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Trainee Supervisor Course

8 Week Course

24th June to 16th August 2024

Dates: 24th June to 16th August 2024
Duration: Eight weeks
Cost: €4,500

Trainee Supervisor Course 2024

For the 17th year the Achill Field School is offering our very popular Trainee Supervisor Course. This 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. It is an exciting course open to students who plan to make a career in archaeology. In 2024 we are offering one session of our eight week Trainee Supervisor Course. The course costs €4,500 all inclusive, with the option of a deferred payment plan.

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.

About the 2024 Dig Site

In 2024, Achill Archaeological Field School will return to Caraun Point for a third season of excavation. The primary focus of the 2024 season will be two drystone houses and a shell midden, some of which may date to the post-medieval period, or earlier. In general, the buildings at Caraun Point post-date the latest horizon of machair (a low-lying, grass-dominated coastal plain composed of calcareous sand, with a very high calcium carbonate content up to c 80%), which began to accumulate c.700 years ago (Halpin 2008, 18) giving them a terminus post quem of c. AD1300. The houses are in a dynamic coastal environment which is constantly evolving due to wind and wave action. Previous excavations on the site recovered a quantity of artefacts that included glass and pottery, along with animal bone and shellfish remains. Analysis of these objects give us an insight into the livelihood and diet of the people who lived here. One unexpected discovery was the presence of a probable Early-Medieval ringfort immediately to the west of our excavation. Habitation deposits associated with this site were evident beneath the post-medieval houses and some artefacts of 8th to 10th century date were recovered. This year’s excavation season looks like it will be fascinating.

Surveying at Caraun Point, Achill Island