Dwelling in a passage tomb landscape
Thoughts on the concept of Landscape, Place and House based on the Mullaghfarna site, Co. Sligo, Ireland.
The extensive and densely- clustered circular ‘hut sites’ on the cliff faced plateau at Mullaghfarna, Co. Sligo was first recorded in 1911. It has since then occupied a unique position in Irish Prehistory as an enigmatic, possible ‘Neolithic/Bronze Age village’ without counterparts elsewhere on the island.
Due to its location in the dramatic Bricklieve Mountains and well within the ‘ritual landscape’ of the passage tombs complex of Carrowkeel/Keashcorran, the houses have long been associated with the nearby passage tombs. Trial excavations in three of the houses have returned Neolithic as well as Bronze Age dates.
The first detailed survey of the site has just been completed, recording some 165 round ‘house foundations’, 10 enclosures, as well as about 100 auxiliary area/spaces linked to the houses.
The house foundations show a wide variation both in size and construction and most of them are tightly clustered together. On the whole, the remains seem to represent a highly dynamic and intricate use of the given space on the plateau, expressed by construction modes, size and inter-relationships.
The paper will discuss some results from the survey touching upon aspects of place making; landscapes beyond the daily routine; collective vs. individual space in addition to the concept of ‘house’ in Neolithic/Bronze Age Ireland.