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A Statistical Analysis of Ringfort Distribution and Morphology on the Loop Head Peninsula, County Clare
by Robert M. Chapple


A Statistical Analysis of Ringfort Distribution and Morphology on the Loop Head Peninsula (PDF)

This M.A. Thesis on the ringforts of the Loop Head Peninsula was submitted to University College Galway by Robert M. Chapple. The thesis is presented in two parts. The first comprises eight chapters detailing the research and analyses undertaken, the second being a series of four gazetteers detailing the 244 known, presumed and suspected ringforts within the study area.

Clare County Library is grateful to Robert M. Chapple for allowing us to reproduce this work.

Volume I
Chapter 1 presents a general introduction to the study area.
Chapter 2 details the availability of research material for the ringforts of the Loop Head area. This chapter also includes a review of the field survey and assesses its completeness.
Chapter 3 examines the physical environment of the study area.
Chapter 4 presents a general review of ringfort morphology, function and dating.
Chapter 5 examines the surveyed data using various forms of correlation, along with nearest neighbour analysis and the chi-square test. The completeness of the known distribution is then assessed.
Chapter 6 continues the statistical approach when the data is subjected to the multivariate approach of cluster analysis. The aim of this chapter is to formulate a basic, hierarchical classification scheme for the ringforts of the Loop Head peninsula. In an attempt to explore the archaeological validity of these clusters, the data was examined using principal components analysis and these results tested using computer-intensive randomisation tests of significance.
Chapter 7 attempts to reconstruct the Early Christian patterns of settlement and society for the study area. This is based on the results of the statistical analyses conducted in Chapters 5 and 6; combined with the information available from the corpus of Early Christian literature.
Chapter 8 gives a general summation and conclusions. The limitations of the research are assessed and areas of future research are identified.

Volume II
Gazetteer of ringforts
Gazetteer of destroyed earthworks
Gazetteer of unclassified enclosures
Gazetteer of potential sites known from aerial photography
Translations and orthography of placenames on the Loop Head peninsula