Dr. Michelle Comber

BA, BA, PhD

Contact Details

Lecturer (Part-Time)
Archaeology
School of Geography and Archaeology
NUI, Galway

T: 091 492887
E: michelle.comber@nuigalway.ie
 
researcher

Biography

Dr. Michelle Comber's research interests lie mainly in the archaeology of Ireland’s Early Medieval period, especially its fine metalwork, economy and settlement.

 

Michelle is a graduate of the Department of Archaeology, NUI, Galway, having completed her primary degree in 1994 (in English and Archaeology), Masters degree in 1996 as an NUI Galway fellow (examining the production of fine metalwork in Early Medieval Ireland) and PhD in 2000 as one of the first IRCHSS scholars (exploring the economy of native Early Medieval settlement in Ireland). She then held a one-year post-doctoral research post at the Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change (now the Moore Institute) at NUI, Galway, and has nearly 20 years excavation experience. She has been tutoring and lecturing part-time with the Archaeology department at NUI, Galway since 1994, and is currently course manager for the department’s part-time diplomas in archaeology. She is also served as Academic Co-ordinator of the Irish Studies Online programme, a series of web-based courses in Irish Studies developed by NUI, Galway in conjunction with Regis University, Denver, Colorado. She now runs the Centre for Irish Studies' online diploma.

Michelle’s current research project is examining the archaeological landscape of the Burren, Co. Clare, with excavations ongoing at Caherconnell in the heart of the Burren (where she is director of an international field school, the Caherconnell Archaeological Field School). Public lectures have been given throughout Ireland, Scotland, England and the USA. She is a member of Galway County Heritage Forum, external referee for the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, and sits on the Council of the Discovery Programme. She has published two monographs based on her MA and PhD theses (2004 Native Evidence of Non-ferrous Metalworking in Early Historic Ireland. BAR International Series 1296, Oxford and 2008 The Economy of the Ringfort and Contemporary Settlement in Early Medieval Ireland. BAR International Series 1773, Oxford), contributed chapters to a number of books, and written articles for academic and popular publications such as the Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (e.g. 2010, with Graham Hull, ‘Excavations at Caherconnell Cashel, the Burren, Co. Clare. Implications for Cashel Chronology and Gaelic Settlement.’ PRIA 110C, 133-73), the Journal of Irish Archaeology, and Archaeology Ireland. Since 2003, Michelle has won over €250,000 in research grants from the Heritage Council, INSTAR (as joint Principal Investigator), the Royal Irish Academy, and the Irish Research Council.

Research Interests

Primary research focus lies in Ireland's Early Medieval period and, to a slightly lesser degree, Medieval period. Fieldwork, settlement archaeology and material culture are of particular interest.

Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
(2010) 'Excavations at Caherconnell Cashel, the Burren, Co. Clare: implications for cashel chronology and Gaelic settlement'
Comber, M,Hull, G (2010) 'Excavations at Caherconnell Cashel, the Burren, Co. Clare: implications for cashel chronology and Gaelic settlement'. Proceedings Of The Royal Irish Academy Section C-Archaeology Celtic Studies History Linguistics Literature, 110 :133-12 [DOI] [Details]
(2008) 'Archaeological investigations at Ross Island Cave, Killarney, Co Kerry'
Comber, M., OBrien, W. (2008) 'Archaeological investigations at Ross Island Cave, Killarney, Co Kerry'. Journal of Irish Archaeology, 17 :19-56 [Details]
(2008) 'Caherconnell, Co Clare, and cashel chronology'
Comber, M., Graham Hull, G. (2008) 'Caherconnell, Co Clare, and cashel chronology'. Archaeology Ireland, 22 (4):30-33 [Details]
(2006) 'Tom Fannings excavations at Rinnaraw cashel, Portnablagh, Co Donegal'
Comber, M. (2006) 'Tom Fannings excavations at Rinnaraw cashel, Portnablagh, Co Donegal'. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 106c :67-124 [Details]
(2002) 'MV Duignans excavations at the ringfort of Rathgurreen, County Galway, 1948 - 1949'
Comber, M. (2002) 'MV Duignans excavations at the ringfort of Rathgurreen, County Galway, 1948 - 1949'. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 102c :137-197 [Details]
(2001) 'Trade and communication networks in Early Historic Ireland'
Comber, M. (2001) 'Trade and communication networks in Early Historic Ireland'. Journal of Irish Archaeology, 10 :73-92 [Details]
(1998) '1998 Galway, February 1998'
Comber, M. (1998) '1998 Galway, February 1998'. Proceedings of the Association of Young Irish Archaeologists Annual Conference, [Details]
(1998) 'Maree in the Early Historic Period, Galway'
Comber, M. (1998) 'Maree in the Early Historic Period, Galway'. Calling the Roll - Maree/Tawin National Schools Reunion, :5-9 [Details]
(1998) 'The Position of the Smith in Early Historic Ireland and the Implications for Garranes Ringfort, Co Cork'
Comber, M. (1998) 'The Position of the Smith in Early Historic Ireland and the Implications for Garranes Ringfort, Co Cork'. Proceedings of the Association of Young Irish Archaeologists Annual Conference, :5-16 [Details]
(1997) 'Lagore Crannóg and Non-ferrous Metalworking in Early Historic Ireland'
Comber, M. (1997) 'Lagore Crannóg and Non-ferrous Metalworking in Early Historic Ireland'. Journal of Irish Archaeology, 7 :101-114 [Details]

Books

  Year Publication
(2008) The Economy of the Ringfort and Contemporary Settlement in Early Medieval Ireland 1773, Oxford. BAR International Series.
Comber, M. (2008) The Economy of the Ringfort and Contemporary Settlement in Early Medieval Ireland 1773, Oxford. BAR International Series. Oxford [Details]
(2004) Native Evidence of Non-ferrous Metalworking in Early Historic Ireland 1296, Oxford. BAR International Series.
Comber, M. (2004) Native Evidence of Non-ferrous Metalworking in Early Historic Ireland 1296, Oxford. BAR International Series. Oxford [Details]

Book Chapters

  Year Publication
(2012) 'Contributions to Hull and Taylor '
Comber,M. (2012) 'Contributions to Hull and Taylor ' In: The Archaeology of the N18 Ennis Bypass and N85 Western Relief Road, Co Clare. Dublin: NRA Monograph Series. [Details]
(2009) '‘Beara in the first millennium AD’ and other contributions'
Comber,M. (2009) '‘Beara in the first millennium AD’ and other contributions' In: Local Worlds Cork. Collins Press. [Details]
(2004) 'The Early Medieval Mine'
O'Brien, W. (2004) 'The Early Medieval Mine' In: Ross Island. Mining, Metal and Society in Early Ireland. Galway: Archaeology, NUI Galway. [Details]

Published Reports

  Year Publication
(2008) Burren Landscape and Settlement - An INSTAR Project.
Comber, M. and C. Jones (eds.) (2008) Burren Landscape and Settlement - An INSTAR Project. The Heritage Council, Kilkenny. [Details]

Edited Books

  Year Publication
(2008) The Archaeology of Life and Death in the Boyne Floodplain.
Comber, M (Ed.). (2008) The Archaeology of Life and Death in the Boyne Floodplain The Archaeology of Life and Death in the Boyne Floodplain. Dublin: NRA. [Details]

Other Journals

  Year Publication
(2011) ''Caherconnell, Co. Clare - A cashel of continuous use?''
Comber, M. (2011) ''Caherconnell, Co. Clare - A cashel of continuous use?'' The Other Clare, 35 :20-25. [Details]
(2011) ''Archaeological Excavations at Caherconnell.''
Comber, M. (2011) ''Archaeological Excavations at Caherconnell.'' Burren Insight, (3) :25-26. [Details]

