Achill Archaeological Field School
 Academic Director: Mr Conor Newman
Field Director: TBA
Course Overview

Established in 1991, the Achill Archaeological Field School has over 25 years of experience in training archaeology and anthropology students. Located on Achill Island on Ireland’s stunning Wild Atlantic Way, the field school combines top quality education with unforgettable experiences.

The Field School offers six, four, and two-week accredited courses that come with up to 9 semester credits/18 ECTS. The courses cover a full range of excavation, site recording techniques, and lab work. In 2019 Achill Archaeological Field School returned to Caraun Point for a second season of excavation. The primary focus of this year's work was three drystone houses which date to the Post-Medieval period.  The houses are located in a dynamic coastal environment which is constantly evolving due to wind and wave action. Artefacts recovered from the excavation include glass and pottery, along with animal bone and shellfish remains. Analysis of these objects give us an insight into the livelihood and diet of the people who lived here. One unexpected discovery was the presence of a probable Early-Medieval ringfort immediately to the west of our excavation. Habitation deposits associated with this site were evident beneath the Post-Medieval houses and some artefacts of 8th to 10th century date were recovered. Next year's excavation season already
looks like it will be fascinating.

The key to our training is small group sizes, combined with instruction that is delivered directly by highly experienced archaeologists. In this way we ensure that each lesson is delivered in great detail, and that each student fully understands the different procedures and the rationales behind them. On site work during the first element of the course introduces the student to the basic techniques of
archaeological excavation, including laying out trenches, removing overburden, and excavating archaeological deposits with a variety of hand tools. Lectures introduce the Chronology of Irish Archaeology whilst a series of workshops develop the students understanding of the principals of excavation.

Course Modules

SS106: Introduction to Archaeology of Ireland (3 Semester Credits/6 ECTS Credits)

On site work during the first element of the course introduces the student to the basic techniques of archaeological excavation, including laying out trenches, removing overburden, and excavating archaeological deposits with a variety of hand tools. Lectures introduce the Chronology of Irish Archaeology whilst a series of workshops develop the students understanding of the principals of excavation.

SS107: Archaeological Field Studies (3 Semester Credits/6 ECTS Credits)

On site work during the second element introduces the student to the methods of onsite recording of archaeological features and deposits, including section drawing, elevation drawing, horizontal planning, working within a site grid, surveying, using an auto level and the EDM, and taking site photography. Lectures complete the Chronology of Irish Archaeology whilst workshops focus on post excavation skills such as managing site archives, writing stratigraphic reports and preparing AutoCad drawings.

SS108: Data Analysis (3 Semester Credits/6 ECTS Credits)

Field work during the final element sees the completion of the excavation and its post excavation restoration and then introduces the student to a broad range of subjects involving archaeological sites and their setting in the landscape, such as upland surveys, identifying new sites, recording standing monuments and analysing inter-site relationships and morphological settings. Lectures review the development of the discipline of Archaeology in Ireland and the ethical challenges facing the archaeological profession in the early 3rd Millennium whilst workshops focus on preparing the work so far undertaken for final publication.

SS1109: Dig, Draw, Digitise (3 Semester Credits/6 ECTS Credits)

This module is focused upon students who wish to undertake their own research projects and present primary research rather than working only from secondary sources. Each week will focus on a particular aspect of archaeological fieldwork.  Students will excavate a small trench which will demonstrate all common aspects of archaeological excavation. This is excavation in microcosm and will involve very intensive instruction to give the students a full understanding of the process of excavation. Students will undertake a wide variety of different types of field survey. Each day the students will visit an archaeological site on Achill and undertake different types of field survey. The course will include detailed instruction on surveying sites with different techniques to produce written accounts, plans, sections and elevations. Working with the results of the previous two weeks field projects the students will learn how to enter data into the computer and use different software to illustrate the results. Students will gain a practical working knowledge of such programs as Inkscape and QGIS and by the end of the week will have all the skills needed to produce professional looking illustrations to accompany their field studies.

SS1110: Ceramics in Archaeology (3 Semester Credits/6 ECTS Credits)

This module is focused upon the identification, recording and conservation of ceramics from archaeological sites AD1650-1900. The combination of lectures and practical assignments will illustrate the differences between various types of ceramics, practice drawing ceramics for publication and evaluate how interpretation of a ceramic assemblage is influenced by the depositional processes that led to their inclusion in the archaeological record. The first part of the course will see students receiving instruction on the correct handling, cleaning, conservation and identification of a variety of ceramics/sherds. Through a combination of lectures, excavations and
workshops, the students will gain knowledge of the differences between various types of ceramics, learn how to draw and illustrate ceramics for publication and evaluate how interpretation of a ceramic assemblage is influenced by the depositional processes that led to its inclusion in the archaeological record. The second part of the course will see students receiving instruction on photographing
ceramics, highlighting the problems of taking close-up views of small objects and a variety of solutions that permit good artefact photography using a range of equipment.

Courses

SS106 Introduction to Irish Archaeology
SS107 Archaeological Field Studies
SS108 Data Analysis
SS1109 Dig, Draw, Digitise
SS1110 Ceramics in Archaeology

Archaeological Excavation and Recording 1 June 15–July 24, 2020 (6 weeks) SS106/SS107/SS108
Archaeological Excavation and Recording 2 June 15–July 10, 2020 (4 weeks) SS106/SS107
Archaeological Excavation and Recording 3 July 13–July 24, 2020 (2 weeks) (SS108)
Dig, Draw, Digitise July 27-August 14, 2020 (3 weeks) (SS1109)
Ceramics in Archaeology July 27 - August 7, 2020 (2 weeks) (SS1110)

Tuition & Accommodation Costs

2 weeks - €1,995
3 weeks - €2,250
4 weeks - €3,750
6 weeks - €4,780

(All fees include tuition, accommodation, materials and local transport)

Apply

We accept students of 17 years of age and upwards who must be physically fit, as fieldwork is quite strenuous. 

Application Deadline: 5 June 2020

APPLY NOW

Further Information

Achill Archaeological Field School,
Archaeology Centre,
Dooagh,
Achill Island,
Co. Mayo,
Ireland
T: +353-98-43564
F: +353-98-43595
E: info@achill-fieldschool.com 
W: www.achill-fieldschool.com

Downloads

  • SUMMER SCHOOL BROCHURE 2019

    SUMMER SCHOOL BROCHURE 2019 PDF (1.5MB)

  • Ecology

    Ecology PDF (176KB)

  • Irish Studies Handbook

    Irish Studies Handbook PDF (2.4MB)

  • Irish Language Handbook

    Irish Language Handbook PDF (1.3MB)

  • Education in Ireland

    Education in Ireland PDF (2MB)