Achill Archaeological Field School 2018

Location: Achill Island, Mayo, Ireland

May 7, 2018 to September 7, 2018

Session dates: 
May 7-June 29; May 21-June 29; May 21-June 15; June 18-June 29; July 2-July 27; July 2-August 10; July 30-August 10; July 2-August 24; July 6-August 14; August 17 - 28 August 27 - Sept 7

Application Deadline: 
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Monday, July 2, 2018
Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Deadline Type: 

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

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



National University of Ireland Galway

Project Director:

Eve Campbell, PhD., MIAI.

Project Description

Achill Archaeological Field School is located on Achill Island, County Mayo, in the west of Ireland. Establised in 1991, the Field School provides hands-on, high quality tuition in excavation and surveying through our investigations of Achill Island's fantastic archaeological heritage. Our projects have so far examined three 19th century houses, a 18th century Manor House, a Late Medieval Tower House Castle, an Early Medieval Kiln complex, two Middle Bronze Age Roundhouses and an extensive prehistoric field system. In 2018, Achill Archaeological Field School will undertake two research excavations at Keem Bat and Caraun Point.

Keem Bay - May & June 2018

Keem Bay is the site of a deserted village of unknown date, located on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way.  This summer, we will carry out a detailed survey of the oldest part of  settlement, followed by excavation of one of the houses.   This research will provide an unparalleled glimpse into everyday life in pre-Famine Ireland, and we anticipate will offer a significant challenge to popular perceptions of the period. 

Caraun Point - July & August 2018

In July and August, we will begin an exciting new excavation at Caraun Point, on the northern coast of Achill Island. Caraun Point is a sand-covered peninsula and assocaited 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 that overwhelmed the village, forcing the inhabitants from the site.   In 2018, we will excavate one of the eroding buildings and a section of a nearby shell middens.  

Our 2-week, 4-week and 6-week modular courses come with academic credit (3, 6 and 9 Semester hours), issued by the National University of Ireland, Galway. 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. 

2018 Scholarship

We are offering a $2,000 scholarship for any of our 6-week or 12-week accredited courses. The bursaries which can be offset against course fees, aim to support students in their field school journey of discovery.  Applicants for the scholarship must in the first instance enrol in one of the courses mentioned above, follwed by submission of their CV and a 500 word essay outlining why they wish to study at the AAFS.  Students must complete enrolment by Aprl 30 2018.  Applications should be sent to: with subject title 'Scholarship'. 

Achill Archaeological Field School courses are open to all archaeology or anthropology 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

1. Keem Bay. A Late Medieval house is located within a deserted village that originally comprised 41 houses and associated field systems. Nearby is a Penal Altar and Ogham stones were found on the banks of the Bunowna River which runs west of the site. 2. Caraun Point. A dedicatory stone with an inscription of AD 1683 suggests a 17th Century date for the stone houses.The excavation will answer some important questions about vernacular settlements and building traditions of Ireland.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 Week

Minimum age: 
17 years

Experience required: 

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 beside the Archaeology Centre

€1975 for 2 weeks/€3450 for 4 weeks/€4500 for 6 weeks/€7.800 for 12 weeks Trainee Supervisor 8-weeks €3995

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
National University of Ireland Galway
Number of credits offered 3-6-9 Semester hours for 2/4/6 week course
Dr. Eve Campbell, Director of Fieldwork Dr. Theresa McDonald, Senior Archaeologist Katy McMonagle, MA, Lithics Specialist Carolyn Howle, MA. Archaeologist Nick Brannon, Archaeologist and Ceramics expert Rena Maguire, Archaeological Illustrator


Contact Information
Dr. Eve Campbell
Archaeology Centre
Achill Island
County Mayo
F28 HK11
+353 98 43564
+353 98 43595
Recommended Bibliography: 

McDonald, Theresa, Achill Island: Archaeology, History and Folklore 2006.

Piggot, S. & Powell, T.G.E. 1947. 'Some primitive structures in Achill Island'. Antiquity 28, 19-24.

McDonald, T.  2016. A Guide to Archaeological and Historical Sites on Achill, Achillbeg and the Corraun Peninsula.