Back in early medieval times, there was no cash economy, few buyers, and even fewer sellers, but there are surprising parallels between these ancient trading outposts and modern shopping centres.
According to archaeologist Dr Philip MacDonald, who led the dig on Dunnyneil, merchants would have brought wine and other luxury products to Ireland to exchange at emporia for furs, seal skin, slaves and famed Irish wolfhounds.
"High status members of the Dal Fiatach [the local dynasty whose royal centre was Downpatrick, County Down] and local traders, would have frequented the island," he said.
In medieval times, the king controlled trade and wealthy merchants travelled the seas to buy and sell goods. The trade in imported prestige items would have been important for the king of Dal Fiatach, to signify his status and power.
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