Material culture of high-status drinking ritual in medieval and early modern Gaelic Ireland
MetadataShow full item record
This item's downloads: 46 (view details)
This thesis is the first comprehensive study of ritual drinking vessels of horn and wood from later medieval and early modern Gaelic Ireland. The research provides an analysis of the drinking vessels and offers an interpretation of the roles of methers, goblets and horns in drinking rituals of Gaelic elites, during the period 1200 – 1600 AD. The archaeological record indicates that horn and wood were the preferred materials for the manufacture of high-status drinking vessels, with the quadrangular wooden mether or meadar predominant in Irish museum collections. The aims of the thesis are to determine how methers, goblets and horns functioned in Gaelic drinking rituals and why organic material was the preferred choice for drinking vessels. Some of the reasons why drinking horns were gradually replaced by methers, from c. 1300 onwards are also explored. The methodology adopted for this thesis involved detailed recording and analysis of the extant corpus of drinking vessels housed in Irish repositories. In tandem with this, the research engaged with an examination of historical and literary sources relating to medieval drinking ritual. AMS C14 dates were obtained for a small sample of Gaelic wooden drinking vessels, in order to inform a timeframe for their manufacture and use. Experimental archaeology was undertaken to seek clarification on the performance and protocol of Gaelic drinking ritual and to determine how the unique form of Gaelic drinking methers performed in a ritual context. The theoretical framework applied to the thesis examines archaeological and anthropological approaches to ritual and, in particular, to ritual drinking and the long established relationship between ritual, alcohol and the establishment of power, status and social boundaries. It also includes commentary on the gendered aspects of drinking ritual. Among the principal findings of the research are that there was an affinity with organic material for ritual drinking vessels; that methers may have been used as early as c. 1300 and that the emergence of the mether form may be associated with the transition from kingship to lordship in Gaelic polities. It is also proposed that the revival in use of some horns c. 1400 may be related to attempts by ruling families to assert their ancestral identities as over-kings.
This item is available under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland. No item may be reproduced for commercial purposes. Please refer to the publisher's URL where this is made available, or to notes contained in the item itself. Other terms may apply.
The following license files are associated with this item:
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Ageing in changing community contexts: cross-border perspectives from rural Ireland and Northern Ireland Walsh, Kieran; O'Shea, Eamon; Scharf, Thomas (2012)Ongoing demographic, social, economic and cultural changes point to the dynamic and continually changing contexts of rural areas in Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, the influence of such changes on the lives of older ...
Callaghan, Mary (2012-05)HBSC Ireland 2010 has found that 39.5% of schoolchildren in Ireland report that they were injured and needed medical treatment from a doctor or a nurse once or more in the previous 12 months (47.2% of boys and 31.2% of ...
Callaghan, Mary (2012)HBSC Ireland 2010 has found that 20.0% of schoolchildren in Ireland report eating vegetables everyday, more than once (18.7% of boys and 21.5% of girls). This figure represents a slight increase since 2006 (17.9%). There ...