Conference Contributions

  Year Publication
(2013) Revealing the Past,
Comber, M. (2013) Public seminar. [Invited Paper], Revealing the Past, Royal Irish Academy, Dublin , 12-NOV-13 - 12-NOV-13. [Details]
(2013) Society of American Archaeologists annual conference,
Comber, M. (2013) Annual, international, conference. [Conference Paper], Society of American Archaeologists annual conference, Honolulu, Hawaii , 17-APR-13 - 21-APR-13. [Details]
(2013) Early Medieval Defended Communities Across Europe,
Comber, M. (2013) International conference, opening paper. [Invited Lecture], Early Medieval Defended Communities Across Europe, Oxford University, England , 15-FEB-13 - 17-FEB-13. [Details]
(2013) Space and Place,
Comber, M. (2013) Annual conference. [Invited Paper], Space and Place, Trinity College Dublin , 10-MAY-13 - 12-MAY-13. [Details]
(2010) Early Medieval Archaeology Project conference,
Comber, M. (2010) Project-related conference. [Invited Lecture], Early Medieval Archaeology Project conference, UCD , 26-NOV-10 - 28-NOV-10. [Details]
(2009) History of roads in Ireland,
Comber, M. (2009) One-day conference. [Conference Paper], History of roads in Ireland, Lismullin, Co. Meath , 25-SEP-09 - 25-SEP-09. [Details]
(2008) Burren Landscape and Settlement seminar,
Comber, M. (2008) One-day seminar. [Conference Paper], Burren Landscape and Settlement seminar, Galway , 26-NOV-08 - 26-NOV-08. [Details]
(2008) Burren INSTAR conference,
Comber, M. (2008) Project-related conference. [Conference Paper], Burren INSTAR conference, Ballyvaughan School of Art, Clare , 05-DEC-08 - 06-DEC-08. [Details]
(2007) Archaeology Grants Research Scheme 1997 - 2007,
Comber, M. (2007) One-day seminar. [Conference Paper], Archaeology Grants Research Scheme 1997 - 2007, Royal Society of Antiquaries, Dublin , 04-DEC-07 - 04-DEC-07. [Details]
(2006) Beltany Conference, Co. Donegal,
Comber, M. (2006) Annual conference. [Conference Paper], Beltany Conference, Co. Donegal, Donegal , 19-OCT-06 - 22-OCT-06. [Details]
(2003) Early Settlement and Society in Southwest Ireland,
Comber, M. (2003) One-day conference. [Conference Paper], Early Settlement and Society in Southwest Ireland, Galway , 20-FEB-03 - 20-FEB-03. [Details]
(1998) Association of Young Irish Archaeologists,
Comber, M. (1998) Annual conference. [Conference Paper], Association of Young Irish Archaeologists, Galway , 01-MAY-98 - 03-MAY-98. [Details]
(1996) Association of Young Irish Archaeologists,
Comber, M. (1996) Annual Conference. [Conference Paper], Association of Young Irish Archaeologists, Belfast , 05-APR-96 - 07-APR-96. [Details]

Book Review

  Year Publication
(2014) From Chiefdom to State in Early Ireland, by Blair Gibson.
Comber, M. (2014) From Chiefdom to State in Early Ireland, by Blair Gibson. Book Review [Details]
(2013) The March in the Islands of the Medieval West. Edited by Jenifer Ní Ghrádaigh & Emmett O’Byrne.
Comber, M. (2013) The March in the Islands of the Medieval West. Edited by Jenifer Ní Ghrádaigh & Emmett O’Byrne. Book Review [Details]
(2005) Roman Ireland by Vittorio Di Martino.
Comber, M. (2005) Roman Ireland by Vittorio Di Martino. Book Review [Details]
(2005) A Celebration of Sligo: First Essays for Sligo Field Club.
Comber, M. (2005) A Celebration of Sligo: First Essays for Sligo Field Club. Galway: Book Review [Details]

