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Ceramics in Archaeology

9th to 20th August 2021

SS1110: 6 ECTS / 3 Semester Academic Credits awarded. Course fees include tuition, accommodation in our superior, fully equipped self-catering building, materials, local transport, lectures and seminars as well as academic credit.

Dates: 9th – 20th August 2021
Duration: Two weeks
Cost: €1995

This course is fully accredited by the National University of Ireland, Galway, and students who successfully complete the course will receive 3 Semester Credits or 6 ECTS points.

This module is focused upon the identification, recording and conservation of ceramics from archaeological sites AD1650-1900. The combination of lectures and practical assignments will illustrate the differences between various types of ceramics, practice drawing ceramics for publication and evaluate how interpretation of a ceramic assemblage is influenced by the depositional processes that led to their inclusion in the archaeological record. The first part of the course will see students receiving instruction on the correct handling, cleaning, conservation and identification of a variety of ceramics/sherds. Through a combination of lectures, excavations and workshops, the students will gain knowledge of the differences between various types of ceramics, learn how to draw and illustrate ceramics for publication and evaluate how interpretation of a ceramic assemblage is influenced by the depositional processes that led to its inclusion in the archaeological record. The second part of the course will see students receiving instruction on photographing ceramics, highlighting the problems of taking close-up views of small objects and a variety of solutions that permit good artefact photography using a range of equipment.

At this time we only require an application from prospective students. A firm commitment, in the form of a deposit, will be required when your course is confirmed.

About the 2021 Dig Site

In 2021, the primary focus of work will be the excavation of two drystone houses at Tamnaghmore (translates as great meadow), a small enigmatic settlement, which probably dates to the late/post medieval period (AD1380-1900). Tamnaghmore is a nucleated settlement of 16 unplanned houses running in a linear fashion over 170m of ground at an elevation of 97m asl. The site is located on ground sloping gently south-eastwards, along the left and right banks of the Abhainabhaile (Townland River), which flows in a south easterly direction and enters the sea at Dooagh village. Access to Tamnaghmore from Dooagh is along the banks of this river, following a bog road, a narrow grass-covered track and a glacial ridge to reach the site. There is no visible road/track into the settlement. To the north east is a grass and bog covered linear settlement with an unknown number of houses called Caislean (small stone fort) which may suggest the presence of a Cathair (stone fort) in this area sometime in the remote past. A pollen core taken in 2005 indicated the presence of a deciduous forest in this area during the mid to late Neolithic (Caseldine, C. 2005, 169-178). The settlement 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.
Tawmaghmore dig site, Dooagh, Achill Island
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