Louth: A County Great And Small

There is a crime scene concept which holds that every time someone enters an environment something is added or removed. Archaeologists see patterns of settlement, burial and industry everywhere. These patterns trace how people live in their environment. As new ideas or peoples arrive, archaeological evidence visibly changes.

Early People & Politics Map

An example of this 'footprint' may be seen in the archaeology of County Louth uncovered during the construction of the M1 around Dundalk. Until the 10th century AD North Louth was the historic land of the Conaille Muirthemne, an Ulster clan whose territory included the fertile plains from Dundalk to the River Glyde. The south of the county was the domain of the Brega. Through archaeology, we can see North Louth continues an Ulster tradition dating back 6000 years. The archaeology around Drogheda, historically the lands of Brega, is that of Meath and the Boyne Valley.

ASI: How can you "see" the difference between two communities through archaeology?
The physical evidence of the M1 shows two clear differences between North Louth and South Louth:

  1. Souterrains in North Louth use rectangular chambers whereas souterrains in South Louth use circular chambers.
  2. From 8th-10th century AD the North Louth people made and used pottery (Souterrain ware). South Louth did not.