Achill Archaeological Field School

‌‌‌‌Achill Archaeological Field School 2015 photo

Course Overview

‌The Achill Archaeological Field School has been involved in surveying and excavating archaeological sites on Achill Island since being founded in 1991. Over the course of the last 24 years the Field School has worked on a wide array of different site types that reflect the continuous occupation of the island over 6000 years. The various projects undertaken by the staff and students of the Field School have created a uniquely in-depth record of the settlement and occupation of this enchanting place. Neolithic Megalithic tombs, Bronze Age houses and field systems, Iron Age promontory forts, Early Medieval kilns, Medieval huts, a Medieval tower house castle, several Post Medieval villages, numerous Post Medieval transhumant booley settlements and a 19th century land agents house have all been subject to different types of investigation.

In 2016, the Field School will be working on two different projects. The first half of the summer (Modules 1, 3 and 5) will continue excavations at the Cromlech Tumulus site on Slievemore Mountain, a complex site that consists of a large Bronze Age building overlain by smaller Medieval huts and connected to a nearby Neolithic tomb by a large prehistoric field wall. This will be the third season of excavation at this challenging site. The second half of the summer (Modules 2, 4 and 6) will be spent at the 18th and 19th century village site at Keem Bay. This will be our second major season at this site, and having excavated the largest of the well-preserved building foundations in 2015, we will be focusing this year on a number of the smaller building foundations as we attempt to properly understand the nature of the settlement at this curious site.

Students at the Field School will be involved in all aspects of the excavation, following our highly structured training program. Fieldwork is supplemented by weekly lectures and field trips that allow students to visit and learn about the whole array of the archaeological sites on the island. Evening lectures by visiting researchers will introduce topics of current research by some of Ireland’s leading archaeologists, whilst specialist courses in different aspects of off-site work complete the student’s experience.  Our dedicated self-catered Wi-Fi enabled Accommodation Block provides students with a comfortable environment to relax when not working on site or exploring the island at the weekend.

Programme Details

Academic Director: Dr. Conor Newman
Field Director:  Dr. Stuart Rathbone

Achill Archaeological Field School offers a range of 6, 4 and 2 week modules which offer academic credit that are ideal for archaeology and anthropology students from around the world.


3 Semester Credits/6 ECTS Credits (per course)


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).


Dates for Session One

Module 1: May 23 – July 2, 2016 (6 weeks)
Includes Courses: SS106, SS107, SS108
Cost:  €4,750

Module 3: June 6 – July 2, 2016 (4 weeks)
Includes Courses: SS106, SS107
Cost:  - €3,900

Module 5: June 20 – July 2, 2016 (2 weeks) 
Includes Course:  SS108
Cost:  €1,950

Dates for Session Two

Module 2: July 4 – August 13, 2016 (6 weeks)
Includes Courses: SS106, SS107, SS108
Cost:  €4,750

Module 4: July 4 – July 30, 2016 (4 weeks)
Includes Courses: SS106, SS107
Cost:  €3,900

Module 6: August 1 – August 13, 2016 (2 weeks)
Includes Course: SS108
Cost:  €1,950

Entry Requirements

Applicants should be 17 years of age or over and physically fit as work is quite strenuous.


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Tuition and Fees

2 Week Course €1,950
4 Week Course €3,900
6 Week Course €4,750

Fee Includes:

  • Tuition
  • Accommodation
  • Materials
  • Local transport

Further Information

Further information from:

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



Apply online here