Experimental Archaeology and Materiality of The Medieval Period in Ireland

By December 23, 2018 July 18th, 2019 All Programs, Institute For Field Research Programs

Overview: This program provides a practical introduction to the role of crafts, technologies, and construction techniques in Ireland throughout time. Focusing on both the built environment and materiality, students will actively participate in a range of experimental archaeology workshops. These will focus on how things were made, used and their resulting archaeological signals. Students will be equipped with a general understanding of medieval society, with a specific focus on the role of technologies and materiality in people’s everyday lives. In addition to archaeological knowledge, students will build more general ‘life-skills’ through innovative experiential learning, problem-based learning, peer learning, problem solving, teamwork, time management, and resourcefulness as well as project design and implementation.

What makes this program especially unique is its collaboration with a leading archaeological research project – Digging the Lost Town of Carrig. Students will learn methods in experimental archaeology adjacent to an authentic ringwork castle (the Carrick ringwork) within the confines of the Irish National Heritage Park (INHP) in Wexford, southeast Ireland. This ringwork is one of Ireland’s most important medieval monuments and is crucial to the earliest stages of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, being the first Norman fortification built in the country in 1169 CE/AD. Archaeological excavations at the site by the IAFS have revealed significant evidence of the site’s medieval history – including remnants of a 12th century fort with wooden structures, 13th century stone castle, and 14th century hall and chapel. While students in the experimental archaeology program will not be excavating, they will be actively partnering with the archaeologists and can expect to understand the archaeology intimately. As archaeologists uncover the history of both the site and buildings, the results will be communicated essentially in ‘live time’ to the experimental archaeology students, underpinning their projects with exceptional authenticity and increased significance.

The program, which is run in partnership with the Institute for Field Research, runs from June 6th – June 29th and is led by Dr. Brendan O’Neill of University College Dublin and Dr. Denis Shine of the IAFS. For bookings and further detail see – https://ifrglobal.org/program/ireland-experimental-archaeology. Dr. Brendan O’Neill has worked with University College Dublin’s Centre of Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture (CEAMC) for the last 6 years and is an expert in ancient technologies and materials culture. Dr. O’Neill has experience experimenting in a broad range of materials and techniques including stone tools, ceramic vessels, cast bronze and worked organic materials (such as bone and antler); through his expert tuition you will gain an understanding of the detail involved in crafting any abject as well as appreciate the time, energy and skills needed.

Course Details

  • Course Dates: June 2020
  • Where: Wexford and the Irish National Heritage Park
  • Enrollment Status: OPENING SOON
  • Academic Credit: 2 semester credit units (equivalent to 3 quarter units)
  • Total Cost: US$TBC (including all meals, accommodation, tuition, instruction, equipment and field trips)
  • Course Type: Experimental Archaeology
  • Payment Deadline : TBC
  • Instructors: Dr. Brendan O’Neill, Dr. Denis Shine
  • Apply through the Institute for Field Research – click here