Meriel McClatchie

Meriel McClatchie
University College Dublin | UCD · School of Archaeology

PhD Institute of Archaeology, University College London

About

69
Publications
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Introduction
My research is focused on archaeology in Europe, with a particular interest in food (from early prehistoric to early modern societies), prehistoric landscapes and settlements, and archaeobotany. I am an Associate Professor at the School of Archaeology, University College Dublin, Ireland. For the most up-to-date list of my publications, see https://people.ucd.ie/meriel.mcclatchie.

Publications

Publications (69)
Data
a b s t r a c t A multi-disciplinary study assessing the evidence for agriculture in Neolithic Ireland is presented, exam-ining the timing, extent and nature of settlement and farming. Bayesian analyses of palaeoenvironmental and archaeological 14 C data have allowed us to re-examine evidential strands within a strong chronological framework. While...
Chapter
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Two sets of forces have recurrently structured human history in the long term. On the one hand are the constraints imposed by environment and climate: biotic productivity, water availability, and the predictability of annual cycles. On the other are the constraints of social history, those cultural traditions that shape how a society is organized a...
Article
This paper reviews archaeological and palaeoecological evidence for environments and climate in Neolithic Ireland (4000–2500 BC) and considers their complex relationships with contemporary social change. The introduction of farming into Ireland fundamentally changed how society was organised and the environments in which people lived. It is not yet...
Chapter
Archaeobotany explores people’s engagement with plants and landscapes through analysis of preserved plant remains. Delicate, sometimes fragmentary, remains of plants are often recovered from archaeological excavations because in certain conditions this material can survive for thousands of years. When identified, plant remains enable the archaeobot...
Article
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In the 12,000 years preceding the Industrial Revolution, human activities led to significant changes in land cover, plant and animal distributions, surface hydrology, and biochemical cycles. Earth system models suggest that this anthropogenic land cover change influenced regional and global climate. However, the representation of past land use in e...
Article
Full-text available
This research note introduces the methodology of the FoodCult Project, with the aim of stimulating discussion regarding the interdisciplinary potential for historical food studies. The project represents the first major attempt to establish both the fundamentals of everyday diet, and the cultural ‘meaning’ of food and drink in early modern Ireland,...
Presentation
Part of the session: Upscaling palaeoecological, archaeological and historical records of land-use and land-cover change 1. Chair Marie-Jose Gaillard. Presentation abstact :The PAGES LandCover6K group is concerned with whether prehistoric human impacts on land cover were sufficiently large to have had a major impact on regional and global climate...
Article
When compared with earlier periods, the Neolithic in Ireland (4000–2500 cal BC) witnessed enormous changes in the foods being produced, and the work involved in their production and processing. Several crops were introduced – archaeobotanical studies indicate that emmer wheat became the dominant crop, with evidence also for barley (hulled and naked...
Presentation
The LandCover6K group is concerned with whether prehistoric human impacts on land cover were sufficiently large to have had a major impact on regional climates. Climate model simulations have shown that land use data sets can have large regional impacts on climate in the recent past and may have also done so during prehistory. However, there are ma...
Article
Barley, rye, and oats are cereals that have a long history of cultivation. They began to be grown primarily for their carbohydrate‐rich and storable grains. There is also archaeological evidence for use of their chaff and straw. Barley was one of the first crops to be domesticated, more than 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent. Barley then spr...
Presentation
The LandCover6K Working group is concerned with the question of whether prehistoric human impacts on land cover (i.e. anthropogenic land cover change due to land use) were sufficiently large to have had a major impact on regional climates. Climate model simulations have shown that land use data sets can have large regional impacts on climate in the...
Article
Baltinglass is a multi-chamber Neolithic passage tomb in Co. Wicklow, Ireland, excavated in the 1930s. This paper presents the results of a radiocarbon dating programme on charred wheat grains and hazelnut shell found underlying the cairn, and on cremated human bone found within and near two of the monument’s five chambers. The results are surprisi...
Article
Archaeology Ireland Vol. 31, No. 3 (Autumn 2017), pp. 47-49 https://www.jstor.org/stable/90014385
Article
Full-text available
This paper synthesizes and discusses the spatial and temporal patterns of archaeological sites in Ireland, spanning the Neolithic period and the Bronze Age transition (4300–1900 cal BC), in order to explore the timing and implications of the main changes that occurred in the archaeological record of that period. Large amounts of new data are source...
Article
Full-text available
Ireland has often been seen as marginal in the spread of the Neolithic and of early farming throughout Europe, in part due to the paucity of available data. By integrating and analysing a wealth of evidence from unpublished reports, a much more detailed picture of early arable agriculture has emerged. The improved chronological resolution reveals c...
Technical Report
Full-text available
These guidelines are designed for use by archaeologists managing and undertaking archaeological excavations funded by the National Roads Authority. Their purpose is to ensure that a standardised approach is adopted to for palaeo-environmental sampling, analysis and reporting. The guidelines are intended to be used in the context of the Department o...
Chapter
Full-text available
