Program cost: €1950
Your program price includes the following
- Full-board accommodation in Wexford town
- Full tuition including all instruction, workshops and excavation/post-excavation supervision
- Two field trips
- Airport shuttles (at fixed times)
- Maynooth University transcripts and credit
** Please note that your costs do not include: any additional living expenses, your flight, cell phones and any local transport costs.
You will take a Maynooth University third-year anthropology class alongside Maynooth University students. This class is designed to help you uncover the archaeology of conquest and colonization.
The Irish Archaeology Field School (IAFS) provides a unique field school opportunity teaching students how to excavate and critically assess an archaeological site within its landscape. We achieve such an understanding by deploying a range of methods that include archaeological survey, archaeological excavation and post-excavation analysis. The diversity of this course allows students to understand the significance of an archaeological site within its heritage setting in general, and that of the medieval landscape of Wexford in particular.
As part of our commitment to attracting a diverse student body Maynooth University is pleased to announce the opportunity to win scholarships up to €350 towards the cost of our summer school.
How does it work?
When you submit your application form here you will be asked to upload a statement (of no more than 500 words) explaining how you represent an under-represented student body and why you are applying to come to our summer school! Best of luck!
When to apply by?
Scholarships are only available to those who complete registration by our early-bird deadline March 15th 2019.
When will you hear?
We will contact recipients within a few weeks after our final application deadline of April 12th 2019.
We look forward to welcoming your application soon!
The Irish National Heritage Park
The Irish National Heritage Park (INHP), an open-air museum which recreates the key stages in Ireland's past. The park is a 35 acre (14 hectares) outdoor museum depicting 9000 years of re-created Irish History situated within natural forestry and wet woodlands. Covering prehistoric through Norman periods, and featuring various buildings and structures typical of each period, the park is a cornerstone of ‘Ireland’s Ancient East’, and provides a stunning backdrop to the archaeological dig.
The Ferrycarrig ringwork is crucial to the earliest stages of the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland, being built in the winter of 1169. At this time, the impressive structure would have comprised a (wooden?) castle set within a large man-made bank/palisade and external ditch, sited on a natural promontory overlooking the River Slaney and Wexford town. Nowadays, the bank and ditch are all that remain above the ground of this hugely important fortification, but archaeological excavations undertaken in the 1980s, and since 2018 by the IAFS showed that significant evidence from this troubled time is preserved below the ground.
Join us in 2019 to participate in a major research dig, which aims to clarify the form, function and date of the ringwork, as well as that of the castle and settlement that subsequently developed at the site. You will learn to critically assess the site within its wider landscape of medieval Wexford, learning skills in archaeological survey, archaeological excavation and post-excavation analysis. The program will be primarily be taught at the excavation site itself but you will also be brought to a number of heritage sites throughout the county.The excavation spearheads a major new heritage initiative being jointly developed by the Irish Archaeology Field School and the Irish National Heritage Park.
Nestled on the estuary of the River Slaney, on the southeast coast of Ireland, Wexford is a fair sized (by Irish standards) friendly and safe town, some 150km south of Dublin. The town is one of the country’s great Viking and medieval townscapes, with intact medieval streetscapes and numerous upstanding archaeological monuments. The town of Wexford is named from the Norse “Waesfiord”, meaning “the inlet of mudflats”, a clear reminder of its Viking Heritage, which dates from the early 9th century CE. Since the Viking period the beautiful port town has been impacted by foreign invaders, sieges, a famous insurrection and the gradual decline of its once crucial maritime industries.
All the relevant local government agencies, are aware of the your presence, and they are anxious to ensure that your stay is safe and enjoyable. Please respect local sensitivities and traditions and to understand that the presence of such a large team of outsiders in the INHP does not entitle participants to any special treatment or privileges.
Although everyone will speak English you should expect surprising cultural differences and exciting opportunities to learn about the lives of others as well. You'll be immersed in Irish culture through learning, language, food and music, and should be prepared for the rewards and challenges that life in a different culture will offer.
One of the most significant historical events to impact Wexford (and Ireland) occurred in May of 1169, when a force of roughly 1100 Norman soldiers, led by Robert Fitz Stephen, Maurice de Prendergast and the recently deposed Irish king of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada, attacked and defeated the Norse-Irish town. Following the capture of Wexford Mac Murchada granted lands, including the Norse town itself, to Robert Fitz Stephen and Maurice Fitz Gerald. In an effort to fortify the region Robert Fitz Stephen built a wooden ‘ringwork’ castle on top of a large rock at Ferrycarrig, directly overlooking a strategic point on the River Slaney (approximately 4km west of the town). This ringwork is the current location of the IAFS investigation.
Situated in Co. Kildare, just over a thirty minute drive from Dublin, Maynooth University is located in the thriving medieval and university town of Maynooth. Maynooth University is Ireland’s newest university but learning has been present on this site from at least the eighteenth century. As such, it is a unique mix of modern spaces and the latest facilities combined with a rich and thriving historical campus.
