Early Modern

1500 – 1800 AD

The Early Modern period in Irish archaeology, which spans the 16th to 18th centuries, is marked by significant cultural and economic shifts. During this period, England dominated Ireland, and the country underwent significant change, including the growth of towns, the expansion of trade, and the spread of new ideas and religions. Urban settlements, fortifications, and historic landscapes are examples of archaeological evidence from this time period.

The growth of towns and cities, such as Dublin and Cork, is a defining characteristic of the Early Modern period in Ireland. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of these urban settlements, including street plans, residential and industrial structures, and marketplaces. These discoveries have yielded important insights into the social, economic, and cultural life of early-modern Ireland.

The expansion of trade and commerce is another defining characteristic of the early modern era. The expansion of maritime commerce prompted the establishment of ports and harbors along the Irish coast. Shipwrecks, harbors, and wharves have been unearthed by archaeologists as evidence of maritime activities of the period. These discoveries have illuminated Ireland’s role in the transatlantic economy and the global exchange of goods and ideas.

Early modernity was also characterized by the proliferation of new ideas and religions. During this time period, Protestantism spread and the Church of Ireland grew in Ireland. Catholics and Protestants vied for control of the country during this period of religious conflict. Archaeologists have examined the physical evidence of this religious conflict, such as the ruins of churches, monasteries, and fortifications.