Sunday, February 27, 2011

ADS Peatland Archaeological Field School June – July 2011

Archaeological Development Services Ltd (ADS) are archaeological consultants to Bord na Móna (BnM), Irelands largest peat producer since 1998. During this time we have carried out fieldwalking surveys and have excavated over 200 archaeological sites in their industrial peatlands in the Irish Midlands.

The wealth and diverse nature of archaeological sites, artefacts and environmental information preserved in Irish peat bogs is unparalleled. The wooden trackways, platforms, gravel and stone roadways excavated to date have ranged from the Neolithic to Later Medieval Periods, many of which are unique to the archaeological record. With our academic partners in Reading University and Royal Holloway University of London we have facilitated hands on undergraduate training, Masters and Doctorate theses in Palaeoenvironmental research including tephrachronology, peat stratigraphy, insect analysis and the development of new geophysical survey techniques.

For 2011 we have developed a practical field-based training school providing a unique opportunity to those seeking an introduction to field archaeology. The two week field school has been developed with the aim of providing participants with practical training of the highest professional standard from experienced practising peatland archaeologists. There is also the opportunity for those who have completed the two week instruction course to participate in an additional two or four weeks archaeology excavation season.

The aim of the ADS Peatland Archaeological Field School is to provide the participant with the skills to locate, identify, record and excavate archaeological structures in Peatlands and to interpret the sites in order to gain an insight into human interaction within marginal landscapes. This information will be put into context with the surrounding archaeological monuments in the ‘dry land’ areas and provide a more detailed picture of the particular social group and their way of life.

Field School summary course outline:

Week 1 starts with a day in the classroom where participants will learn about Irish archaeology, Irish peatlands, the history of archaeology excavations in peatlands, sites excavated to date and their local and regional contexts.

On-site training will commence on day two with training in archaeological field walking. By the end of the week students will have learnt how to identify, record and sample sites.

In week 2 participants will receive training in the excavation of a trackway where they will be shown excavation techniques, recording, completion of feature sheets, drawing, peat stratigraphy, photography and sampling.

An additional two to four weeks archaeology excavation experience is also on offer to those that have completed the two week training course. During this time participants will get the opportunity to further their skills with additional supervision as well as gaining hands on experience in palaeoenvironmental sampling.

University accreditation is pending, participants will be supplied with a certificate of satisfactory completion of the field school and additional excavation season if completed.

Dates for 2011 are as follows:

Peatland Archaeological Field School 20th June – 1st July / 4th-15th July / 18th-29th July

Additional Practical Peatland Excavation 4th – 15th July & 18th-29th July


Fees are inclusive of accommodation which is provided on a self catering basis, transport to and from site as well as a learning pack including field manual and log book and the provision of excavation equipment for use while in attendance. The school runs Monday – Friday inclusive 9am – 4.30pm participants are free to explore the beautiful sites and scenary of the Irish Midlands at the weekends or may avail of additional guided tours of sites of interest in the local area for a small additional fee.

Peatland Archaeological Field School €1,450

Additional Practical Peatland Excavation €1,200 for two weeks / €2,000 for four weeks


Accomodation will be provided in Athlone, Co Westmeath and the Field School will be based near Ballyforan, Co Galway.


A deposit of 50% of the fee payable before 31st March 2011 will secure your booking with the balance due by 1st May 2011. Booking forms and furter details are available by emailing or by contacting Jane Whitaker directly at 00353 866012040.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

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