Excavation & Recording 2 (15 June–10 July 2020)

June 15, 2020
4 weeks
6 Semester Credits or 12 ECTS


Accredited Courses

SS106 + SS107: 12 ECTS / 6 Semester Academic Credits Awarded. Course fees includes tuition, accommodation in our superior, fully equipped self-catering building, materials, local transport, lectures and seminars as well as academic credit.

Dates: 15 June–10 July 2020 (4 Weeks)
Cost: €3750 (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 four-week course is one of our 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.

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 a ringfort, the 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

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