• Tara—from the past to the future. Towards a new research agenda

Although building on earlier research, this volume is not intended to be a definitive door-closing statement on the archaeology of Tara. There are many gaps between the themes, and others may be inspired to address those gaps or build on the work contained here. The shafts of light in the following contributions include significant insights about the human footprint on the hill and its neighbourhood, occasional references to issues requiring prioritised archaeological intervention, and a broad impression of Tara in the wider consciousness. Such a fusion of communal breadth and individual depth highlights the need for an agreed Tara research agenda that will be sufficiently comprehensive to make every scholar feel welcome and sufficiently flexible to allow for constant renewal as knowledge accumulates and circumstances change. The design and implementation of such an agenda is an urgent priority, and represent a massive collaborative challenge.




Section 1 Placing Tara in time


1. What did the Hill of Tara mean in the Mesolithic?

Graeme Warren and Thomas Kador

2. Interpreting chronologies for the Mound of the Hostages, Tara, and its contemporary context in

Neolithic and Bronze Age Ireland

Alex Bayliss and Muiris O'Sullivan

3. Chronologies for Tara and comparable royal sites of the Irish Iron Age Alex Bayliss and Eoin Grogan


Section 2 Tara: a place of the dead

4. The use of stone in the Mound of the Hostages

Gabriel Cooney and Kim Rice

5. Covering the dead: the cists behind the orthostats at the Mound of the Hostages

Chris Scarre

6. Biography of the Neolithic body: tracing pathways to cist II, Mound of the Hostages, Tara, Ireland

Ian Kuijt and Colin P. Quinn

7. The context of the Early Bronze Age cemetery in the Mound of the Hostages, Tara, Co. Meath

Charles Mount

8. The tempo of life and death during the Early Bronze Age at the Mound of the Hostages, Tara

Colin P. Quinn and Ian Kuijt

9. Tara Boy: local hero or international man of mystery?

Alison Sheridan, Mandy Jay, Janet Montgomery, Maura Pellegrini and Jacqueline Cahill Wilson

10. The late prehistoric burials at Tara c. 900 BC-AD 200

Tiernan McGarry

11. Early medieval burial on Tara-fact or fiction?

Elizabeth O'Brien


Section 3 Tara: a royal site

12. Enclosures, mounds and Great Houses

Richard Bradley

13. Being prehistoric in the Irish Iron Age

John Ó Néill

14. Setting Iron Age Tara in context

Katharina Becker

15. Observations on Tara, and its hinterland, during the later Iron Age

Richard Warner

16. Objects and ideas: Roman influence at Tara and beyond

Ian Armit


Section 4 The countryside around Tara


17. The palaeoenvironmental potential of Tara and its environs

Stephen Davis

18. The M3 motorway excavations and Tara

Donald Murphy and Vicky Ginn

19. The development of the Neolithic and Bronze Age landscape in the Tara region

Eoin Grogan

20. Living by a sacred landscape: interpreting the early medieval archaeology of the Hill of Tara

and its environs, AD 400-1100

Aidan O'Sullivan and Jonathan Kinsella

21. What did Tara mean to the Anglo-Normans? Reflections on the hill in the high Middle Ages

Tadhg O'Keeffe

22. Agriculture in the Tara/Skreen region c. AD 1170-1660

Michael Potterton and Margaret Murphy


Section 5 Contemporary sites in the neighbourhood of Tara

23. Tara viewed from Brugh na Bóinne

George Eogan

24. Tara in pieces: change and continuity at the turn of the third millennium BC

Jessica Smyth

25. Megalithic art and other Neolithic remains at Lismullin, Co. Meath

Muiris O'Sullivan

26. Excavations at Lismullin 1: a window on the Iron Age at Tara?

Aidan O'Connell

27. An Iron Age enclosure at Lismullin: morphology, metrology and archaeoastronomy

Frank Prendergast


Section 6 Perspectives and comparisons from overseas

28. Constructing ancient time: Tara and Tarxien (Malta), compared and contrasted Simon Stoddart

29. High places and royal shrines

Alan Peatfield

30. Interior regions and places of collective memory: the megalithism of the interior basin of the

Tagus, Iberian Peninsula. A reflection after reading the Tara project

P. Bueno Ramírez, R. Barroso Bermejo and R. de Balbín Behrmann

31. From west to west: the many lives of the Galician mounds

R. Fábregas Valcarce and X.I. Vilaseco Vázquez

32. A view from Denmark

Niels H. Andersen


Section 7 Tara imagined

33. The Hill of Tara: an undecidable

Michael Shanks

34. Tara and Carnac: can the archaeology of the Neolithic meet Celtic mythology? Serge Cassen

35. A genre of legend concerning Tara kingship

Dáithí Ó hÓgáin

36. Literature and the landscape of the past

Nicholas Allen

37. Visiting Tara: the first impression of an English landscape archaeologist

Peter Halkon



A review of the Tara Symposium 2009

Barry Cunliffe


ISBN 978 1 905569 76 2

€50 hardback

592 pages

Author Muiris O’Sullivan, Chris Scarre and Maureen Doyle (eds)
Publication Data August 2013
Subjects Archaeology

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Tara—from the past to the future. Towards a new research agenda

  • ISBN: 978-1-905569-76-2
  • Author(s): Muiris O’Sullivan, Chris Scarre and Maureen Doyle (eds)
  • Availability: In Stock
  • €50.00