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Learn to dig in one of Ireland’s most spectacular archaeological landscapes

Study archaeology abroad for international students

Do you want to learn to dig in one of Ireland’s most spectacular archaeological landscapes? Located on Achill Island off Ireland’s rugged Atlantic coast, the Achill Archaeological Field School is a study abroad experience like no other. From May to September we run excavation and survey courses fully accredited by the National University of Ireland Galway. We offer two- to twelve-week courses with up to 9 Semester Credits or 18 ECTS. Our Excavation and Recording archaeology courses provide a solid grounding in archaeology theory and practice. We provide the best possible hands-on technical and academic training for students from around the world (for a list of schools we have worked with please see our International University List). Our unique Trainee Supervisor Course provides a higher tier of training for more experienced students.

Since 1991 the Field School has been engaged in a diachronic investigation of Achill’s archaeological landscapes, from the remains of the earliest Neolithic settlers to Famine-era vernacular settlements. In 2021, our field school will focus on a settlement of 16 houses at Tamnaghmore, a short walk from our centre in Dooagh. This enigmatic nucleated settlement probably dates to the late/post medieval period (AD1380-1900). It appears on maps dated to 1809 and 1838 but little is known about its period of occupation or abandonment. The houses are relatively large, have some unusual features and are sub-rectangular in shape. We look forward to an exciting project in 2021.

The Field School headquarters is in the Folklife Centre in Dooagh, Achill Island. Our facility includes a computer lab, office space, a lecture hall and library. Students are accommodated next door in our purpose-built self-catering residential block. The School is just 3km away from a noted surfing and wind-surfing beach and overlooked by the spectacular Slievemore and Croaghaun mountains and rugged Minnaun cliffs. Achill is a popular tourist destination, and the summer has a packed festival schedule ranging from the Achill Half Marathon and Dooagh Day to Scoil Acla, an acclaimed traditional music festival, and the Heinrich Böll weekend, in memory of the German Nobel laureate.

Cover of 2020 BrochureNEW! 2020 Brochure
Our 2020 course brochure is now available
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Archaeological Institute of America and ARCHAEOLOGY magazine's Interactive Digs

Since 2014 the work of Achill Archaeological Field School has featured as one of the Interactive Digs covered by the Archaeological Institute of America and ARCHAEOLOGY magazine. Our excavations at Caraun Point in 2019 will continue to feature as an Interactive Dig.
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Why join Achill Field School

The Achill Archaeology Field School was established in 1991 and is highly successful in terms of longevity, innovation and research agenda.

We are a fully accredited Field School of the National University of Ireland Galway, located at a premier tourist resort with a range of outdoor activities as well as festivals, marathons and cultural events.

Our Trainee Supervisor course offers a second tier of training to students who plan a career in archaeology.

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About Us. Who are we?

The Achill Archaeology Field School has celebrated 27 successful years as a Training School for undergraduate and graduate students.

The AAFS supplements field-based learning with weekly field trips to local sites and monuments and provides a series of evening lectures, seminars and conferences.

The school recently completed a major technological upgrade of its facilities to keep pace with recent developments in survey and excavation systems.

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I first attended the Achill Archaeological Field School in 2015 as a student. The experience was so spectacular that I returned in 2016 as a Trainee Supervisor. This experience reaffirmed my love of archaeology, Ireland, and academic pursuits.

They teach each aspect of the field experience and I when offered an opportunity to work as a Supervisor during the summer of 2018, I jumped at it and had a very rewarding experience, so much so that I am planning a return to the AAFS in 2019. Who wants to join me? 

Carolyne Howle,

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