Archaeobotany is the study of past landscapes and societies through the analysis of preserved plant remains. Under certain conditions, the delicate, fragmentary remains of plants can survive for thousands of years. The plant remains are often recovered during archaeological excavations, but they can also be found in naturally occurring deposits, su...
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Full-text available
Introduction In contrast to other regions in Ireland the prehistory of the southeast has not been subject to intensive archaeological or palaeoenvironmental study. The reasons for this are not immediately clear but appear to be connected with the perception that due to intensive agriculture, well-preserved prehistoric site complexes have not surviv...
Article
This paper has two primary aims. Firstly, we review new data demonstrating interactions between people, plants, animals and woodlands in Mesolithic Ireland (ca. 8000–4000 cal. b.c.). This includes a synthesis of evidence from archaeological fishtraps, plant macrofossils, palynological indications of disturbance, and large mammal records. Secondly,...
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Agriculture played an important role in the organisation of economy and society in early medieval Ireland (cal ad 400–1150). This paper examines archaeobotanical evidence for agricultural production and consumption, incorporating newly available data. Analysis of evidence from 60 sites revealed that hulled barley and oat were the dominant crops of...
Chapter
Full-text available
Studies of arable agricultural systems throughout the world have frequently utilised data from cereal grain and chaff impressions on ceramic vessels in the reconstruction of past economies (for example, Costantini 1983; Helbaek 1952, 1959; Jessen and Helbaek 1944; Klee and Zach 1999; Munson 1976; Stemler 1990; Vishnu-Mittre 1969). Cereal components...
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Although agriculture was introduced into Europe at the beginning of the Neolithic period, archaeological studies often suggest that intensive systems of agricultural production were not practiced until the Bronze Age. In the case of Britain and Ireland, for example, the increased appearance of archaeologically identifiable fields and farmsteads dur...
Chapter
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The Association for Environmental Archaeology (www.envarch.net) (Fig. 1) is an international organization that promotes the study of human interactions with environments through archaeology and related disciplines. The AEA was originally established in 1979 to encourage communication between workers in environmental archaeology in the UK but has si...
Technical Report
Soil samples from 37 contexts were presented for archaeobotanical analysis, 25 of which were found to produce charred non-wood plant macro-remains. Most of the plant remains were recovered from locations in the vicinity of the extended monastic enclosure wall and Cell A, with smaller quantities being found around the church and in other areas. Cere...
Technical Report
A total of eight soil samples from the chamber area at Poulnabrone portal tomb were examined for their archaeobotanical content. Suspected plant remains previously picked out from three further deposits were also examined. Overall, a relatively small quantity of non-wood plant macro-remains was recorded, including cultivated and potentially gathere...
Technical Report
Excavations at 36–39 South Main Street, Cork uncovered activity dating from the late 11th to the 13th century. Long housing plots were found to extend at right angles from the main street (South Main Street) to a newly-made water course on the east side of the island. Initially settlement was probably on higher ground on the south-west side of the...
Article
Full-text available
In common with much of Europe, resource management during the Late Bronze Age in Ireland (1200–600 cal BC) has largely been considered in terms of metal production. The role of agricultural production has received less attention, even though plant macro-remains and pollen records indicate significant levels of crop cultivation during this period. T...
Technical Report
This article presents the results of excavations carried out in the 1980s on the north-eastern periphery of the mound at Newgrange. The earlier turf mound, previously identified by O’Kelly, was further investigated and shown to be c. 50m in diameter. Its precise function remains unclear. A strip, up to 5m wide, was investigated behind K56–K78. New...
Technical Report
Archaeobotanical analysis was carried out on 29 soil samples from deposits at Kerlogue, Co. Wexford, 22 of which contained charred non-wood plant macro-remains. Samples were taken from Sites 2, 3, 4 and 5. Animal bone was not recorded in deposits at Kerlogue, but charred cereal or possible cereal remains were found in deposits dating from the Neoli...
Article
The site at Kilmainham 1C, in the townland of Kilmainham, c. 2.5km south-east of Kells town, was excavated in advance of the M3 Clonee–Kells road scheme in 2007 (NMS number E3140; 59–63m OD) (Fig. 1) and forms part of an extensive prehistoric settlement landscape in the hinterland of Kells. At least eight early Neolithic structures have now been di...
Technical Report
The site is interpreted as a Neolithic enclosure with associated settlement. The enclosing element consisted of a palisade located on a glacial mound. The main settlement evidence comprised two adjacent Neolithic rectangular structures (interpreted as houses) and a third structure (possible house) on the lower slopes of the mound. Large, earth-cut...
Article
Research into the origins and spread of agriculture, and its associated societal impacts, is a major focus in world archaeology. This transition is one of the most important in human history, as it is associated with the development of settled societies, puts humans firmly at the heart of production, consumption and distribution of food, and has tr...
Technical Report
Site 18 was interpreted as a pit and stakehole complex of unknown date. The complex comprised seven pits and five stakeholes. These features did not appear to form any discernable pattern and did not contain any datable artefacts. Site 19 was interpreted as a burial/ritual complex, dating to the Middle Bronze Age. A segmented ditch enclosing at lea...
Thesis
