Hunter-Gatherer Ireland: making connections in an island world

Review by George Nash.

When looking at the prehistory of Ireland, we are instantly drawn to the complex societies that were involved in the construction and use of burial monuments of the Neolithic, some five to six millennia ago. The Mesolithic of Ireland (10,000 to 6000 BC), however, was inhabited by advanced hunter-fisher-gatherers who exploited the rich economic resources that the island’s diverse landscapes had to offer. Professor Warren’s new book explores in detail the archaeological evidence for how small bands of hunter-fisher-gatherers lived alongside megafauna, remnants of a bygone ice age, and how each coped with a rapidly changing landscape, due in part to climate change (yes, climate change). This change also brought about the introduction of new ways to exploit resources, using specific tool kits.

The book is organised into ten well-crafted chapters and that all-important index, providing the reader with an in-depth narrative of a little-known expanse of time that witnessed great changes in the way modern humans behaved and coped. It will be an important focus for those interested in the way economies adapted to climate change during this period of early prehistory.

Hunter-Gatherer Ireland: making connections in an island world
Graeme Warren
Oxbow Books, £19.95
ISBN: 978-1789256819