All students are registered and receive credit and transcripts for AN352, a 7.5 ECTS credit Maynooth University module entitled 'Excavation and Community Archaeology: Constructing Pasts, Places, and Personhood'.
We want students to engage with a live site but also understand how that site sits within its historical and contemporary landscape. Key areas of exploration will be:
Two things to note:
1) we ask all students to hold a GPA of 2.5 or above to participate, and TOEFL 545 (paper based) or IELTS 6.0 (or equivalent) if English is not your first language
2) the module you will be taking – AN352 – is a third year or 300-level module.
Students will be instructed in archaeological excavation and recording techniques – including excavation of archaeological features, documentation of finds, completion of site drawings and record taking of archaeological deposits. During their time on site students will also be provided with instruction in laboratory protocols, working closely with the materials their digging has generated.
A focus will be placed on the cataloguing and remedial conservation of both artefacts and ecofacts, according to standards set by the National Museum of Ireland (NMI). The NMI requires that all finds recovered in archaeological excavations are prepared, and conserved where necessary, according to strict protocols, in advance of submission to the museum. Students are expected to understand these processes, as they are a core component of field excavation.
> Teaching and Learning Methods
Over the two weeks students will complete approximately 80 hours, spread over the following areas: Onsite excavation/practical work; Onsite workshops; Onsite lectures; Field Trips; Self-directed learning.
In total, 60% of the available marks will be allocated during continuous assessment while students are onsite with IAFS (allocated equally for onsite participation [30%] and completion of a field journal [30%]). The remaining 40% will be assessed by examination of a 1,500-word paper, due one week after the completion of the program.
It is important that you understand that this is a summer school with a difference. You will be expected to participate in excavations at the site on a full-time basis Monday to Friday.
This work can be physically strenuous and demanding – we want you to engage both your bodies and your minds!
The field program, while focused on excavation, includes instruction in archaeological post-excavation techniques. The program is primarily based on the Ferrycarrig site, although students will also be brought to a number of regional heritage sites. Site and project orientations will also be conducted at the start of week one.
DISCLAIMER – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
You should be aware that conditions in the field are different than those you experience in your home, dorms or college town. Archaeological fieldwork in Ireland is carried out in all weather conditions – including rain. You are required to provide suitable waterproof and weatherproof clothing and footwear as well as wind protection. However, in bad weather you will also be provided with shelter. Archaeological investigation will include moderately strenuous physical work. Students must be in good physical condition and able to walk three miles a day comfortably.
If you have medical concerns, please discuss them with your doctor. All other concerns may be discussed with the project director – as appropriate. Always pack enough prescribed medication to last the duration of your visit.
Experience life in Ireland as you uncover its past
Our accommodation is all offered on a home-stay basis in rural Wexford county. Living with local families, you will stay with ‘the world’s friendliest’ people and immerse yourself in Irish life. As you'll be guests in their homes we ask you to be respectful and clean and tidy throughout your stay. Your families will drop you to and collect you from site each day.
Our carefully selected and experienced host families offer full board so all your meals are provided (included packed lunches) as are your utilities. Towels and linens are also provided as standard.
Please make sure you let us know about any allergies or dietary needs when you apply so that we can match you to the best home!
We know that you want to get out and see Ireland whilst you are studying. To that end the entire group will go on two field trips where you can visit and learn from some of Ireland’s most magical sites.
Visa and Immigration
US and Canadian citizens do not require a visa for this program but other nationalities should check here.
You will however need to have a passport valid for at least six months after your expected departure date.
You will be asked to submit passport information on the application form – if you do not yet have a passport please upload a photo and make use of the comments section to indicate that you are awaiting a passport.
All participants must have valid medical/health insurance for the duration of the program. This is both a Maynooth University and an immigration requirement.
We strongly recommend that you bring enough prescription medication to last for the duration of the program as some brands/medications may differ in Ireland.
What do I need to bring?
- Work shoes or boots: closed toe-footwear, waterproof that will be comfortable for both walking and kneeling: a hiking style shoe or boot would be suitable. Gumboots/wellingtons are also suitable for use on site however if you choose to wear these for digging, you may need pair of trail shoes or similar for field trips etc.
- Waterproof outwear: a jacket (with a hood if possible) and pants – gortex is best (but expensive). You will need something sturdy that will stand up to wear and tear of everyday use in excavation. You can buy waterproof gear locally in Ireland (if you choose to do this, budget to spend about €50/$70).
- Warm layers: wool, fleece, thermal layers – you should bring and wear lots of layers rather than one warm/heavy layer. Bring things that are suitable for outdoor work. Ireland can experience all ‘seasons in a single day’.
- Sunscreen: students should wear an SPF daily to protect against UV exposure and windburn.
- Hat: something to keep your head protected. A peaked hat can be useful for shade while digging.
- Laptop/tablet: it is advisable to bring a devise to work on, as well as a notebook/journal for taking notes.
All other necessary equipment is provided. A welcome pack, containing a site journal, archaeological trowel, gloves and other items it also given to each student.