August 3, 2018
Hello! I’m Jilian Bernstein and I am studying towards a combined honours in History and Early Modern Studies with a certificate in Art History at University Kings College in Nova Scotia, but I am from Toronto, Canada. I was originally interested in this field school because I like learning about medieval history and architecture, so the opportunity to study the first Anglo-Norman castle in the country is really exciting.
I was also excited to learn new technical skills in archaeology because I participated in a field school previously, but only focused on digging. Here, I had a more hands-on experience and the opportunity to learn new skills, which was great. I ‘m also interested in the interaction between different cultures in the medieval period through pottery and materials, so it was exciting to understand how these materials are processed from the ground all the way to museums.
A typical day on site really varies. Every morning, our homestay mum drives us to the site and we walk up the hill and chat and work on our notebooks until everyone arrives at 9am. During the day we do a lot of different activities. Sometimes it’s just digging with shovels and mattocks, and other times it’s more careful work with a trowel and hand shovel. We also balance the physical work with lots of planning, reading levels, and photography. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s very rewarding in the end when you or someone else finds something exciting! It’s great working as a team because everything that happens or is discovered, you know that you all helped to contribute towards it.
Other than digging and being on site, there’s many other great things about being in Wexford. My favorite part was my homestay family. It’s been really different living in rural Ireland because at home, you’d just go to the grocery store for all of your food (and you can still do that here!) but my host family makes most of their food themselves. They have chickens, bake their own bread, make their own jam, and pick vegetables from their garden. It’s been a lot of fun for me to eat with them because it’s so different from home. That’s something nice about travelling in general because you realize that there’s other ways of doing things. As a whole, this experience has been really great. Between the great food, digging, and new friends, I’ve definitely had a rewarding 4 weeks in Ireland!