Dr. Andrew Whitefield

B.Sc,MA,PhD

Contact Details

Lecturer
School of Geography, Archaeology & Irish Studies
National University of Ireland, Galway
University Road
Galway
T: +353 91492167
M: andrew.whitefield@nuigalway.ie
Lecturer
T: +353 91492167
E: andrew.whitefield@nuigalway.ie
 
researcher
 

Biography

What makes us represent the past in the way we do? How well does nation work as a key dimension in archaeological research? What is the relationship between archaeology and the scientific disciplines on which it draws so heavily? To what extent do strongly-held pre-convictions influence the outcomes of scientific analyses. To what extent does the weight of disciplinary tradition predetermine the outcomes of archaeological research? These are the questions that underpin my approach to archaeology.



Research Interests

I am especially interested in the legacy of archaeology’s past—how approaches and interpretive models developed in particular past socio-political circumstances are reasserted in the present. Archaeology’s traditional role as a ‘national discipline’, for example, remains an important consideration. Apparently objective scientific approaches are not immune from such distorting influences. Research which supports a nation’s particular view of itself—or at least does not challenge that view—will fit within established paradigms and is more likely to attract (state-sponsored) attention and resources. Working within pre-determined narratives, we find ever more technical means of confirming we were right all along. But when we start with a more critical perspective, some of our fundamental assumptions quickly wither. Often these preconceived ideas say far more about archaeologists than they do about life in the past.
Focusing on the Neolithic, my research has demonstrated the need to challenge disciplinary paradigms and the assumptions that underpin them. Field systems, for example, have long been seen as a feature of the earlier Neolithic in Ireland. No other country in the world has field systems which date to this time. My research has shown that this anomaly is likely to be an artefact of the research methods adopted and the paradigm within which the evidence has been interpreted. The earliest field systems in Ireland almost certainly fall within the established European sequence.
Topics of my research include: the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Chalcolithic in Ireland and Europe; Archaeological Theory, Politics and Historiography; Public Archaeology; Material Culture, Museums and Cultural Tourism; Chronology and Dating Methods; Prehistoric Landscapes and Environment.
Media interest in my research:




Peer Reviewed Journals

  Year Publication
(2017) 'Neolithic ‘Celtic’ Fields? A Reinterpretation of the Chronological Evidence from Céide Fields in North-western Ireland'
Whitefield, A (2017) 'Neolithic ‘Celtic’ Fields? A Reinterpretation of the Chronological Evidence from Céide Fields in North-western Ireland'. European Journal Of Archaeology, 20 (2):257-279 [DOI] [ARAN Link] [Details]

Book Chapters

  Year Publication
(2020) 'Shaky foundations: Romantic nationalism and the development of the 'Irish model' of Neolithic settlement'
Whitefield, A (2020) 'Shaky foundations: Romantic nationalism and the development of the 'Irish model' of Neolithic settlement' In: Houses of the Dead? Neolithic Studies Group Seminar Papers 17. Oxford: Oxbow. [ARAN Link] [Details]

Conference Contributions

  Year Publication
(2020) 2020 Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologogists https://www.e-a-a.org/EAA2020/Programme.aspx?WebsiteKey=4245c0d1-9c0e-4a58-bfa2-906885ad5f28&hkey=e2646dc0-ed23-404c-ad20-24129c9e69c3&Prog,
Andrew Whitefield (2020) NORDIC NETWORKS AND THE VÖLKISCH TURN IN IRISH ARCHAEOLOGY. See video: https://youtu.be/ToGCky7gdkM. [Oral Presentation], 2020 Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologogists https://www.e-a-a.org/EAA2020/Programme.aspx?WebsiteKey=4245c0d1-9c0e-4a58-bfa2-906885ad5f28&hkey=e2646dc0-ed23-404c-ad20-24129c9e69c3&Prog, Virtual Meeting , 26-AUG-20 - 30-AUG-20. [Details]
(2018) Houses of the Dead: https://neolithic.org.uk/meetings/,
Whitefield, A (2018) On the interpretation of Neolithic settlement in Ireland https://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/houses-of-the-dead.html. [Oral Presentation], Houses of the Dead: https://neolithic.org.uk/meetings/, British Museum, London , 05-NOV-18. [Details]
(2015) Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG): https://www.antiquity.ac.uk/TAG,
Whitefield, A (2015) ‘Neolithic societies were not mobile’: rethinking the orthodoxy on settlement and monumentality in Early Neolithic Ireland. [Oral Presentation], Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG): https://www.antiquity.ac.uk/TAG, Bradford, UK , 14-DEC-15 - 16-DEC-15. [Details]

Invited Lectures

  Year Publication
(2018) The contested past: a brief history of Irish archaeology.
Whitefield, A (2018) The contested past: a brief history of Irish archaeology. Invited Lectures [Details]
(2017) The Contention of Tradition: Reframing the Archaeology of the West of Ireland.
Whitefield, A (2017) The Contention of Tradition: Reframing the Archaeology of the West of Ireland. Invited Lectures [Details]
(2017) Back from the Stone Age: The Place of Céide Fields in Irish Prehistory.
Whitefield, A (2017) Back from the Stone Age: The Place of Céide Fields in Irish Prehistory. Invited Lectures [Details]

Letter

  Year Publication
(2017) Fact and opinion.about the Ceide Fields.
Whitefield, A (2017) Fact and opinion.about the Ceide Fields. Dublin: Letter [Details]

Thesis

  Year Publication
(2015) Sustainable change: settlement, environment and the temporality of Neolithic western Ireland.
Whitefield, A (2015) Sustainable change: settlement, environment and the temporality of Neolithic western Ireland. Galway: Thesis [Details]

Teaching Interests

The Origins of Agriculture │Neolithic Ireland and Europe │Mesolithic Ireland and Europe │Public Archaeology │Historic and Prehistoric Landscapes│Archaeological Interpretation │Field Techniques │Archaeological Theory │Archaeological History and Politics │Material Culture │Museums and Cultural Tourism │Chronology and Dating Methods │Academic Writing │Research Methods.

Modules Taught

  Term/Year Module Title Module Code Subject / Desc
2BA Interpretation in Archaeology AR236
1BA Material Culture and Museums AR1104
3BA Public Archaeology AR343
2BA Space, Place and the Irsh Landscape TI254