December 2018 saw the publication of another massive Rubicon project which was excavated during the road building programme in Ireland during the noughties. The Mullaghmast project was part of the M9 motorway project which connected Waterford and Dublin. Rubicon undertook the excavations on the section from just south of Carlow town to Kilcullen in County Kildare.The Mullamast site was the largest set piece excavation on the scheme and involved the excavation of a section of a deserted medieval village. At the height of the project we employed over 300 archaeologists on the project. The team came from all over the world with 18 languages spoken on site!
Rubicon is delighted with the resulting publication which was produced by a fantastic team headed up by Teresa Bolger who is the principal author of the book. The book was launched in Ballitore, County Kildare by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, who also funded the project. The book can be purchased on-line from WordwellBooks at the following link https://wordwellbooks.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=1830
In A Medieval Village at Mullamast readers will learn about the hobby, a small agile horse bred for raiding and scouting in time of war and the specialist light cavalry called hobelars, who rode them. There is evidence from the settlement at Mullamast for other aspects of medieval Irish life also. Cattle, sheep and pigs were reared and, variously, milked, sheared or slaughtered for their meat and hides. From the evidence for harvesting and processing cereal crops it is clear that arable farming was important too. But the distinguishing feature of this settlement is the unusually high proportion of horse remains in the animal bone assemblage recovered by the archaeological excavation of the site and, especially smaller horses corresponding in stature to the hobby. It seems that the medieval village of Mullamast is now the first attested stud farm in the long history of horse breeding in County Kildare and was a place where the villagers specialised in horses bred for war.