Date of Award

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Bettina Arnold

Committee Members

John Richards, Robert Jeske, Niall Brady, Nathaniel Farley


archaeology, Entanglement, geophyics, GPR, Hybridization, Norman


This thesis employs entanglement theory and new geophysical macro-analytical methods to

examine the spread of Norman culture in late medieval Ireland. The traditional theories of

Anglo-Norman conquest by mass migration, by military conquest, and by political conquest are

reviewed and compared to a more nuanced theory of Normanization, which suggests that

genetically Irish people, who spoke Irish, practiced Irish law, and pursued Irish interests were

primarily responsible for what is considered "Norman" material culture on the Island. This

dissertation presents the idea that adherence to the English king was a necessary and expedient

action on the part of Irish lords that has been badly misunderstood by later generations. This

thesis tests the idea that medieval Irish people were engaged in a changing social dynamic seen

throughout the Catholic world, and that participation in the Crusades required cereal agriculture

and military adherence to a recognized Catholic authority, ultimately resulting in the adoption of

behaviors and allegiances that mirrored their English and Welsh counterparts. Perhaps most

provocatively, the suggestion that no English invasion of Ireland occurred during the medieval

period is posited based on a case study at Ballintober, County Roscommon.