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Passage Tomb People

Passage Tomb People

Principal investigator: (opens in a new window)Dr Jessica Smyth, UCD School of Archaeology

The 'Passage Tomb People' project is investigating the social drivers of passage tomb construction along the Atlantic Façade, focussing on the archaeology of three key zones – Ireland, North Wales and Orkney. The connectedness of Atlantic passage tombs (in terms of iconography, building methods, and material culture) has long been recognised, but to date there has been no targeted research on the societies that built them. Erected several centuries after the arrival of farming in each region, these monuments may be responses to economic stress or, equally, the result of surplus and increasing social competition. PTP is probing the connections between monument construction and changes in farming practice, diet/health and environment, testing whether similar factors - cultural, technological, or both - triggered similar behaviours in each area. This is being achieved through large-scale programmes of biomolecular and isotopic analyses tailored to the taphonomic conditions of each region, crucial in successfully mining these otherwise challenging archaeological horizons and materials, as well as in-depth osteometrics on key human and animal assemblages and targeted radiocarbon dating. PTP is collaborating with the University of Bristol, the University of Manchester and Cardiff University as well as researchers in Edinburgh, Paris and Brussels. The project is funded by an Irish Research Council Laureate Consolidator Grant (2018- 2022), extended to August 2023 due to Covid-19 disruption.

More information can be found on the project website: (opens in a new window)www.passagetombpeople.com


This project is supported by the (opens in a new window)Irish Research Council

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Contact UCD School of Archaeology

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8312 | E: archaeology@ucd.ie