In Search of the Irish Dreamtime

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'In Search of the Irish Dreamtime' explores the oldest Irish mytholigical tradition from the perspective of archaeology. J.P. Mallory considers whether the traditional narrative was built from largely native accounts of Ireland's prehistoric past, transmitted orally over many generations, or if it is primarily the product of an educated medieval class who blended the cultural landscape of their own times with descriptions from the Bible and Latin literature to create an imagined ancient Irish world. Delving into the linguistic evidence of the early tales and native histories, which relate the natural environment, built environment (focusing particularly on forts and provincial capitals), and the economy of ancient Ireland, Mallory expertly tests the medieval writings against the arhcaeology on the ground. By comparing the literary depictions of ancient material culture including clothing, weaponry, and modes of transport, and traditions of burial, with the archaeological record of the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages, the author reaches a provocative new understanding of the early history of Ireland. J.P. Mallory is a world expert on the interconnection of archaeology and linguistics. He is Emeritus Professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at Queen's University Belfast and a member of the Royal Irish Academy.