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Field Of Fire: Evidence For Wartime Conflict In A 17th-Century Cottier Settlement In County Meath, Ireland

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Chapter Summary

This chapter concerns the excavation of a late 16th-17th-century cottier settlement of poor farmers and labourers in east Co. Meath, Ireland, and the attempt to reconcile the apparent lack of material evidence for conflict from the excavation with the violence that swept intermittently across this part of the Irish countryside in an ?age of atrocity'. First, a succinct background provides some historical and archaeological context, although some familiarity with the broader and more complex stage of early modern Ireland is assumed. Second, the direct archaeological evidence for violence that is recounted in documentary historical sources is considered. Third, the chapter considers other ways in which we might ?read' the effects of violence on the settlement in question: through a glimpse of data unearthed about household economy, specifically agricultural practice. The archaeology provides evidence of coping tactics that the residents were employing to get along during an era of intermittent instability.

Keywords: 17th-century cottier settlement; agricultural practice; household economy; Ireland; material evidence for conflict; violence



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