Trainee Supervisor Course 2021

Two smiling archaeologists

Trainee supervisor course for archaeology students experienced in field work. Selected on merit, students will gain hands-on experience of managing an excavation.

May 17, 2021
8 Weeks


Dooagh, Achill Island, Co. Mayo   View map

We are now accepting applications for our Trainee Supervisor Course 2021. This is an advanced course designed for those with past field school experience.

For the 15th year the Achill Field School is offering our very popular Trainee Supervisor Course which provides a second tier of training for former students of the Field School and for students who have completed at least one field school elsewhere. This is an exciting course open to students who plan to make a career in archaeology. In 2021 we are offering two eight week Trainee Supervisor Courses running from 17th May to 9th July, or from 28th June to 20th August. This course costs €4,250 all inclusive, with the option of a deferred payment plan.

Academic Credit
Former (returning) students who have already received 9 Semester credits will not be eligible to receive further credit from the Trainee Supervisor course. New Trainee Supervisors, who have not previously received academic credit from the Achill Archaeological Field School will qualify for academic credit – this will be discussed with students when applying for this course.

The procedure for being accepted on the Trainee Supervisor Course is different from the application procedures for our other courses. Typically we tend to recruit our Trainee Supervisors from students that have previously attended the field school here. External applicants therefore will need to follow the application procedure listed below, at the end of which we can make a joint decision about whether accepting them would be appropriate.

So as a first stage we would like to receive a CV from you that covers the following points:

  • Previous Experience. A Trainee Supervisor really needs to have a decent grasp of the basic excavation procedures. The basic archaeological skills are adaptable and we can get you up to speed very quickly if you have a good background in excavation techniques. What we are looking for is a good understanding of the universal excavation techniques, perhaps most importantly a firm grasp of planning, section and profile drawing and preparing context sheets.
  • Work Ethic. This position involves a lot of hard work. Whilst the students work an 8 hour day, during different parts of the excavation the Trainee Supervisors, the Senior Supervisor and Director will be working late into the night and even during the weekends. This out of hours work will be undertaken in a really friendly atmosphere and we will have a lot of fun doing it, but when the time comes to start putting in some long hours we will really need you to be there. Similarly on site, you will be expected to lead by example. The students need to be kept energised and happy, even when the weather is poor or the work is hard going. If you are some one who suffers from low energy levels or can’t fake a cheery disposition when you’re not really feeling up to it then it will be hard for you to do this role. The students will take a lot of their lead from you, and we will be relying on you to always be in good form.
  • Amiability. To supervise any group of people you need to have a personality that binds people to you, or you need to develop a persona that allows you to do so. The Trainee Supervisors are at the very heart of the student groups so we need someone who is confident and likeable. A big part of the course is learning how to manage team dynamics, and we can help you learn different ways of doing that, but we can only work with what is there to begin with. If you are shy, or uncommunicative, or nervous, this may not be the right course for you.

The Trainee Supervisor Course is a unique learning experience which builds on the skills gained in the previous year. Candidates are therefore selected on merit and/or when they have demonstrated a good understanding of the basic principals of excavation.

Responsibilities and Training:

The Trainee Supervisors will be responsible for a particular area of the excavation and work with the Director to ensure that the area is correctly excavated and recorded. The Trainee Supervisor will lead a team of students through the process of excavation, and be responsible for maintaining discipline, providing training to the students in the basic skills of excavation, and compiling the site archive for their area of the site. The Trainee Supervisor will then be instructed in the basic post excavation procedures, learning how to prepare the written and drawn records to be placed into a permanent archive, how to write a stratigraphic report and digitise plans in Inkscape, and QGIS.

Applications for the 2021 Trainee Archaeological Supervisor Courses are open.

To apply please email our Director of Fieldwork: [email protected]