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The course aims to equip participants with a sound knowledge of Ireland’s archaeological heritage from the earliest settlers to the medieval period. It consists of lectures, fieldwork and project work. The course offers a general introduction to the field monuments and material culture of some nine millennia of the Irish past.
You will be introduced to the discipline of archaeology, its historical development worldwide, theoretical perspectives and methodologies. You will also examine the archaeology of Ireland in general, and explore the prehistoric and historic archaeology of human settlement in their region.
Applications and Selections
Who Teaches this Course
Requirements and Assessment
2 years, part-time
Next start date
A Level Grades ()
Next start date
Mode of study
There are six modules on offer within the diploma structure. Students are required to complete 3 modules each year.
Introduction to Archaeology: This module will introduce students to the discipline of archaeology and provide the theoretical and methodological foundations for later courses. The first weeks will be devoted to Exploring the Past, a series of lectures designed to introduce students to modern archaeology, its historical development, aims and practices. This is followed in the latter weeks by lectures devoted to Fundamentals of Archaeological Explanation where students are introduced to the techniques involved in archaeological analyses.
The Archaeology of Prehistoric Ireland: This module provides an introduction to the prehistory of Ireland. The first lectures deal with the first settlers in Ireland, the arrival of farming and megalithic tombs. This is followed by lectures considering the many developments that marked the transition to the Bronze Age, from the introduction of metallurgy to changes in the structure of society and ritual practices. The arrival of Celtic influences to Ireland and the process of Celticisation in the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age are explored. The course ends by considering Ireland during the Roman era.
The Archaeology of Historic Ireland : This module introduces Irish archaeology from the arrival of Christianity in the 5 th century AD to the end of the medieval period. The weeks of Early Medieval and Viking Ireland looks at the period between AD 400-1000, covering topics such as settlement, economy and craft, the early Christian Church, and Ireland and the Viking world. This is followed by lectures on Anglo-Norman and Gaelic Ireland that deal with the medieval period in Ireland, covering such areas as the archaeology of medieval castles, churches and towns.
Approaching the Past: This module deals with the different ways that archaeologists use archaeological evidence to explain past societies and social change as well as a field project where students learn the fundamentals of recording archaeological monuments.
Prehistoric Landscapes: This module focuses on the prehistoric landscapes of western Ireland and includes topics such as the megalithic tombs of the Burren and the Late Bronze Age chiefdom of Dún Aonghasa.
Historic Landscapes: This module focuses on the historic-period landscapes of western Ireland and includes topics such as Christianity in the west, secular settlement, and the towns, castles and other remnants of the Anglo-Norman and medieval Gaelic period.
A number of field trips are scheduled throughout both years, designed to complement each module.
Why Choose This Course?
Who’s Suited to This Course
Related Student Organisations
Fees: Student levy
Fees: Non EU
Find out More
Dr. Michelle Comber
School of Geography and Archaeology
Tel: 091 492887
What Our Students Say
John Burke |
Having completed the Diploma in Arts (Archaeology) at NUIG in 2011, landscapes have now taken on a whole new meaning for me. The teaching was excellent and the field surveys I undertook as part of the course embedded in my mind a much deeper understanding of the lifestyles, culture and heritage ofIrelandand its global connection. Connecting with the past has become much more meaningful for me now and seeds of curiosity have taken root especially as I picture in my mind the numerous routes by land and water where our forefathers travelled, feuded and toiled for survival.
Liam Byrne |
The NUI Galway Diploma in Archaeology course which I undertook on an outreach basis in Roscommon was excellent. The lecturers are all very highly qualified and genuinely interested in passing on their knowledge to the students. It is quite amazing how a visit to a ring fort, an old castle or a church site can take on a whole new meaning when you actually know what you are looking at. The two years just flew by. The course was a fantastic experience and the friendships made will last a lifetime! Very highly recommended.