Course Overview

Archaeology is the study of past peoples and societies. By understanding how they adapted and changed over time, you as an archaeologist will gain insights into the development of the contemporary world. This programme gives a grounding in a variety of aspects of Irish and European archaeology, stretching from the first arrivals of ancient peoples to the continent to today’s society.

The Higher Diploma in Archaeology is a Level 8 programme, which is a gateway to postgraduate research (MA, MLitt) in Archaeology and to becoming an advocate for heritage in your community. The programme can be taken full time over one year (60 ECTS) or part-time over two years (30 ECTS per year). To be eligible to apply for the Higher Diploma in Archaeology you need a primary degree or equivalent qualification in any area of the arts, sciences, engineering, etc.

This Higher Diploma equips the student with core knowledge in aspects of prehistoric, medieval and modern Irish and European archaeology. It also develops first-stage archaeological research skills
in order to position the student to conduct independent research and provides a basis for entry to higher-level postgraduate degree programmes. The structure and content of the programme may suit
those interested in changing career direction and especially mature students who wish to enter the postgraduate sector and require a flexible schedule.

To view the Discipline of Archaeology website please click HERE.

Scholarships available
Find out about our Postgraduate Scholarships here.

Applications and Selections

Applications are made online via the NUI Galway Postgraduate Applications System

Who Teaches this Course

  • Dr Stefan Bergh 
  • Dr Michelle Comber 
  • Prof Elizabeth Fitzpatrick 
  • Dr Carleton Jones  
  • Mr Conor Newman 
  • Dr Kieran O'Conor 
  • Ms Maggie Ronayne

Requirements and Assessment

Assessment is by continuous assessments, essays and exams.

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

The HDip is open to students with a NQAI Level 7 or Level 8 primary degree in any discipline (other than Archaeology), who wish to acquire an academic qualification in Archaeology. A basic knowledge of and interest in archaeology is desirable. Applicants who do not have the required academic qualifications may also be entitled to apply under the university’s Recognition of Prior Learning Policy.


Additional Requirements

Duration

1 year, full-time | 2 years, part-time

Next start date

September 2021

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

25

Closing Date

You are advised to apply early, which may result in an early offer; see the offer round dates

NFQ level

Mode of study

Taught

ECTS weighting

60

Award

CAO

Course code

1HDA1 (full-time) | 1HDA2 (part-time)

Course Outline

Students will take an approved selection of six modules within the Second and Final Year BA undergraduate programme to the equivalent of 30 ECTS, along with a 10 ECTS module Reading the Past in Practice, and a 20 ECTS dissertation module, Archaeology and Place.  Reading the Past in Practice, and Archaeology and Place, both have fieldwork components. Part-time students will take courses to the equivalent of 30 ECTS in Year 1 and courses to the equivalent of 30 ECTS in Year 2.

The modules on offer include:

  • Hunters and Farmers in Early Europe
  • Interpretation in Archaeology
  • Gaelic Peoples: Identity and Cultural Practice
  • Castles, Colonists and Crannogs 1100–1350
  • Europe in the Bronze Age
  • Public Archaeology

Module details for the full time course

Module details for the part time course

Curriculum Information

Curriculum information relates to the current academic year (in most cases).
Course and module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Glossary of Terms

Credits
You must earn a defined number of credits (aka ECTS) to complete each year of your course. You do this by taking all of its required modules as well as the correct number of optional modules to obtain that year's total number of credits.
Module
An examinable portion of a subject or course, for which you attend lectures and/or tutorials and carry out assignments. E.g. Algebra and Calculus could be modules within the subject Mathematics. Each module has a unique module code eg. MA140.
Optional
A module you may choose to study.
Required
A module that you must study if you choose this course (or subject).
Semester
Most courses have 2 semesters (aka terms) per year.

Year 1 (60 Credits)

Required AR246: Castles, Colonists & Crannogs 1100-1350


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module AR246: "Castles, Colonists & Crannogs 1100-1350" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required AR2102: People, Ritual and Death: Life in Early Prehistoric Europe


