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Iron Age                                Irish Archaeology                                                                       


Iron Age

Ireland's Iron Age is usually said to run from the end of the Bronze Age (around 500 B.C.) and continues until around 500 A.D. The overlap from Later Bronze Age to Early Iron Age reflects how society changed slowly and did not make a great leap of technology and culture from one period into another.  Similarly, the end of the Iron Age extends into the Early Christian period in Ireland, and while  great changes were taking place at that time, the technology used in farming and blacksmithing, cart making, etc. would have continued unchanged up to relatively modern times. 

Ireland's Iron Age has it's origins in Europe where a culture known as the Halstatt was flourishing 800 B.C. for a couple of centuries. This was the time when the Celts came to Ireland - probably not peacefully but as an invading force. In a few hundred years the Bronze age technology had been replaced by Iron Age Celtic techology.

The effect of this new Iron Age cannot be over emphasized.  Suddenly iron axes and iron farming equipment began to have a dramatic effect on the landscape. Perhaps one of the greatest changes introduced into Ireland during the Iron age was the making of iron swords and spears. 
Staigue Fort in Co. Kerry is a wonderful example of a late Iron Age Stone Fort.


Irish Gold

The Gold Broighter hoard found in the late 19th century in Northern Ireland dates from the mid Iron Age. It can be seen in the National Museum of Ireland.

(image from wikipedia)

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