Neolithic Religion in Ireland

What we do and don’t know

  1. Mesolithic Migration (c. 7000 BCE)

    1. Midlandian Glaciation ends - c. 10,000 BCE
    2. Eskers
    3. Land Bridge Migration (Britain/France)
    4. Hunter/Gatherer - semipermanent

  2. Neolithic Migration (c. 4000 BCE)

    1. Atlantic rout
    2. Esker travel
    3. Agriculture - permanent habitation
    4. Deforestation
    5. Megalithic Architecture

  3. Neolithic Religion

    1. Burial Practice:

      1. Inhumation - burial of the body
      2. Cremation - burning of the body

    2. Five Types of Neolithic Monuments:

      1. Henge
      2. Court Cairns
      3. Passage Tombs
      4. Portal Tombs
      5. Wedge Tombs

    3. Monumental Passage Tombs:

      1. Four Major Sites -

        1. Carrowmore - Co. Sligo
        2. Carrowkeel - Co. Sligo
        3. Loughcrew - Co. Meath
        4. Bru na Boinne - Co. Meath

      2. Key Feature -

        1. Large
        2. Celestial Orientation
        3. Seasonal Transition (solstice/equinox)

    4. What We Know -

      1. Significant social organization/stratification
      2. Stable socio-political environment
      3. Mathematical acumen
      4. Associated with burial

    5. Lingering Puzzles -

      1. How exactly were they used?
      2. Why the celestial orientation?
      3. Do they represent a single cult?
      4. Do the petroglyphs have meaning?
      5. How long were they used?

  4. Chalcolithic Migration (c. 2500 - 1700 BCE)

    1. Atlantic rout (?)
    2. End of Passage Tomb construction
    3. Burial Pottery
    4. Food Vessels (in Britain/Ireland)