Christian dating ireland dublin
For the fact that such a discovery was recorded at all may be a reflection of that same historical curiosity which led to the compilation of the , and which inspired Gaelic kings of the twelfth century to commission religious shrines of metal and to erect High Crosses of stone which would help to recreate the glorious Christian past of three or four centuries earlier.
The same fervour can be seen at a lower social level during the 1680s, when the re-erection of fallen crosses epitomized the hopes of the people that the Duke of York, when he would ascend the throne of England as James II, would usher in a period of greater religious freedom and tolerance in Ireland, reminiscent of that which had reigned in centuries past.
Prehistory is not just what prehistoric people made of it, but also what archaeologists have made of it today, and this is the reason why the text of this book makes a point of naming the archaeologists who have made the significant contributions. Binchy, the well-known Celtic scholar, spoke of 'the imaginative and conflicting speculations of archaeologists, and devotees of that curious science which calls itself prehistory'.
Because prehistory - by its very nature - has to deal with speculations, it is natural that the views of archaeologists will conflict, and it is only by weighing up the pros and cons that one can come to the most probable solution to any problem in prehistory, where the absence of writing makes it difficult to make the mute stones speak.
As an example, one may quote the case of the great passage-tomb at Newgrange which provided a radiocarbon date of c.2500 bc, but which is likely to have been built about 600 years earlier, around 3100 BC.
Furthermore, it was contemporary political reasons which led diligent chroniclers to compile genealogies for ruling families in order to trace their noble ancestry back as far as possible - even to the extent of tracing the line back to Adam and Eve!
The radiocarbon method attempts to give the date of an organic object by estimating the amount of Carbon 14 which still survives in it, based on the presumption that the carbon content decreases at a steady rate after the death of the object itself.
Such radiocarbon dates are purposely preceded by the letter c, for circa, as they are only approximate to within a few hundred years of the given date.
In it, an attempt will be made to summarize the present state of research, taking into account the most recent findings and discoveries.
It would not have been possible to write this book without the dedicated work of fellow archaeologists, alive and dead, who may be thanked here one and all for the contributions which they have made to the study of prehistoric Ireland.