1st Edition

Exploring Ireland’s Viking-Age Towns Houses and Homes

By Rebecca Boyd Copyright 2024
    290 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Exploring Ireland’s Viking-Age Towns discusses the emergence of towns, urban lifestyles, and urban identities in Ireland. This coincides with the arrival of the Vikings and the appearance of the post-and-wattle Type 1 house. These houses reflect this crucial transition to urban living with its attendant changes for individuals, households, and society.

    Exploring Ireland’s Viking-Age Towns uses household archaeology as a lens to explore the materiality, variability, and day-to-day experiences of living in these houses. It moves from the intimate scale of individual households to the larger scale of Ireland’s earliest urban communities. For the first time, this book considers how these houses were more than just buildings: they were homes, important places where people lived, worked, and died. These new towns were busy places with a multitude of people, ideas, and things. This book uses the mass of archaeological data to undertake comparative analyses of houses and properties, artefact distribution patterns, and access analysis studies to interrogate some 500 Viking-Age urban houses. This analysis is structured in three parts: an investigation of the houses, the households, and the town. Exploring Ireland’s Viking-Age Towns discusses how these new urban households managed their homes to create a sense of place and belonging in these new environments and allow themselves to develop a new, urban identity.

    This book is suited to advanced students and specialists of the Viking Age in Ireland, but archaeologists and historians of the early medieval and Viking worlds will find much of interest here. It will also appeal to readers with interests in the archaeology of house and home, households, identities, and urban studies.

    Introduction: An Archaeology of Houses, of Towns and of Households; Part 1 – The Houses; 2. Ireland’s 9th century Viking-Age Settlements; 3. Ireland’s 10th- to 12th-century Viking-Age Towns; 4. Exploring the Houses; Part 2 – The Households; 5. Artefact Distribution Studies: Visible and Invisible Work Practices; 6. Access Analysis: Moving Around the House; 7. Exploring the Properties; Part 3 – The Town; 8. Urban Worlds and Urban Lives; 9. Ireland’s Viking-Age Towns: Where Next?


    Rebecca Boyd is an archaeologist with a special research interest in the emergence of towns and urban life in Ireland’s Viking Age. She held a Government of Ireland Fellowship at the Department of Archaeology, University College Cork from 2019 to 2021. She obtained her PhD from University College Dublin in 2012. Her research interests span Ireland’s Viking Age, the archaeology of houses and households, crannogs, and public perceptions of heritage and archaeology.