Landscape of the Monuments is the first modern, detailed account of this important group of monuments from a regional and spatial perspective, and includes a corpus of all monuments. The book focuses on a number of aspects relating to the location of the monuments in the landscape, and discusses the nature of Neolithic man's intentions to organise his physical and symbolic world. The great variation of monuments is discussed in terms of ritual and social complexity, and seen to reflect an ambition in Neolithic society to manipulate the way the social and physical landscape should be comprehended. The relation between the Cuil Irra monuments and the nearby passage tomb complex of Carrowkeel-Keshcorran is analysed, and the Cuil Irra region is furthermore seen in its wider context of the Irish passage tomb tradition. Contents: Preface, Irish Megalithic Tombs, Aims, The Landscape, The Passage Tomb Tradition, The Monuments, Chronology, The Monuments in the Landscape, The Role of the Monuments, Landscape of the Monuments, Bibliography, Appendix - The Passage Tombs in the Cuil Irra Region.

Recommended Reading
2002-04-18 Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe: Perception and Society During the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Routledge
ISBN 0415273145 ISBN-13 9780415273145

Atlantic Europe is the zone par excellence of megalithic monuments, but these form only part of a much broader and more numerous category of earthen and stone constructions. A single basic concept lies behind this volume: that the intrinsic qualities encountered within the diverse landscapes of the region both informed the settings chosen for the monuments and played a role in determining their form and visual appearance. This in part derives from the use of local materials, and the manner in which they were displayed within the monuments: for example how stone, clearly taken from the local geology, was visibly incorporated. Yet we may go further than this in some instances and propose that the nature of local landforms did themselves both attract monuments, providing meaningful or dramatic settings, and provide a series of ideas which played some part in influencing the form of those monuments. Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe goes significantly beyond the limits of existing debate by inviting archaeologists from different countries within the Atlantic zone to examine the relationship between landscape features and prehistoric monuments in their specialist regions. By placing the issue within a broader regional and intellectual context, the authors illustrate the diversity of current archaeological ideas and approaches converging around this central theme. The regions represented include Britain, France, Ireland, Spain and Sweden. The result constitutes a remarkable testament to the convergence of conceptual approaches to prehistoric monuments in the diverse landscapes and diverse intellectual traditions of Atlantic Europe.

Recommended Reading
2009-11-13 A View from the West Oxbow Books
ISBN 1842173626 ISBN-13 9781842173626

x + 219pp, inc. many figs, laminated card, lg. 8vo

Recommended Reading
2015-04-30 The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland Oxbow Books
ISBN 1782978135 ISBN-13 9781782978138

The Archaeology of Caves in Ireland is a ground-breaking and unique study of the enigmatic, unseen and dark silent world of caves. People have engaged with caves for the duration of human occupation of the island, spanning 10,000 years. In prehistory, subterranean landscapes were associated with the dead and the spirit world, with evidence for burials, funerary rituals and votive deposition. The advent of Christianity saw the adaptation of caves as homes and places of storage, yet they also continued to feature in religious practice. Medieval mythology and modern folklore indicate that caves were considered places of the supernatural, being particularly associated with otherworldly women. Through a combination of archaeology, mythology and popular religion, this book takes the reader on a fascinating journey that sheds new light on a hitherto neglected area of research. It encourages us to consider what underground activities might reveal about the lives lived aboveground, and leaves us in no doubt as to the cultural significance of caves in the past.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

Cooney, G. 2000. Landscapes of Neolithic Ireland, London.

Malone, C. 2001. Neolithic Britain ad Ireland, Tempus.

Whittle, A. 1996. Europe in the Neolithic, Cambridge.

Cooney, G. and Grogan, E. 1994. Irish prehistory: a social perspective, Dublin (relevant chapter).

Waddell, J. (ed.) 2010. The prehistoric archaeology of Ireland. Galway University Press, Galway (Neolithic chapters).

Journal Resources

Evans, N., Montgomery, J. and Scarre, C. 2016. Isotopic evidence for residential mobility of farming communities during the transition to agriculture in Britain. Royal Society Open Science 3, 150522.

McClatchie, M., Bogaard, A., Whitehouse, N., Schulting, R., Barratt, P. and McLaughlin, T. 2014. Neolithic farming in north-western Europe: archaeo-botanical evidence from Ireland. Journal of Archaeological Science 51, 206-15.

Moore, S. 2016. Movement and thresholds: architecture and landscape at the Carrowkeel-Keshcorran passage tomb complex, Co. Sligo, Ireland. In J. Leary and T. Kador (eds), Moving on in Neolithic studies: understanding mobile lives, 45-66. Oxford: Oxbow.

Powell, A. 2016. Corporate identity and clan affiliation: an explanation of form in Irish megalithic tomb construction. In G. Robin, A. D’Anna, A. Schmitt and M. Bailly (eds), Fonctions, utilisations et représentatations de l’espace dans les sépultures monumentales du Néolithique européen, 81-95. Aix: Presses Universitaires de Provence.

URL Resources

Other Resources


Additional Information