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This course focuses on a critical understanding of daily life in Europe during the Mesolithic and Neolithic periods. c. 10 000 BC to c. 2000 BC. The course introduces evidence from various parts of the European continent to create a context for the understanding of people’s lives in early prehistoric Ireland. One aspect of the course is to understand the reasons for the varied subsistence patterns, their development and change in different parts of Europe. Another central aspect is to critically examine the role of ritual in people’s daily life and its material expression in the treatment of the dead. The societal meaning and function of large scale monument-building that develops in the Neolithic forms another important part of the course. A theme running through the course is the focus on the interplay between social, ritual and subsistence aspects of life within people’s daily routine. The course is structured thematically illustrating the above aspects by using case studies from a wide range of chronological and geographical contexts within Europe.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Critically interpret the evidence for the development of prehistoric communities and societies in Europe
  2. Discuss the evidence for the development of prehistoric societies in Ireland in a wider context
  3. Demonstrate critical understanding of the nature of prehistoric evidence, its chronology and classification including awareness of problems in the use of classification tools
  4. Recognise selected key artefacts and site types from the relevant periods in Europe
  5. Interpret the interplay between ritual and daily life in prehistoric societies
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "Britain Begins" by Cunliffe
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
  2. "Prehistoric Britain" by Darvill, T
    Publisher: Routledge
  3. "Stone Age studies in post-glacial Europe" by Randsborg, K
    Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
  4. "Europe in the Neolithic.The creation of new worlds" by Whittle, A
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  5. "Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland" by Waddell, J.
    Publisher: Wordwell
  6. "The megalithic monuments of Britain and Ireland" by Scarre, C.
    Publisher: Thames and Hudson
  7. "The Significance of Monuments" by Bradley, R.
    Publisher: Routledge
The above information outlines module AR2102: "People, Ritual and Death: Life in Early Prehistoric Europe" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required AR343: Public Archaeology


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module AR343: "Public Archaeology" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required AR3100: Metal, Warfare, and Chiefdoms - The Bronze Age Roots of European Civilization


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This course focuses on investigating the types of societies that occupied Europe in the Bronze Age. A range of themes will be addressed including patterns of production, exchange and interaction, the exceptional social and economic developments in the Aegean region, the role of warfare, and patterns of metalwork deposition and hoarding. Following these thematic treatments, we will investigate the nature of Bronze Age societies by focusing on how the concept of ‘chiefdoms’ has been developed and used by anthropologists and archaeologists. This will involve a close look at some Polynesian chiefdoms that have been used as interpretive models to help understand Bronze Age European societies and specific European case studies focusing on Wessex in England, Denmark, and the Munster region in Ireland.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Summarise and critique the salient points of a piece of archaeological writing
  2. Critically assess the merits and demerits of various explanatory models and theories put forward regarding the nature of societies in Bronze Age Europe
  3. Compose an organized, logical argument
  4. Discuss how ethnographic-based models of chiefdoms have been used by archaeologists to model European Bronze Age societies
  5. Demonstrate a developed understanding of the international context of the Irish Bronze Age
  6. Apply knowledge of key international archaeological issues and sites
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "Prehistoric Europe" by Timothy Champion... [et al.]
    ISBN: 0121675521.
    Publisher: London ; Academic Press, c1984.
    Chapters: 6, 7
  2. "The Oxford illustrated prehistory of Europe" by edited by Barry Cunliffe
    ISBN: 0198143850.
    Publisher: Oxford ; Oxford University Press, 1994.
    Chapters: 5, 6, 7, 9
  3. "Symbols of Power at the Time of Stonehenge." by Clarke, D., T. Cowie, A. Foxon (eds.)
    Publisher: National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland
    Chapters: 4
The above information outlines module AR3100: "Metal, Warfare, and Chiefdoms - The Bronze Age Roots of European Civilization" and is valid from 2016 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required AR338: Explaining Prehistory - Current Research Trends


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module AR338: "Explaining Prehistory - Current Research Trends" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required AR5100: Archaeology and Mythical Landscapes of Atlantic Ireland


