Dr Rena Maguire

Visiting Research Fellow


Current research

My current research involves Irish Iron Age equestrianism as a cultural intrusion, which in itself becomes a narrative of social changes to north western Europe during the last phases of antiquity. The prime focus is on increasing knowledge of a vital period of Irish archaeology – the transition period of the Late Iron Age into the Early Medieval period – to understand the main means of land transport, i.e. the horse, is to understand to some extent the infrastructure of Late Iron Age society. Previous paradigms have considered Ireland to have had a minimum of interaction with Europe. To date, my research refutes this, indicating that Ireland was regularly in communication with Britain and the rest of Europe.

My other interests are related to material culture and identity, mostly expressed through artefactual evidence, from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Medieval period, not just in Ireland but in Europe. I also edit EXARC, the Experimental Archaeology Journal.


Equitation; Equestrian cultures; material culture; ancient technology; artefact analysis; metals; Late Iron Age.

Publications (up to 2020)

 2020. Hard times on horseback: where is Ireland’s early medieval tack? Archaeology Ireland 34. 2. (in press, page allocation to be confirmed)

2020. ‘Get off your high horse: an examination of changes in lorinery and equitation in the Irish early medieval period AD 400 to 750’ in Ropa, A., and Dawson, T (Eds.) Explorations in Medieval Culture: Horses across the Medieval World. Leiden: Brill Publishing (in press: pages to be confirmed)

2020. Sign O’ The Times: The re-use of pre-Roman Iron Age British and European symbols on Late Iron Age Irish equestrian equipment’ in Chittock, H., Nimura, C., Gosden C., and Hommel, P. (eds.) Art in the Eurasian Iron Age: Context, connections and scale:Proceedings of Early Celtic Art in Context, Oxford University Sept 25-27th 2017. Oxford: Oxbow Publications ( in press)

2019. Let’s do the tine warp again: Reconstructing a Late Bronze Age bridle from Moynagh Lough, County Meath, Ireland. EXARC. 2019/3

2018. Our Lovely Horse goes on a Disney Adventure: riders, shields and symbols of Iron Age Ireland and north-eastern Britain. Archaeology Ireland. 32.4. 14-19

Visions of Eagles and Horses: looking at equestrian equipment from Late Iron Age Ireland and northwest Europe. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Newsletter. 30.1. 7

2017. ‘ Everything old is new again: an examination of the similarity between the zoomorphic roundels of the Witham Shield and decorative motifs found on Late Iron Age Irish Y-pieces’ in Brandherm, D (ed) Memento dierum antiquorum: a festschrift for Majolie Lenerz-de Wilde. Berlin: Curach Bhan

2016. ‘Our Lovely Horse: questions regarding the origins and possible prehistoric chronology of the extinct Irish Hobbey’. Archaeology Ireland.

2015. Davis, S; Carey,C; Richley, E; Moore, C , Maguire, R and Curran, S. ‘LiDAR and Geophysical survey at the Tlachtga, Co. Meath, Ireland: A late Iron Age ritual enclosure’ in Posluchny, A.G (ed) Sensing the Past Contributions from the ArcLand Conference on Remote Sensing for Archaeology. Bonn:ArcLand. 62-64. 

2015. Boughton, D and Maguire, R. ‘British Early Iron Age horse harness fittings: a reinterpretation of the winged objects from the Llyn Fawr hoard (c. 800-600BC)’. Late Prehistoric Finds Group newsletter. 6. 9-13