Kaaren Moffat (PhD Candidate)
Ogham stones of Ireland
Supervisor: Mr. John Sheehan
Early Medieval and Viking Research Group
Ogham stones are the only record of the earliest form of the Irish language and constitute a valuable asset in the quest to increase our knowledge of early medieval Ireland. The dearth of archaeological evidence with which to date ogham stones has hampered advancement in this area. However, recent linguistic analysis of the ogham inscriptions by Damian McManus has determined phases in the development of the inscriptions and this has radically affected the timeline perception of ogham.
By utilizing these changes in linguistic form and their relative dates, it is now possible to distinguish ogham stones belonging to different phases of the language and the time periods in which they were erected. However, the only archaeological studies relating these relative dates to the distribution of ogham stones that have been published to date are Moore 1998 and Swift 1997. By utilizing the results of the linguistic analysis, the pattern of ogham stone dispersal throughout Cork in time and space will be determined. This exercise will enable the examination of changing distribution patterns in Cork against the background of early Christianity. This project will be the first time that the linguistic and archaeological evidence will be fully integrated and utilized to its full potential.