Excavation & Recording 1 (15 June–24 July 2020)

June 15, 2020
6 weeks
9 Semester Credits or 18 ECTS


Achill Field School, Dooagh, Achill Island   View map


Accredited Courses

SS106 + SS107 + SS108: 18 ECTS / 9 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: 15 June–24 Juy 2020 (6 Weeks)
Cost: €4780

Monthly scheduled payments available—contact us for more information.

Dates don’t suit? Contact us directly about tailored course dates. 

Questions About This Course?
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The six-week course is the most extensive training course open to new students at Achill Archaeological Field School. It is ideally suited to students who have a serious interest in learning the skills and methods of field archaeology and who wish to partake in a complete excavation from the very start to the very end. Training is provided on a one to one basis by highly experienced Irish archaeologists and by the end of the course each student will have a detailed knowledge of many aspects of archaeological fieldwork. In addition there will short 1-2 days environmental archaeology courses that  will focus on the different stages of planning an environmental archaeological research project and analysis real world examples. The students will have an opportunity to display their newly found knowledge through a series of practical exercises which include the interpretation of a pollen diagram and the identification of pollen grains and Non Pollen Palynomorphs. By the end of the Module students should be familiar with the different proxies that can be integrated into future projects and how the use of palaeoenvironmental techniques can provide the answers that archaeological evidence by itself is unable to address.

The Excavation:

Our 2020 training excavation will be located at Caraun Point, Achill Island. Caraun Point is a multi-period archaeological complex located on a sand-covered promontory on the northern coast of the island. The complex includes an early medieval ringfort, a medieval enclosure, a post-medieval village, a series of shell middens, and a children’s burial ground. Work in 2020 will focus on the ringfort, village and associated middens.

What the Course Covers:

  • The course provides an intensive introduction to the theory and practice of archaeological excavation, recording and post-excavation analysis. Students will gain hands-on experience at our training dig at Caraun Point.
  • The course includes a weekly lecture on Irish archaeology supplemented by additional evening guest lectures.
  • Students will undertake weekly field trips to some of the spectacular archaeological sites on and around Achill Island. Optional weekend tours to a selection of Ireland’s premier archaeological sites are also open to students.
  • Students will carry out their own study on an aspect of Irish archaeology and prepare a short paper with guidance from the Director of Fieldwork.
  • Students will be afforded the opportunity to participate in the Achill Field School’s public archaeology programme.

Learning outcomes:

This course will enable students to:

  • Understand the theory and practice of archaeological excavation, including the single context recording system, site grid, stratigraphy, and the Harris Matrix.
  • Appropriately excavate an archaeological feature.
  • Carry out archaeological recording including, context sheets, scaled drawings, and photographs.
  • Excavate, retrieve, bag, and record archaeological objects (artefacts and ecofacts).
  • Carry out basic environmental sampling.
  • Understand the process of post-excavation analysis.
  • Digitise site drawings using InkScape.
  • Process archaeological finds. Know the correct procedures for cleaning and labelling artefacts.
  • Outline the basic chronology of Irish archaeology.
  • Identify common archaeological monuments in the landscape, describe their date and function.
  • Determine the various phases of human influence in the Irish landscape.


  • Participation in excavation and lectures 50%
  • 1,500 word essay 25%
  • Weekly MCQ tests 25%

This course is fully accredited by the National University of Ireland, Galway, and students who successfully complete the course will receive 9 Semester Credits or 18 ECTS points

  • SS106: Introduction to Archaeology of Ireland
  • SS107: Archaeological Field Studies
  • SS108: Data Analysis

Questions About This Course?
Please get in touch, we’re here to help and would love to hear from you. Contact Us