Conference Paper

  Year Publication
(2010) The Landscape of Early Medieval Settlement - as preserved in the Burren region of western Ireland. Early Medieval Archaeology Project conference.
Comber, M. (2010) The Landscape of Early Medieval Settlement - as preserved in the Burren region of western Ireland. Early Medieval Archaeology Project conference. University College Dublin: Conference Paper [Details]
(2000) Early Medieval trade. Seminar given (Spring 2000).
Comber, M. (2000) Early Medieval trade. Seminar given (Spring 2000). University of Glasgow, Scotland: Conference Paper [Details]
(1996) Non-ferrous metalworking in Early Historic Ireland, and Garranes ringfort and the status of the smith . Lectures given at the Association of Young Irish Archaeologists annual conference, Belfast (1996) and Galway (1998).
Comber, M. (1996) Non-ferrous metalworking in Early Historic Ireland, and Garranes ringfort and the status of the smith . Lectures given at the Association of Young Irish Archaeologists annual conference, Belfast (1996) and Galway (1998). Belfast (1996); Galway (1998): Conference Paper [Details]

Other Item

  Year Publication
(2015) Caherconnell Archaeological Project. Summary of Fieldwork to date.
Comber, M. (2015) Caherconnell Archaeological Project. Summary of Fieldwork to date. Clare: Other Item [Details]
(2014) Caherconnell Archaeological Project. Summary of Fieldwork to date.
Comber, M. (2014) Caherconnell Archaeological Project. Summary of Fieldwork to date. Clare: Other Item [Details]
(2012) Caherconnell Archaeological Project. Summary of Fieldwork to date.
Comber, M. (2012) Caherconnell Archaeological Project. Summary of Fieldwork to date. Clare: Other Item [Details]

Non Published Reports

  Year Publication
(2008) Ringforts and the settlement landscape of the Burren in the first millennium AD 3 volumes . Reports submitted to the Heritage Council of Ireland.
Comber, M. (2008) Ringforts and the settlement landscape of the Burren in the first millennium AD 3 volumes . Reports submitted to the Heritage Council of Ireland. Non Published Reports [Details]
(2008) Burren Landscape and Settlement Heritage Council of Ireland, Unpublished INSTAR report.
Jones, C. (2008) Burren Landscape and Settlement Heritage Council of Ireland, Unpublished INSTAR report. Non Published Reports [Details]

Reviews

  Year Publication
(2005) A Celebration of Sligo: First Essays for Sligo Field Club, edited by Martin Timoney . Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society.
Comber, M. (2005) A Celebration of Sligo: First Essays for Sligo Field Club, edited by Martin Timoney . Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. Reviews [Details]
(2005) Roman Ireland by Vittorio Di Martino . Irish Studies Review.
Comber, M. (2005) Roman Ireland by Vittorio Di Martino . Irish Studies Review. Reviews [Details]

