Achill Archaeological Field School 2019

Location: Achill Island, MY, IE

Season: April 29, 2019 to August 30, 2019

Session Dates: April 29-May 17; May 20-Aug 9; May 20-July 12; June 3-July 26; May 20-June 28; July 1-August 9; May 20-June 14; July 1-July 26; June17-June 28; July 29-August 9; May 6-June 28; July 1-August 23; August 12-August 30 August 12-August 23; August 12-August 16

Application Deadline: June 26, 2019

Deadline Type: Rolling


Discount for AIA members: Complimentary 1-Day Guided Tour of sites in the Clew Bay area around Westport

Program Type:
Field school, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

National University of Ireland Galway

Project Director:
Eve Campbell, PhD., MIAI.

Project Description:

In 2019, Achill Archaeological Field School will undertake two research excavations at Caraun Point, a multi-period site extending from the Early Medieval to Post Medieval period (AD500-1900).  We offer twelve-, eight-, six-, 4-, and 2-week accredited courses that come with up to 9 Semester Credits/18 ECTS. Our courses cover a full range of excavation, recording techniques, public archaeology, ceramic identification and processing, environmental studies and lab work. 

Caraun Point – April-August 2019

From 29 April until the end of August, we will continue with our exciting new excavation at the multi-period site of Caraun Point, on the northern coast of Achill Island. Caraun Point is a sand-covered peninsula that includes an associated machair landscape jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. It is well-known for its rich archaeological remains, including an early medieval (or earlier) enclosure, a Cillin or children’s burial ground, shell middens and several stone buildings of unknown date eroding out of the sand. The site is covered by deep layers of wind-blown sand that overwhelmed the village, forcing the inhabitants from the site.   In 2018, the site yielded fascinating evidence for life in 18th century Achill. In 2019, we will return to Caraun Point for the full season. Work will involve a detailed instrument survey of the eroding buildings and a section of the extensive nearby shell middens.  Excavations will focus on the houses in the associated deserted village.   Students will also have an opportunity to participate in our public archaeology program. 

Our 2-week, 4-week, 6-week, 8-week and 12-week modular courses come with academic credit (3, 6 and 9 Semester hours), issued by the National University of Ireland, Galway. We also offer our fully accredited popular 8-week Trainee Supervisor course which requires a direct application to the Field School’s Director of Fieldwork. Please see our website for details. Highly structured tuition is combined with weekly lectures and practical assignments that lead the student through various aspects of survey and excavation methodology. Post-excavation data analysis utilises computer-based methods (including AutoCad 2015, GIS, Trimble Workflow and Photoshop CS6) providing students with practical instruction in the preparation, analysis and presentation of digital data generated during the archaeological excavations and surveying exercises. Each week students are taken on a field trip to explore other aspects of the archaeological heritage of Achill Island and an accompanying lecture provides students with a detailed understanding of the chronology of Irish Archaeology, placing the local sites and monuments into the regional and national contexts. We also offer optional 1-day guided tours to historical and archaeological sites in Counties Mayo, Sligo and Galway and a 2-day guided tour of premier sites in the Midlands of Ireland.

Special Offers

For the 2019 season, we have a  number of special offers on our 6-week, 8-week and 12-week accredited courses. Introduce a friend to one of our 12, 8 and 6-weeks accredited excavation courses and get 2 and 1 week free!  Please see:  These offers are for a limited time period, so early booking is advised. 

Achill Archaeological Field School courses are open to all archaeology, anthropology and social science students, aged 17 years and over, looking for a unforgetable summer! We also welcome mature students and people with a genuine interest in archaeology and its methodology. You do not have to be enrolled in a university in order to participate in the Field School.

Period(s) of Occupation: Early to Late Medieval and Post Medieval

Achill Archaeological Field School is located on Achill Island, County Mayo, in the west of Ireland. Established in 1991, the Field School provides hands-on, high quality tuition in excavation and surveying methods through our investigations of Achill Island's fantastic archaeological heritage. In 2019 we will be excavating a multi-period site at Caraun Point on the north west coast of Achill Island on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way. Caraun Point is well-known for its rich archaeological remains that include an early medieval enclosure, a children's burial ground, several shell middens and a deserted village that was occupied until the late eighteenth century. A dedicatory stone with an inscription of AD 1683 suggests a 17th Century date for the stone houses at the site. The excavation will answer some important questions about vernacular settlements and building traditions of Ireland from the late medieval period onwards. Special attention is being given to a number of shell midden sites set within a rare machair landscape at Caraun Point.

Project Size: 1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 Week

Minimum Age: 17 years

Experience Required: None

Room and Board Arrangements:
Superior self-catering (sharing) accommodation in a modern, fully-equipped house with everything supplied except food. Free WiFi available at the Archaeology Centre and in the adjoining accommodation block Located in Dooagh Village, Achill Island beside the Archaeology Centre Cost: €1975 for 2 weeks/€3530 for 4 weeks/€4680 for 6 weeks/€6,240 for 8-weeks/€9,3600 for 12 weeks. Trainee Supervisor 8-weeks €3995. Special offer on 8-week and 12-weeks sessions: We also offer 1-week and 2-week Introductory courses.

Academic Credit:
3-6-9 Semester hours for 2/4/6/8/12 week course credits offered by National University of Ireland Galway. Tuition is Dr. Eve Campbell, Director of Fieldwork, Dr. Theresa McDonald, Senior Archaeologist, Dr. Carla Ferreira, Palynologist, Carolyn Howle, MA. Archaeologist and PhD. Candidate Nick Brannon, Archaeologist and Ceramics expert, Rena Maguire, Archaeological Illustrator .

Contact Information:

Dr. Eve Campbell

Archaeology Centre

Achill Island

County Mayo

F28 HK11


Phone: +353 98 43564

Fax: +353 98 43595

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