Irish archaeologist John O’Neill and Colin Quinn at the site of an excavation of Bronze Age houses on islands off the coast of Ireland.

Assistant Professor of Anthropology Colin Quinn and Associate Dean of Faculty and Associate Professor of Anthropology Nathan Goodale are co-authors of an article published in the current issue of the European Journal of Archaeology.

Titled “Along the Margins? The Later Bronze Age Seascapes of Western Ireland,” the article reports on a study in which Quinn and Goodale, along with their co-authors, present archaeological evidence for the occupation of small islands off the western coast of Ireland during the Later Bronze Age (1500-600 BC). They demonstrated that people chose to live on these remote and environmentally marginal islands despite significant risks.

Excavation of Bronze Age houses on islands off coast of Ireland
Researchers Collins Tynan, Melissa Coles, and Laura DeFrank '10 examine remains of Bronze Age houses.

Inishark and Inishbofin are small islands located nearly five miles off the western coast of Ireland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Using archaeological survey, satellite imagery analysis, geophysical prospection, and excavation, the researchers showed that these islands were actually positioned directly in the middle of expanding inter-regional exchange networks that developed across Europe during the second Millennium BC.

The study documents how Bronze Age islanders transformed these remote bits of land and harsh seas into an integrated corridor of human interaction that was critical for the development of social complexity in Europe.

This work expands upon studies Quinn and Goodale have conducted elsewhere that explore the long history of the complex interplay between humans and our environment.

Help us provide an accessible education, offer innovative resources and programs, and foster intellectual exploration.

Site Search