This thesis will present the results of an investigation into arable crops and farming systems of Bronze Age Ireland. Earlier studies have suggested that barley - particularly the naked variety - was the predominant crop of this period, with wheat playing a very minor role in farming economies. These studies relied heavily upon evidence from plant...
Chapter
Full-text available
The earliest evidence for agriculture in Ireland has been dated to the Early Neolithic period, beginning around 4000 BC. From the outset of the Neolithic, previous food procurement strategies—including hunting, fishing and gathering—began to be replaced by plant and animal husbandry. Archaeological texts often mention the ‘first farmers’ when refer...
Technical Report
A total of 54 soil samples were retained for archaeobotanical analysis from deposits in the main circular enclosure and associated earthworks, which dated from various periods, at Chancellorsland Site C. The sampling strategy for the recovery of macroscopic plant remains involved the retention of a subsample of all deposits recorded during excavati...
Technical Report
Approximately 550 soil samples were retained for archaeobotanical assessment from middle Bronze Age deposits from within both the enclosure and the enclosing ditches at Chancellorsland site A. The sampling strategy employed for the recovery of macroscopic plant remains was the retention of a subsample of all deposits recorded during the excavation....
Technical Report
A total of 87 soil samples for archaeobotanical analysis were retained from the fills of the pits and ditches identified at Conva, Co. Cork. Charred archaeobotanical material was identified in 66 of the samples and 43 of these were prioritised for further analysis. The archaeobotanical material provided evidence for past agricultural activities, di...
Technical Report
Archaeological excavations were carried out at Glebe South, Balrothery, Co. Dublin during 2004 under the direction of Frank Ryan of Judith Carroll & Co. Ltd. It appears that Glebe South was the location for human activity over several millennia, with a number of different activity areas being recorded. One soil sample (C035) from an Early-Middle Br...
Technical Report
Seventeen soil samples were submitted for archaeobotanical analysis. The samples were taken from deposits associated with a ringfort, a fulacht fia and the enclosure. Ten of the samples produced non- wood plant remains preserved as a result of charring (Tables A.1-A.3). This appendix will detail the types and locations of plant remains recorded, in...
Technical Report
Site 10 was a burnt mound dating to the Early Bronze Age. An adjacent complex of stake-holes and pits is thought to be associated. Two post-holes were recorded nearby, but their relationship with the burnt mound and associated features is unknown. Site 11 was a series of Early Neolithic pits. Charred plant macro-remains from four pits (C500-503) we...
Chapter
This paper provides an Irish perspective to approaches and techniques in the retrieval, identification and interpretation of non-wood plant macro-remains from archaeological deposits. The range of information that can be gleaned from the study of plant macro-remains preserved through various mechanisms is explored. The benefits of integration with...
Technical Report
This report provides the results of analysis carried out on non-wood plant macro-remains from Curraghatoor, Co. Tipperary. Soil samples collected during the excavation had previously been processed by John Tierney, then of the Archaeological Services Unit, University College Cork. The flots and residues from 20 deposits were later presented to the...
Technical Report
This appendix provides the results of analysis carried out on non-wood plant macro-remains from excavations at Glanworth, Boherash, Co. Cork. Analysis was carried out on 18 deposits located in four areas of the site (Trenches 1, 2, 3 and 4). All of the examined deposits contained charred plant remains (Tables 1 and 2). A range of cultivated plants...
Technical Report
Fifty-seven soil samples were presented for archaeobotanical analysis, twenty- two of which produced preserved plant remains (Table D.I). The implementation of a systematic sampling strategy, whereby certain feature types were targeted for sampling, resulted in the recovery of plant remains from a range of different feature types. Most of the plant...
Article
Full-text available
This paper considers approaches to the study of Early Medieval crannogs in Ireland, focussing particularly on social and agricultural issues. The architecture of crannogs suggests an act of isolation, perhaps representing an Early Medieval ideology, while their material assemblages demonstrate that people in their practical lives would have depende...
Technical Report
Twenty eight soil samples from Sites 1-3 and the fulacht fiadh (Site 4) at Little Island were submitted for archaeobotanical analysis. Three deposits contained archaeobotanical material (Table 1), consisting mainly of cereal grains. All of the archaeobotanical material recovered was preserved as a result of charring.
Technical Report
Archaeobotanical analysis, focussing primarily on seed remains, was carried out on soil samples recovered from seven archaeological excavations in Cork city. The samples were taken from archaeological and other deposits at Barrack Street (99E0650), Tuckey Street (97E0040), Hanover Street (96E0128), Washington Street (E625), Grattan Street (E568), P...
Technical Report
Five samples from a crannog at Sroove, Lough Gara, Co. Sligo, dating from the early medieval period were presented for archaeobotanical analysis (Table 1).
Technical Report
Three samples dating to the late medieval period were received for archaeobotanical analysis. Archaeobotanical material preserved as a result of anaerobic conditions was recovered from Context 6, Trench 2 and material preserved as a result of charring and anaerobic conditions was recovered from Context 4, Trench 1 and Context 4, Trench 2.
Technical Report
Four samples were presented for archaeobotanical analysis. All of the samples produced archaeobotanical material preserved as a result of charring.
Chapter
Much of the current research in archaeobotanical analysis in Ireland at present concentrates on economic evidence in the form of cereal remains. This situation has arisen due to the demands of contract archaeology and unwillingness on the part of the archaeologist to deviate from economically driven questions. The bias towards economic information...

