Achill Archaeological Field School

‌‌‌‌Achill Archaeological Field School 2015 photo

Course Overview

Founded in 1991, Achill Archaeological Field School has undertaken research on many different aspects of the island’s archaeology that has included excavation of selected sites and extensive digital surveys. Theresa McDonald’s book ‘Achill Island: archaeology – history – folklore’ (2006), documented the history and archaeology of the island from the Mesolithic to the Post Medieval period. Former students of the Field School have returned to Achill to carry out their own research projects on the Iron Age promontory forts, ceramics from the Deserted Village, Bronze Age roundhouses, Post Medieval Field Systems, Napoleonic Towers, the Boycott House and Shell Midden sites. Many more monuments/sites wait to be explored.    

2014 saw the commencement of a brand new major multi-year excavation at a possible Megalithic site on Slievemore, which consists of several stone structures or foundations connected via a pre bog field wall to a nearby Court Tomb. Excavation of this site will continue in 2015 to determine if it was related to burial practice or was a settlement site of possible Neolithic date.  The second half of the summer will involve an excavation of a Late Medieval house at Keem Bay.

The key to our training is that we cater for small group sizes with all instruction delivered directly by highly experienced archaeologists and environmental scientists. In this way we ensure that each lesson is explicitly covered and delivered in great detail. Our policy is to work with each student until we are satisfied that the particular subject matter has been understood correctly.

Located at the western end of Ireland’s largest offshore island, we are surrounded by mountains, bogs, cliffs and stunning seascapes and this amazing natural landscape forms the backdrop for our on-going research into the archaeology of an island community on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The Field School’s Accommodation Block is located next to the Archaeology Centre.

Programme Details


Session 1 

Session 2 

Module 1:  25 May – 3July (6 weeks)

Module 3:  25 May – 19 June (4 weeks)

Module 5:  22 June – 3 July (2 weeks)

Module 2:  6 July – 14 August (6 weeks)

Module 4:  6 – 31 July (4 weeks)

Module 6:  3 – 14 August (2 weeks)   


3 Semester credits/

6 ECTS per modular course

Enrolment Deadline

May 9, 2015

Location Achill Island, Co Mayo


Programme Outline

Academic Director: Dr. Conor Newman

Local Academic Director: Dr. Theresa McDonald


-SS106:  Introduction to Irish Archaeology (3 semester credits/6 ECTS)

-SS107:  Archaeological Field Studies (3 semester credits/6 ECTS)

-SS108:  Data Analysis (3 semester credits/6 ECTS)

Participants taking three modules are eligible for 18 Semester Credits (9 Semester Hours).

Further Information

Further information from:  

The Administrator
Achill Archaeological Field School,
Archaeology Centre,
Dooagh, Achill Island,
Co. Mayo.
T: +353-98-43564
F: +353-98-43595