Overview: This two-week program provides a practical introduction to the role of crafts and technologies in Ireland through time. Focusing on materiality in the later medieval period, students will actively participate in a range of bespoke experimental archaeology workshops. Through participation on this program students will be equipped with a good understanding of medieval society in general, with a specific focus on the role of technologies and materiality in people’s lives at that time. The program also teaches many ‘life-skills’ such as creativity, problem solving, teamwork, time management, resourcefulness and project design and implementation.

What makes this program unique is its collaboration with a leading archaeological research project – Digging the Lost Town of Carrig. The experimental archaeology program is delivered adjacent an authentic ringwork castle (the Carrick ringwork), within the stunning confines of the Irish National Heritage Park (INHP), an open-air museum, in Wexford, southeast Ireland. This ringwork is on of Ireland’s most important medieval monuments and crucial to the earliest stages of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, being the first Anglo-Norman fortification built in the country in 1169 AD. Archaeological excavations at the site by the IAFS since 2018 show that significant evidence of the site’s medieval history is preserved below the ground – including remnants of a 12th century fort with wooden structures, 13th century stone castle and 14th century hall and chapel. As the archaeologists uncover the history of both the site and buildings the results are communicated in almost ‘live time’ to the experimental archaeology students, underpinning the students experiments with exceptional authenticity and added significance.

The program is delivered by both the IAFS and Dr. Brendan O’Neill of University College Dublin (UCD), one of the world’s leading experimental archaeologists who has worked with UCD’s Centre of Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture (CEAMC) for the last 6 years. Arising from the strengths of the partnership between the IAFS, UCD and the INHP a new initiative, entitled Building the Lost Town of Carrig, was conceived in 2019. In time it is hoped this project will deliver a series of replica buildings, or faux medieval settlement, directly based on the site’s archaeological findings. However, it equally strives to examine medieval technologies and crafts. Dr. Brendan O’Neill is an expert in ancient technologies and materials culture with 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 object as well as appreciate the time, energy and skills needed.

Cancellations: This program is run with our partners the Institute for Field Research (IFR). For their cancellation policy (including for Covid-19) please consult their website.

Course Details 

  • Course Dates: January 4- January 18, 2023
  • Where: Wexford and the Irish National Heritage Park
  • Enrolment Status: Coming Soon… please e-mail info@irishheritageschool.ie to express your interest in this program
  • Including all meals, accommodation, tuition, instruction, equipment, t-shirt and field trips
  • Course Type: Experimental Archaeology
  • Instructors: Dr Brendan O’Neill, Dr Denis Shine
Accredited Program
  • Academic Credit: 3 semester credit units (equivalent to 4.5 quarter units)
  • Cost: *US$2,860 TBC
  • Application Deadline: December 1, 2022 TBC
  • Payment Deadline : December 1, 2022 TBC
Registration Closed