Marion Ravenwood reviews ‘Battles, Boats and Bones: Archaeological Discoveries in Northern Ireland, 1987-2008,’ by Emily Murry and Paul Logue (eds).
After the success of the National Road Authority’s Celtic Tiger monograph series, at first glance Battles, Boats and Bones seems a scanty competitor. But you’ve only to open the cover for this impression to be firmly dispelled. Rarely has an archaeological volume been so well done: organisation, layout, illustration, and content combine to make this journey through selected excavations of Northern Ireland both pleasurable and accessible.
The six chapters are themed and each theme illustrated by four detailed excavations. The book’s aim is not only to publicise the results of archaeological investigations, but also to acknowledge the huge changes that took place in archaeology over the 25 years covered by the volume. But make no mistake, there are big discoveries inside, such as the Bronze Age village at Portrush, and the recently revealed below ground archaeology at the Giant’s Ring, Belfast. This book is an important addition to our knowledge of archaeology in Northern Ireland.