Ireland, The Burren

The Irish Fieldschool of Prehistoric Archaeology

when 15 May 2017 - 18 August 2017
language English
duration 14 weeks
credits 6 ECTS
fee EUR 850

Experimental Archaeology and the Material Culture of the Irish Early Bronze Age (1 week)
3 Semester Credits/6 ECTS Credits

This one week course is carried out in the grounds of Craggaunowen open air heritage museum, where we have the use of a reconstructed crannog and fort for our experiments, and a real castle for our office. During our 2017 course we will concentrate on making Early Bronze Age and Chalcolithic objects, daggers, axes, halberds, lithic arrowheads and pottery. Students will learn lost-wax and other bronze casting techniques. All materials are provided and students will be allowed to take a selection of what they make away with them.

Irish Prehistory and the Tombs of the Ancestors (2 weeks)
3 Semester Credits/6 ECTS Credits

During the two week course we teach you how to survey and interpret a monument. In order to place that monument in its context, we also visit some of Ireland’s most-famous prehistoric sites, lesser known gems and the National Museum in Dublin. During the 2017 season, we will focus on Irish megalithic tombs and learn about finds from previous excavations (court tombs, passage tombs, Linkardstown town-type tombs and wedge tombs). The survey element of the course will concentrate on wedge tombs in the Burren, Co. Clare, and will cover drawing, digital photography, photogrammetry, total station survey and 3D modelling. This course includes an overnight trip away to the Boyne valley complex (including Newgrange) in Co. Meath and a trip by boat to the Aran Islands.

Archaeological Excavation and Recording Techniques (4 weeks)
6 Semester Credits/12 ECTS Credits

During the 2017 summer season, the IFPA will excavate a prehistoric wedge tomb, on Roughan Hill, in the Burren, County Clare. The four week excavation and recording course will cover techniques of archaeological excavation, drawing, digital photography, photogrammetry, total station survey, 3D modelling, context recording and environmental sampling. Students are encouraged to engage critically with the interpretation of our findings and will receive evening lectures from visiting specialists. The local limestone geology means that bone preservation on the Burren is outstanding. The remains from the tombs we excavated during 2015 and 2016 were very well preserved and are the subject of ongoing isotopic and DNA analysis. We expect to find human bone in the wedge tomb and students will get first-hand experience of its excavation, recording and analysis.

Students may take courses of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 weeks by combining multiple modules.

Course leader

Dr Carleton Jones and Dr Ros Ó Maoldúin

Target group

Students with an interest in archaeology/anthropology

Course aim

We are the only archaeological field school singularly focused on Ireland's prehistory. We are currently concentrating on Ireland’s megalithic tombs, trying to understand how and why they were built. So far we have excavated two wedge tombs and in 2017 we will dig a third. We will continue to work on Roughan Hill, in the Burren, Co. Clare, where the densest concentration of wedge tombs in Ireland occurs and we hope to find out why it is there.

We offer three courses: a four-week excavation course, a two-week survey course and a one-week experimental archaeology course. It is possible to combine any two or all three courses.

Credits info

6 ECTS
Modules of 6 ECTS Credits/3 US Semester Credits and 12 ECTS / 6 US Semester Credits are available.
Students may take courses of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 weeks by combining multiple modules.

Fee info

EUR 850: 1 week course €850
2 week course €1,650
4 weeks course €3,250
5 weeks course €3,950
6 weeks course €4,500
7 weeks course €5000

Course fees includes tuition, insurance, equipment, accommodation, transport, evening lectures.

Students may take courses of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 weeks by combining multiple modules.