Ireland's First Settlers tells the story of the archaeology and history of the first continuous phase of Ireland's human settlement. It combines centuries of search and speculation about human antiquity in Ireland with a review of what is known today about the Irish Mesolithic. This is, in part, provided in the context of the author's 50 years of personal experience searching to make sense of what initially appeared to be little more than a collection of beach rolled and battered flint tools. The story is embedded in how the island of Ireland, its position, distinct landscape and ecology impacted on when and how Ireland was colonised. It also explores how these first settlers evolved their technologies and lifeways to suit the narrow range of abundant resources that were available. The volume concludes with discussions on how the landscape should be searched for the often ephemeral traces of these early settlers and how sites should be excavated. It asks what we really know about the thoughts and life of the people themselves and what happened to them as farming began to be introduced.
Peter Woodman is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at University College Cork. He is the leading scholar of the Irish Mesolithic. His research interests lie in the areas of the early human settlement and ecology of Ireland and Atlantic Europe and the antiquarian history of Archaeology.
Acknowledgements Part I 1. why 2. Understanding Ireland's environment and ecology 3. It's about time Part II. Laying the foundations 4. Where did it all come from? 5. Chronology, flint facts and other artefacts Part III. Often an island too far? 6. Anything earlier? 7. The first arrivals 8. Settling in Part IV. Lifeways 9. Patterns in the landscape 10. Food, sustenance and procurement Part V. Where to now? 11. A critical analysis of fieldwork and methodolgies 12. Life, death, the universe and everything Bibliography