Our 2019 program will focus on the multi-period archaeological complex at Caraun Point on the northern coast of Achill Island. Caraun Point is a sand-covered peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. It is well-known for its rich archaeological remains, including an Iron Age/Early Medieval enclosure, a children’s burial ground, several shell middens and an early modern village of stone houses that was inhabited until the end of the eighteenth century. Alone, out of the many field schools operating out of Ireland, the Achill Field School offers students a unique insight into the archaeology of the Early Modern/Post Medieval period AD1650-1900. Participating in the Achill Field School will therefore confer advantage to students working in CRM sites, particularly in North America and indeed in many European countries.
Initial work in 2018 targeted one of the houses at Caraun Point and an associated shell midden, uncovering exciting evidence for life ways in the west of Ireland during the 1700s. As well as a rich shell and faunal assemblage, the excavations yielded several eighteenth-century wine bottles, ceramics, glass beads and a hand-mill. In 2019, we will further investigate the settlement and associated shell middens. Ongoing work at the site will provide a significant insight into community life in the west of Ireland during this dynamic periods as well as contributing to the development of a diachronic picture of settlement in machair sand-dune landscapes on the Atlantic littoral.