Student Notebooks

Blackfriary, Ireland: Mariel

August 5, 2015

Hi! My name is Mariel and I am from Chicago, Illinois. I am currently a student of University of Victoria in British Columbia. I am working on a generic medieval studies degree but I am really interested in manuscript studies. I was googling field school and the ‘IFR’ website popped up. I began scrolling through all their locations and the Blackfriary really stuck out to me. I always wanted to go to Ireland and with my interest in manuscripts a medieval friary fitted in perfectly with my interests.

I have been here for about three weeks and it has been amazing. I have loved living with a local family while working on site. I feel like it has really allowed me to take in the daily life here and appreciate the culture. Besides college credit, I am really looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of medieval friaries and how they worked, their structure. I feel having a more hands on approach help you get a better glimpse in the lives they led. I also would love to be able to excavate a burial.

I love digging and being able to participate in this project is truly amazing. I started working in Cutting 9 excavating a trench that runs north-south and runs along where the west wall of the church would have been. While excavating there I was able to help uncover five flagstones that could have been a base for a column. My team and I also uncovered some stacked stone with mortar on it, possibly changing ideas about where the west wall was originally thought to be. I think that is something that is so cool about archaeology that ideas and theories are ever evolving right as you find new “clues” on site. This past week I have been on the post-ex team. It was raining in the beginning of the week so I washed a lot of animal bone and learned how to properly register everything. There are test trenches currently being dug so it was also our job to go through the finds trays and register any objects worth saving (unfortunately there was a lot of Styrofoam). Time flies while you are here and I know I’m not going to want to leave when the time comes. I would definitely recommend anyone to come here and gain this experience, even if you aren’t an aspiring archaeologist.

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