Semester 2 | Credits: 10

This field-based module explores the interplay between myth, legend and landscape in Atlantic Ireland. It introduces the student to the archaeologies and topographies of some of the landscapes that were the settings for tales in the four major cycles of early Irish literary tradition, with a special focus on the Connacht landscapes associated with tales from the Mythological Cycle, the Ulster Cycle and the Fenian Cycle. Among these are the extensive cliff-top fort of Dún Aonghasa, the mythical abode of the Fir Bolg, perched at the edge of sea cliffs on Inis Mór, Aran Islands; Crúachan and Carn Fraoich in County Roscommon and their associations with the mythical King Ailill and Queen Medb and the warrior Fraoch; The Caves of Kesh at Keshcorran and the Otherworld encounters of Finn mac Cumaill, and Queen Meabh's Cairn on the summit of Knocknarea, County Sligo. The module, which incorporates the results of archaeological surveys and excavations in these landscapes, will discuss how monuments and their settings became mnemonic pegs for tales and how they themselves may also have been the very sources of the tales.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Describe the archaeology of some of the renowned landscapes associated with myths and legends in Atlantic Ireland.
  2. Discuss the range of ritual and funerary monuments that generally constitute ‘mythical’ landscapes and how they were perceived in the medieval mind.
  3. Evaluate the influence of prehistoric archaeological landscapes on the generation and maintenance of stories about the gods and mortals in early Irish tradition.
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "When they Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth." by E.J.W. Barber
    Publisher: Princeton UP
  2. "Landscape of the Monuments: A Study of the Passage Tombs in the Cuil Irra Region" by S. Bergh
    ISBN: 9171929452.
    Publisher: Arkeologiska undersokningar, Skrifter nr 6
  3. "Memory, Myth and Long-Term Landscape Inhabitation" by A.M. Chadwick & C. Gibson
    Publisher: Oxbow
  4. "The Western Stone Forts Project: Excavations at Dún Aonghasa and Dún Eoghanachta" by Claire Cotter
    ISBN: 9781905569694.
  5. "Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe." by M. Egeler
    Publisher: Brepols
  6. "The Táin" by Thomas Kinsella,Louis Le Brocquy
    ISBN: 0192803735.
    Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  7. "Dictionary of Celtic Mythology" by James MacKillop
    ISBN: 0198691572.
    Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  8. "The Wisdom of the Outlaw: The Boyhood Deeds of Finn in Gaelic Narrative Tradition." by J.F. Nagy
    ISBN: 0520052846.
    Publisher: U of California Press
  9. "Coire Sois, The Cauldron of Knowledge" by Tomas O Cathasaigh,Matthieu Boyd
    ISBN: 9780268037369.
    Publisher: U of Notre Dame Press
  10. "Early Irish History and Mythology" by T.F. O'Rahilly
    Publisher: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
  11. "Archaeology and Celtic Myth" by John Waddell
    ISBN: 184682494X.
    Publisher: Four Courts PressLtd
  12. "Rathcroghan. Archaeologiacl and Geophysical Survey in a Ritual Landscape" by J. Waddell, J. Fenwick, K. barton
    ISBN: 9781905569311.
    Publisher: Wordwell
  13. "The Burren and the Aran Islands" by Carleton Jones
    ISBN: 1903464617.
    Publisher: Collins Pr
  14. "An introduction to early Irish literature" by Muireann Ní Bhrolcháin
    ISBN: 9781846821769.
    Publisher: Four Courts Pr Ltd
The above information outlines module AR5100: "Archaeology and Mythical Landscapes of Atlantic Ireland" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required AR337: Gaelic Peoples - Identity and Cultural Practices


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module AR337: "Gaelic Peoples - Identity and Cultural Practices" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required AR236: Interpretation in Archaeology


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module AR236: "Interpretation in Archaeology" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required AR245: Archaeology in Practice


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module AR245: "Archaeology in Practice" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Required AR325: Minor Dissertation


Semester 2 | Credits: 5

Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Research (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
The above information outlines module AR325: "Minor Dissertation" and is valid from 2014 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional AR2101: Early Kingship: From Chaos to Cosmos


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

Cult centres and ‘royal’ complexes like Tara, Emain and Cruachain are where early kingship found expression in religion, politics and the sword in pre-Norman Ireland. The landscapes associated with these special, sacral kings were probably perceived and designed as analogues of the cosmos, and all of them were culturally enriched with monuments, mythology, history, legends and placenames. This course investigates how such landscapes evolved over time, how ancient monuments were combined with new ones, and how monuments and topographical formations were marshalled into cultural landscapes through toponomy (placenaming), totemism, mythology and history.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Discuss the evolution of kingship and the sacralisation of ‘royal’ landscapes in early Ireland, from prehistory to the early medieval period
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the landscape concept in archaeology
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how archaeologists formulate a coherent research design from fieldwork strategies to interpretation and dissemination
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "The kingship and landscape of Tara" by Bhreathnach, E. (ed.)
  2. "Landscapes of cult and kingship" by Schot, R., Newman, C. & Bhreathnach, E. (eds)
  3. "Introduction: the character of kingship in The character of kingship" by Quigley, D. (ed)
  4. "The prehistoric archaeology of Ireland" by Waddell, J.
    Chapters: 9
  5. "Tara" by n/a
    Publisher: Royal Irish Academy
  6. "!!!Book Not Found" by n/a
    ISBN: 0337083619.
  7. "Rathcroghan. Archaeological and Geophysical Survey in a ritual landscape" by J. Waddell, J. Fenwick, K, Barton
    ISBN: 9781905569311.
    Publisher: Wordwell
  8. "Archaeology and Celtic Myth" by John Waddell
    ISBN: 9781846824944.
    Publisher: Four Courts PressLtd
The above information outlines module AR2101: "Early Kingship: From Chaos to Cosmos" and is valid from 2018 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional AR250: Sacred Places and Christian Buildings in Medieval Ireland


