Life and death in medieval Gaelic Ireland
The skeletons from Ballyhanna, Co. Donegal
Catriona J. McKenzie & Eileen M. Murphy
In 2003, the skeletal remains of some 1,300 individuals – men, women and children – were uncovered from Ballyhanna, near Ballyshannon in Co. Donegal. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the cemetery was in use for a prolonged period of time from the seventh century to the seventeenth century. The remains of all individuals were subject to a detailed osteological and palaeopathological analysis. This book contextualizes the results of the research, revealing a wealth of information concerning the health, diet and lifestyle of the people buried at Ballyhanna. The analysis represents the first comprehensive study of a skeletal population from medieval Gaelic Ireland and provides detailed insights concerning the hitherto largely invisible lower class of Gaelic society.
Catriona J. McKenzie is a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology, University of Exeter. She specializes in palaeopathology and funerary archaeology, and her research to date has focused upon skeleton collections from Ireland. Eileen M. Murphy is professor of Archaeology in the School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen's University Belfast. Her research interests focus on bioarchaeology and funerary archaeology, particularly in relation to the past populations of Ireland and Russia. She is the editor of the journal Childhood in the Past.