Where worlds meet. Two Irish prehistoric mountain-top "villages"

Stefan Bergh


Mountains and high ground are often venerated as special places. It is their enigmatic quality as high places, their prominence and permanence in both the mental and physical landscapes that draw us to them. In the Neolithic/Bronze Age mountain tops in Ireland were frequently used for ritual purposes, often indicated by the presence of various monuments such as passage tombs, cairns as well as enclosures. In a few instances large cluster of circular houses have been recorded in close proximity to these monuments. The two largest clusters, with some 150 houses each are both found on conspicuous, rather inaccessible summits in karst landscapes. This paper presents the methodologies used in recent surveys of these two sites. The role of these seemingly “domestic structures” in highly charged ritual contexts is also discussed.

Montagne e rilievi sono spesso venerati come luoghi speciali ed è proprio la loro enigmatica caratteristica di luoghi elevati, la loro prominenza e permanenza nei nostri paesaggi mentali e fisici, che ci attrae verso di essi. In Irlanda, durante il Neolitico e l’Età del Bronzo, le cime delle montagne sono state frequentemente utilizzate a scopi rituali, spesso contraddistinte dalla presenza di tombe megalitiche dette ‘passage tombs’, da tumuli di pietre detti ‘cairns’ e da recinti conosciuti come ‘enclosures’. In alcuni casi, estesi nuclei abitativi con strutture a forma circolare sono strati scoperti a distanza ravvicinata da questi monumenti rituali. I due insediamenti di maggiore estensione, con più di 150 strutture ciascuna, sono stati rinvenuti su cime elevate e piuttosto inaccessibili, in un paesaggio carsico. Quest’articolo vuole presentare le metodologie utilizzate nelle recenti ricognizioni di superficie che hanno interessato questi due siti. Inoltre verrà discussa ed interpretata la funzione di queste strutture apparentemente adibite ad uso abitativo entro un contesto di spiccato valore rituale.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13138/2039-2362/1129

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