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H 290 x W 205 mm

294 pages

63 figures, 6 tables, 119 plates

Published Dec 2021

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781789699913

Digital: 9781789699920

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Ireland; Iron Age; Equestrian; Horses; Metal objects; Roman Britain

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Queen's University Belfast Irish Archaeological Monograph 2

Irish Late Iron Age Equestrian Equipment in its Insular and Continental Context

By Rena Maguire

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This is the first practical archaeological study of Irish Iron Age lorinery. The horse and associated equipment were very much at the heart of the social changes set in motion by contact with the Roman Empire; the examination of the snaffles and bosals allows us to bring the people of the Late Iron Age in Ireland into focus.



List of Figures ;
List of Tables ;
List of Plates ;
Acknowledgements ;
Glossary ;
Chapter 1. ‘For want of a horse, the rider was lost’: An introduction to Irish Iron Age tack ;
Chapter 2. The Irish Iron Age horse in context: Literature and legend ;
Chapter 3. The Irish Iron Age bridle: Form, function, use-wear, and fit ;
Chapter 4. Decoration, symbolism, and evolution of Irish Iron Age tack ;
Chapter 5. ‘Horses make a landscape look more beautiful’: Distribution, deposition, and landscape ;
Chapter 6. Under the influence: Looking for the regional and cultural origins of Late Iron Age Irish tack ;
Chapter 7. Conclusions and future directions ;
Bibliography ;

About the Author

Rena Maguire studied Archaeology at Queen’s University Belfast, graduating with a BA Hons. in 2013. She was awarded an MSc in 2014 and a PhD in 2018. She has worked for the Historic Environment Division of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, and currently is a visiting Research Fellow at QUB. She has published extensively on ancient equitation and its associated technology and is an enthusiastic horsewoman.


'One of the major contributions of this volume is the exquisitely illustrated catalogue, taking up almost half the book. This book is a valuable contribution to the study of the Irish Late Iron Age and will be essential reading.' – Duncan Berryman (2022): Ulster Archaeological Society newsletter, Spring 2022

'Like all good research projects, this one has raised many more questions about the arrival of equestrianism in Ireland, the people who brought it and its impact on society, the connections between this island and the rest of the Iron Age world, and even the horses themselves. In all, this is an important step forward in the study of Iron Age Ireland'Sharon Green (2022): Archaeology Ireland, Summer 2022

‘While one may hesitate to follow Maguire’s broader interpretations, she has shown what can be achieved by a practice-based assessment and questioning of equestrian finds: the detailed knowledge of how to work a horse, how this translated into metal, and what implications this could have.’ – Fraser Hunter (2022): Ulster Journal of Archaeology Vol. 77

This is a sublime piece of work, comprehensive and original in its approach, and demonstrating a thorough knowledge of the material and its functioning.’ – Greta Anthoons (2023): Ollodagos