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The Mesolithic in Ireland



par Guide Irlande

The Mesolithic in Ireland, is a period when the first inhabitants of the island arrived. They come from Scotland, and are already cut to survive in precarious conditions. Nowadays, the numerous archaeological discoveries tell us about the way of life of this first population that came to settle in Ireland… Here is an overview of what we know about the Mesolithic in Ireland…

History of the Mesolithic in Ireland – 8000 B.C. – 4500 B.C.

First Inhabitants: a population from Scotland

Archaeologists estimate that the first traces of human occupation in Ireland date back to between 8000 and 7000 BC. At that time, Ireland is still a land still very much marked by the Ice Age: the interior is frozen by the permafrost, while the coasts are more easily inhabited …

Numerous discoveries would have revealed the presence of hunter-gatherers on the approaches to the island… The latter would have initially invested the North-East of Ireland to settle on the coasts, then would have gradually developed their settlements throughout Ireland… Thus, important Mesolithic sites were found in :

The theories on the origin of these first inhabitants are diverse and varied. However, many agree to suppose that they could have come from Scotland, and would have made the way by boat (at that time, Ireland was already an island, although the sea level is significantly lower than today)…

Lifestyle

At that time, the first settlers lived mainly from fishing and hunting game: indeed, the Irish lands were not yet fertile enough to allow cultivation (because of the permafrost which froze the land during the Ice Age)…

In order to survive, the population used harpoons, spears and other arrows, made of wood and carved flint points, while the pickers brought back hazelnuts and berries… Among the game brought back, one counted mainly wild boar, or deer…

According to some studies, the Irish Mesolithic population did not exceed a few thousand inhabitants… This population would then have developed further during the Neolithic period…







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