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Ireland in Ruins: Roots of Ireland’s Cultural Revival, History and Archaeology in the Nineteenth Century
AuthorSmith, Holly Clarine
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This thesis will analyze the interpretations of ancient sites in Ireland for their place in the history of antiquarianism, and trace the progression of influences through written accounts of Irish history and archaeological interpretations compiled around these sites for culturally nationalist underpinnings. The sites were used to market an evolving imagined community of Irish citizens, and create varying stages of a common Irish history: the ancient tomb Newgrange; The ringfort of Dun Aengus, the monastery of Clonmacnoise, and the Hill of Tara. When I compare the narrative given to the sites in the nineteenth century with the later reinvestigations, a new history of the professionalization of archaeology and the changing interpretation of heritage in Ireland can be discerned. I demonstrate that both efforts at objective scientific analysis and ideologically invested interpretation, were always present and that the dialectic between them is what characterizes the evolution of antiquarian toprofessional.