Anthropology Field Schools for MU Students

Choose your summer field school experience for 2024!
We have two field schools on offer for our Maynooth University students next summer.
They are our ‘Field Anthropology’ (AN351) two-week field school and our ‘Forensic Anthropology’ (AN353) one-week field school.
Field Anthropology: Uncovering the Archaeology of Irelands Monastic Midlands
We are excited to continue our two-week field anthropology course, based from Birr, in County Offaly.
This program gives students a hands-on orientation of archaeological techniques and field anthropology, including archaeological survey (total station and/or GPS survey, graveyard recording and architectural survey) photogrammetry and recording skills.
The program is taught from several of Birr’s, and the midlands, most important archaeological monuments and forms part of the larger community-based research project called the ‘Monastic Midlands’. The exact program content changes each season as the ‘Monastic Midlands’ project evolves and new sites are explored.
  • 3rd year MU Anthropology Module – AN351
  • Course Dates: June 9th  – 22nd, 2024
  • Application Deadline: April 26th, 2024
  • Credit: 5 Credits
  • Grading: 60% for your Assignment & 40% for your Journal/Paperwork & Participation.
  • Administrative Fee: €150*
  • Includes: Full tuition including all instruction, workshops, excavation supervision & at least two cultural heritage field trips.
  • *Note: your fee does not include any living expenses / accommodation or any local transport costs (with the exception of field trips).
  • The Process: Just click the ‘Apply Now’ button, fill in the form and pay the course fee. You will then receive an email, confirming everything is done! A reminder email, with further details, will be emailed closer to the start date of the field school.
Forensic Anthropology: Dead Men Do Tell Tales
Our one-week forensic field school is also based in Birr, Co. Offaly.
Students will gain practical burial experience (in a controlled staged environment) and have the opportunity to analyze archaeological skeletal remains during laboratory sessions. The course integrates field excavation and practical laboratory sessions with cultural heritage excursions.
  • 3rd year MU Anthropology Module – AN353
  • Course Dates: June 2nd  – 8th, 2024
  • Application Deadline: April 26th, 2024
  • Credit: 5 Credits
  • Grading: 60% for your Assignment & 40% for your Journal/Paperwork & Participation
  • Administrative Fee: €150*
  • Includes: Full tuition including all instruction, lab sessions, archaeological supervision & cultural heritage field trips.
  • *Note: your fee does not include any living expenses / accommodation or any local transport costs (with the exception of field trips).
  • The Process: Just click the ‘Apply Now’ button, fill in the form and pay the course fee. You will then receive an email, confirming everything is done! A reminder email will be sent closer to the start date of the field school.

What To Bring

Students are provided with all equipment but are still required to bring some basic items, as follows:
  1. Work gloves: gardening gloves suitable for work in wet weather (a textile glove with a rubberized palm).
  2. Work shoes or boots: closed-toe footwear, waterproof that will be comfortable for both walking and kneeling, a hiking style shoe or boot would be suitable. Wellingtons are also suitable for some site work; however if you choose to wear these you may need a pair of trail shoes or similar for field trips etc.
  3. Waterproof outwear: a jacket (with a hood if possible) and pants – Gore-Tex is best (but expensive). You will need something sturdy that will stand up to the wear and tear of everyday use. You can buy waterproof gear locally (if you choose to do this, budget to spend about €60-€70).
  4. Warm layers – wool, fleece, thermal layers – you should bring and wear lots of layers rather than one warm/heavy layer. Bring things that are suitable for outdoor work (i.e. older clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty).
  5. Sunscreen: students should wear an SPF daily to protect against UV exposure and windburn.
  6. Hat: something to keep your head warm. A peaked hat can be useful for shade in summer.
  7. Your own backpacks, as opposed to a handbag, for your lunch, waterproofs, journal etc. We also strongly urge bringing your own thermos, water bottle and lunch box, as shops will not always be readily accessible when on site.
  8. Laptop/tablet: you will require a device on which you can prepare your assignment; this is particularly important for the AN351 course. A smart phone is not suitable for this.

Location & Amenities

The field schools are based in the heritage town of Birr, a handsome and charming town, which was the location at which St Brendan founded his sixth century monastery and is perhaps best known today for Birr Castle.
Our campus in Birr serves as a base for all our course teaching and lab-work, but also acts as a launching pad to investigate several regional monastic and later medieval sites.
Birr town has all modern facilities including a variety of shops, restaurants, coffee shops, supermarkets, swimming pools and gyms, not to mention several good pubs for socializing and live music if you are staying in the town. There is also an AIB and Bank of Ireland and several ATMs.
Staying in the town: There are two hotels, several B & B’s and a number of Airbnb’s for those looking to stay locally for the duration of the course. There are also many regional accommodation providers. The campus, at John’s Hall, is a two-minute walk from the town center, making is easy to ‘have lunch out’ when we are based in the school.
Birr Town is also well located to access a wide range of regional attractions, including the Slieve Bloom Mountains and the Shannon River. For further information on accommodation and attractions near Birr we advise that you look at the ‘Visit Offaly‘ webpage.
Getting to Birr: For those driving free parking is provided adjacent the public library, only a two-minute walk from our campus.
For those wishing to get to Birr by public transport, Kearns Bus operate a private bus service that has several pickup locations in Dublin city and in Maynooth. The journey takes approximately 2hrs 25 mins and tickets should be booked in advance.
If anyone arrives before our 9am start time ‘Emma’s’ coffee shop (five minutes from the school) opens early for those needing a morning coffee.
For exact campus location details, you can see our ‘Contact Us’ page.

Indicative Schedules

Forensic Anthropology Schedule MU Irish Heritage School 2024