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There are also many in south Wales and in Cornwall, where they are called 'Rounds'.
Ringforts come in many sizes and may be made of stone or earth.
However, many hitherto unknown ringforts have been found thanks to early Ordnance Survey maps, aerial photography, and the archaeological work that has accompanied road-building.
Limbert argues instead, that the ringfort should be seen in the context of a variety of similar developments in Britain and the European Continent, particularly in Iberia and Gaul.
While conceding that most ringforts were built in the Early Christian period, he suggests a link between the arrival of Eóganachta dynasty in Munster c.400 AD, and the introduction of ringforts.
According to the authoritative New History of Ireland (2005), "archaeologists are agreed that the vast bulk of them are the farm enclosures of the well-to-do of early medieval Ireland".
The theories that the ringfort either pre- or post-dates the Early Middle Ages in Ireland, are both based on essentially the same premise, as is highlighted here by Tadhg O'Keefe in relation to the latter argument.The debate on chronology is primarily a result of the huge number of ringforts and the failure of any other form of settlement site to survive to modern times in any great quantity from the period before the Early Christian period or from Gaelic Ireland after the Anglo-Norman arrival.