Workshops

  Year Publication
(2009) Ringfort Landscapes - living in the Burren in the first millennium AD. Lecture given to Burren Beo Trust.
Comber, M. (2009) Ringfort Landscapes - living in the Burren in the first millennium AD. Lecture given to Burren Beo Trust. Kinvara,Galway: Workshops [Details]
(2009) The road less travelled? The Archaeology of Movement in Early Medieval Ireland, 5th - 12th century AD. Seminar Paper on Roads.
Comber, M. (2009) The road less travelled? The Archaeology of Movement in Early Medieval Ireland, 5th - 12th century AD. Seminar Paper on Roads. Lismullin, Meath: Workshops [Details]
(2009) The Archaeology of Ireland’s ‘Golden Age’. Lecture given to Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Comber, M. (2009) The Archaeology of Ireland’s ‘Golden Age’. Lecture given to Ancient Order of Hibernians. Denver, Colorado, USA: Workshops [Details]
(2008) Ringforts and their Landscapes in the Burren, Co Clare. Lecture given at Burren INSTAR conference.
Comber, M. (2008) Ringforts and their Landscapes in the Burren, Co Clare. Lecture given at Burren INSTAR conference. Ballyvaughan, Clare: Workshops [Details]
(2008) Ringforts and the Early Medieval landscape of the Burren, Co Clare. Lecture given at Burren Landscape and Settlement seminar, NUI Galway.
Comber, M. (2008) Ringforts and the Early Medieval landscape of the Burren, Co Clare. Lecture given at Burren Landscape and Settlement seminar, NUI Galway. Clare: Workshops [Details]
(2008) Excavations in Caherconnell townland, Burren, Co Clare. Lecture given at Clare County Museum, Ennis.
Comber, M. (2008) Excavations in Caherconnell townland, Burren, Co Clare. Lecture given at Clare County Museum, Ennis. Clare: Workshops [Details]
(2008) Excavations in Caherconnell townland, Burren, Co Clare. Lecture given to NUI Galway Archaeology Society.
Comber, M. (2008) Excavations in Caherconnell townland, Burren, Co Clare. Lecture given to NUI Galway Archaeology Society. Clare: Workshops [Details]
(2008) Excavations at Caherconnell cashel, Burren, Co Clare.
Comber, M. (2008) Excavations at Caherconnell cashel, Burren, Co Clare. Clare: Workshops [Details]
(2007) Ringforts and the Settlement Landscape of the Burren in the First Millennium AD. Lecture given at the Heritage Councils one-day seminar on the Archaeology Grants Research Scheme 1997 - 2007.
Comber, M. (2007) Ringforts and the Settlement Landscape of the Burren in the First Millennium AD. Lecture given at the Heritage Councils one-day seminar on the Archaeology Grants Research Scheme 1997 - 2007. Workshops [Details]
(2007) Excavations at Caherconnell cashel, Burren, Co Clare. Lecture given to Shannon Historical and Archaeological Society.
Comber, M. (2007) Excavations at Caherconnell cashel, Burren, Co Clare. Lecture given to Shannon Historical and Archaeological Society. Clare: Workshops [Details]
(2006) From Druid to Abbot - the metalworker. Lecture given at annual Beltany Conference.
Comber, M. (2006) From Druid to Abbot - the metalworker. Lecture given at annual Beltany Conference. Donegal: Workshops [Details]
(2005) An Introduction to the Archaeology of Ireland . Public Lecture Series NUI.
Comber, M. (2005) An Introduction to the Archaeology of Ireland . Public Lecture Series NUI. Galway: Workshops [Details]
(2004) The Golden Age of Irish Metalwork, production and producers 500-1000AD. Public Lectures at Stonehill College, Boston, the Irish Cultural Centre, Canton, MA, and the Irish-American Heritage Centre.
Comber, M. (2004) The Golden Age of Irish Metalwork, production and producers 500-1000AD. Public Lectures at Stonehill College, Boston, the Irish Cultural Centre, Canton, MA, and the Irish-American Heritage Centre. Chicago: Workshops [Details]
(2004) The Golden Age of Irish Archaeology. Public Lecture Series NUI, Galway (2004, 2006).
Comber, M. (2004) The Golden Age of Irish Archaeology. Public Lecture Series NUI, Galway (2004, 2006). Galway: Workshops [Details]
(2003) Ringforts and the Early Medieval settlement of Beara. Lecture given at one-day seminar on Beara - Early Settlement and Society in Southwest Ireland, NUI Galway.
Comber, M. (2003) Ringforts and the Early Medieval settlement of Beara. Lecture given at one-day seminar on Beara - Early Settlement and Society in Southwest Ireland, NUI Galway. Galway: Workshops [Details]
(2003) . Public lecture given to the Beara Historical and Archaeological Society.
Comber, M. (2003) . Public lecture given to the Beara Historical and Archaeological Society. Castletownbere, Co Cork: Workshops [Details]

Professional Associations

  Association Function From / To
Royal Irish Academy External referee /
Discovery Programme Council member /

Committees

  Committee Function From / To
Discovery Programme Council Committee member, NUI Galway representative. /
Galway County Heritage Forum NUI Galway archaeology representative /

Teaching Interests

Teaching interests include the archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland, its settlement and economy in particular. Also, archaeological fieldwork, material culture, artefact recording, landscape archaeology. Involved in Adult learning and online programme-development and delivery.

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