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
FoodCult is a five-year project funded by the European Research Council. This project brings together history, archaeology and archaeological science to explore the diet and foodways of diverse communities in early modern Ireland. Further information: https://foodcult.eu/.
Project
The project “European Land-use at 6000BP: from on-site data to the large-scale view” is part of the PAGES Past Global Changes work group “Global Land-Use and Land-Cover for Climate Modelling – LandCover6k” and focuses on the reconstruction of land-use using archaeological data. The LandCover6K work group is concerned with whether prehistoric human impacts on land cover, i.e. anthropogenic land cover change due to land use (LULC), were sufficiently large to have a major impact on regional climates. Climate model simulations have shown that LULC data sets can have large regional impacts on climate in recent and prehistoric time. However, there are major differences between the available LULC scenarios/data sets, e.g. HYDE and KK10. The only way to provide a useful assessment of the potential for LULC changes to affect climate in the past is to feed HYDE with more realistic LULC changes based on palaeovegetation (LC) and archaeological evidence (LU). As part of this goal of the LandCover6k work group, “European Land-use at 6000BP” focuses on the reconstruction of land-use by synthesizing LU patterns derived from the archaeological record, particularly farming and landscape management strategies and intensity for 6K BP. We are also interested in the location of settlements, field systems, and industrial activities. The project has two primary goals: (i) translate the global LU categorization product, which is a world-wide hierarchical, scalable land classification system developed from LandCover6K’s first phase, into a European context; (ii) map LU from the volume of archaeological data for 6K and derive expert-based estimates of LU intensity. The project aims to accomplish these goals by bringing together experts in plant and animal husbandry around 6000 BP. The project is both feasible and timely and relevant: while several collaborative projects have synthesized regional data sets that could be used to address LU, these data sets have never been summarized at a European level. Links: http://pastglobalchanges.org/ini/wg/landcover6k/intro