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The Rath of the Synods: Tara County Meath

The Rath of the Synods: Tara County Meath

Eoin Grogan

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A companion volume to Tara: The Mound of the Hostages, this report presents the results of Seán P. Ó Ríordáin’s unpublished excavations carried out in the 1950s at the Rath of the Synods.

Out of print. Our last copies!

The excavations were directed by Sean P. O Riordain, then Professor of Celtic Archaeology at University College Dublin, who spent two summers at the site (1952 and 1953). His discoveries are supported here by post-excavation research and a series of radiocarbon determinations from samples collected by his team.

The site had a complex sequence of ritual, funerary and domestic activity which is divided into four main phases. The earliest is undated but is represented by a ditched enclosure that may be of the Bronze Age or Iron Age, while the second dates from the late Iron Age and consists of a series of ritual or ceremonial enclosures with strong parallels at Emain Macha and Dún Ailinne. In the third phase there are two cemeteries, one contained in a barrow and the other unprotected, of the early centuries AD.

The domestic enclosure of the Rath of the Synods itself was built and occupied in the fourth phase. There is a substantial and significant material assemblage from the site. While in the third phase this reflects a very strong element of contact with Roman Britain in the third to fourth century AD, disentangling the native from the Romano-British contribution is especially complex as no other Irish site has produced a comparable set of evidence. The material suggests, however, either interaction between the occupants and allied or related communities in Britain or possibly the domestic site of a family from the fringes of the Roman world.

Every effort has been made to present Ó Ríordáin’s own interpretation of the site. Nevertheless, while respecting his scholarship, more recent research has advanced our understanding of the periods in question and evidence has been reassessed in that light. Every effort has been made to assess all the available material, including the uncontexted finds.

Additional Information

Author Eoin Grogan
Publisher Wordwell
Publication date 2 Sep 2008
Format Hardback
ISBN/EAN 9781905569243

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