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module presents and discusses places in the Irish landscape where Christian foundations were established during the medieval period. Focussing on particular themes, it addresses some of the reasons why particular places became the focus of Christian saintly cults and how they developed and changed through time. An appreciation of the styles and influences in Irish ecclesiastical buildings and in architectural and portable sculpture to c.1200 AD is integral to this study and treated in relation to the major movements, such as Romanesque, in British and Continental European church architecture.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Appraise the dialogue between the Pagan and Christian worlds of medieval Ireland
  2. Describe what constitutes a ‘meaningful’ place in a medieval Irish Christianised landscape
  3. Account for the key developments in Irish medieval ecclesiastical buildings in a European context
  4. Read and record the fabric of church buildings, architectural sculpture and ecclesiastical art objects
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "Ireland and Europe in the twelfth century: reform and renewal" by Bracken, D. and Ó Riain-Raedel, D. (eds)
  2. "The parish in medieval and early modern Ireland" by FitzPatrick, E. and Gillespie, R. (eds)
  3. "Illaunloughan Island: an early medieval monastery in County Kerry" by Marshall, J.M. and Walsh, C.
  4. "Churches in early medieval Ireland: architecture, ritual and memory" by Ó Carragáin, T.
    Publisher: Yale University Press
  5. "Inishmurray: monks and pilgrims in an Atlantic landscape. volume 1: survey and excavations 1997-2000" by Ó Carragáin, T. And O' Sullivan, J.
  6. "Romanesque Ireland: architecture and ideology in the twelfth century" by O’Keeffe, T.
  7. "Sacral Geographies: Saints, Shrines, and Territory in Medieval Ireland" by Overbey, K.
    Publisher: Brepols
The above information outlines module AR250: "Sacred Places and Christian Buildings in Medieval Ireland" and is valid from 2015 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Optional TI254: Space, Place and the Irish Landscape


Semester 1 | Credits: 5

This module aims to critically explore the historical and contemporary complexities of Irish culture, place and landscape through select case-studies, thematic and/or locational, and through a range of theoretical concerns from both Archaeology and Geography. The module engages the key challenge of carefully contextualising and historicising understandings of landscape, heritage and environment, and exploring urgent contemporary questions of landscape/environment sustainability, governmentality and management. The module will provide an introduction to the various ways in which human societies interact(ed) with their environment, and will be able to provide both chronological depth and thematically-specific case-study knowledge of key sites and spaces across the island of Ireland. Particular attention too will be given to the range of competing discourses on issues of environment, landscape and development in both rural and urban Ireland and their implications for communities in the present and the future. Some of the case studies will be able to provide a long term trajectory of developments (in rural landscapes, urbanisation etc.), while others may choose to focus on other aspects of the physical or social environment.
(Language of instruction: English)

Learning Outcomes
  1. Engage with the history of landscape through many different materialities.
  2. Differentiate between different sensory engagements that combine to make landscapes.
  3. Understand and critically engage with the constructed nature of landscapes through history.
  4. Analyse policies at a range of scales that impact upon the construction and maintenance of landscapes.
  5. Critically review the uses to which landscapes are being deployed in contemporary society.
  6. Appreciate aesthetic qualities emanating from landscapes.
Assessments

This module's usual assessment procedures, outlined below, may be affected by COVID-19 countermeasures. Current students should check Blackboard for up-to-date assessment information.

  • Continuous Assessment (100%)
Module Director
Lecturers / Tutors
Reading List
  1. "The Construction off Heritage" by Brett, David
    Publisher: Cork University Press
  2. "Representing Place. Landscape, Painting, Maps." by Casey, Edward
    Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  3. "The Iconography of Landscape" by Cosgrove, Denis and Daniels, Stephen (Eds.)
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  4. "Landscape" by Wylie, John
    Publisher: Routledge
The above information outlines module TI254: "Space, Place and the Irish Landscape" and is valid from 2020 onwards.
Note: Module offerings and details may be subject to change.

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

Graduates have found employment in various areas in the state sector and in the heritage and tourism sectors. Others have taken the course to continue their studies to Master’s level or through doctoral research.

 

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes

 

Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€6,330 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Tuition

€6,106 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Student levy

€224 p.a. 2020/21

Fees: Non EU

€16,900 p.a. 2021/22

Please note:  The fee payable by EU students is listed under "Fees: EU".  This field is the sum of the student levy + tuition.  Fees are payable each year and are subject to change year-on year.

Full time Postgraduate students in receipt of a SUSI grant—please note an F4 grant is where SUSI will pay €2,000 towards your tuition.  You will be liable for the remainder of the total fee.  An F5 grant is where SUSI will pay TUITION up to a maximum of €6,270.  SUSI will not cover the student levy of €224. 

Postgraduate fee breakdown = tuition (EU or NON EU) + student levy as outlined above.

Find out More

Maggie Ronayne
T: +353 91 492 670
E: maggie.ronayne@nuigalway.ie

Quick Links

 

 

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Downloads

  • Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021

    Postgraduate Taught Prospectus 2021 PDF (11.3MB)