The life and times of Iron Age populations in the area
Here we want to explore what the Iron Age communities were doing, bringing together the archeological, historical, geographical and socialogical evidence and ideas to bring to life the people and places. The following links are to other pages of interest - please let us know if you have something to add about the area
Megan Meredith-Lobay (Cambridge University):
Lismore in Dál Riata: Recent archaeological work on an Island landscape of the Cenél Loairn
The Island of Lismore lies off the coast of Oban in the centre of Loch Linnhe. Its position at the mouth of the Great Glen and the presence of a major early medieval monastery indicates that this was a location of some importance during the early historic period. However, the importance of this island within the structures of secular and religious power during the sixth to the tenth centuries has never been fully explored. Recent work on the island by the University of Cambridge; Lismore Landscape project has begun to reveal the development of the geopolitical landscape from the early Iron Age right through to the middle ages. In the summer of 2005, the project will be excavating a series of major Iron Age/early medieval structures. Along with areas of settlement, the team will be excavating areas within the proposed monastic vallum of St. Moluag and what has been known as an ‘Early Christian burial enclosure’ north of Kilandrist. This fieldwork will allow an unprecedented look at chronological relationships across the whole spectrum of settlement forms in a well-defined area. This work will provide us with a microcosm of the whole of Argyll during the middle and late Iron Age, perhaps allowing more general conclusions about field monuments notorious for a lack of chronological data.
This paper will highlight some of the preliminary results of the fieldwork from the 2005 season of fieldwork on the Island of Lismore in Loch Linnhe as well as the past two seasons. I will then focus upon the early medieval period and discuss the place of Lismore within the institutions of power, secular and ecclesiastic, within the kingdom of Dál Riata. The crux of my argument will be that Lismore formed a seamless part of what was considered the mainland of the Cenél Loairn, and that its status as an island was probably not recognised as such in a purely physical way. I will look at evidence from the Senchus fer nAlban for the organisation of the Cenél Loairn in the seventh century and determine whether or not we can begin extrapolating a possible place for Lismore within this organisation. I will demonstrate the overall importance of the islands of the Dál Riata and how we must begin to rethink the relationships between them and the mainland using Lismore as a model for the wider area.
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Here we want to explore what the Iron Age communities were doing, bringing together the archeological, historical, geographical and socialogical evidence and ideas to bring to life the people and places.
The following links are to other pages of interest - please let us know if you have something to add about the area