Thursday, 31 October 2013

Halloween Ball 2013


Halloween Ball 2013, a set on Flickr.

Here are the photographs from the fantastic Halloween Ball 2013 !!

it was a great night, thumbs up to everyone who took part in the organisation of it, and to the bands who performed that night !

Second night out of the year: bowling and burger!


Dear everyone, 

Thanks to Emily again,the second night out of the year just around the corner! This time, we opted for a social evening with a meal in town followed by bowling in Stillorgan. The details are below. It is really important that we know how many people to expect as we are arranging lower, group prices for everyone with the relevant venues. 

PLEASE ANSWER THE POLLS on the Facebook event page so we can have an idea of numbers !!! Alternatively, if you do not use Facebook, please leave a comment on this post or email Emily at and let her know if you are coming to bowling. 

Part 1: A meal at Gourmet Kitchen Burger on Dawson street at 5:30/6pm. They do a great student deal for 8.50€ with a valid student card, this deal gets you a choice of 4 burgers, chips and a bottomless drink. (

Part 2: We catch the 46a straight to Stillorgan Leisureplex for bowling at ca. 8pm. There are pool and air hockey tables afterwards. there will be plenty of time to get the last buses home if need be. the Price of a lane is 39€ for an hour for six people so it works out at 6.50€ each if there is six exactly, if 5 at a lane it is 8€ euro each.
(Alternatively, the place is BYOB so if you want to bring alcohol, you will have to pay 10€ but then you can use the lane for longer. )

It is essential that we know how many people are coming so that we can organise the night as well as possible.

Looking forward to seeing you all there,


Monday, 28 October 2013

Seminar series, lecture 4: Breaking new ground from the air: Some recent technologies for the benefit of aerial archaeologies

We were joined tonight by Dr Verhoven from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Vienna. The institute was established to develop new methods for non invasive Prospection in the study of landscape archaeology. Tonight's talk was a well presented lecture on the recent work he had under taken in the developments of aerial surveying using 3 different types of techniques. These techniques involved using Digital Still Cameras (DSC), Airborne Imaging Spectroscopy (AIS) and Airbone Laser Scanning (ALS). Simply put, it involved mounting cameras and scanning equipment to remote operated unmanned aerial systems (UAS) such as multicopters and "flying wings" to recorded ground level and sub surface archaeological features.

The information that is recorded is then fed in to a computerised system that converts the data in to a 3D textured model. Techniques used are Structure From Motion (SFM) and Dense Multi View Stereo (MVS) which apply georeferencing to detect local features which match with pre taken photo sets. Other techniques use full wave length ALS to apply more detail in the bounce back i.e removing trees or false shadows which tend to dominate in Lidar imaging. Near Ultra Violet (NUV) and Near Infrared (NIR) imaging is used to pull out the 'Spectral Signature' of sub surface features. These techniques and an understanding of vegetation growth and depth patterns allow for the interpretation of the collected data.

As it stands, the technology is the future of archaeological studies but it far from cost effective. It is the long term goal of Dr Verhoven and his colleagues to make the technology more affordable and to open up the Meta Data to a wider research network.

Dr Verhoven's lecture on his research showed the advanced technological innovations being made at the Institute. He was able to convey the complexities of his work in an easy to understand and informative presentation. We look forward to see what comes next. 

By Cian Corrigan

Our next seminar will be Thursday, November 7th, and will be given by Prof. Colin Richards on the topic of the late Neolithic of Orkney. More information here. 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

No coffee morning this week (30/10)

Dear everyone,

Due to the inability to book a room this week, there will be no coffee morning on Wednesday 30th of October. We apologise for this. There will be one next week (rooms 5-7 in the New student centre), the details of which will be included in the weekly society email, as well as available on the event page of this website, as usual.

In the meanwhile, why not get ready for our Halloween Ball ? Tickets are still on sale and can be bought by contacting your auditor at All the details for the event can be found here. 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Society trips: dates for your calendar !

Hello everyone,

Here are two dates for your calendar:

Saturday, 9th of November, is our day trip to Rathcroghan (Cruachain), Co. Roscommon ! The trip will also include sites in the surrounding region.

The following week, on Saturday, 16th of November, there will be a Historical and Archaeological tour or Dublins north side, including O'Connell Street, Moore Street and Smithfields.

More details to follow! 

Hoodies are on sale !

Hello everyone, 

Hoodies are finally on sale. The cost is €20.00 and you have a selection of three to choose from.

Antique Cheery RedMilitary GreenAntique Sapphire

Committee member, Katherine, will be collecting money and you'll be able to catch her at the coffee morning this week, Wednesday 23rd of October, 12-2pm in rooms 5,6 & 7 of the New Student Centre.


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Seminar series, lecture 3: "Token explanations: the interpretation of burials in late prehistoric Ireland"

Katharina Becker is a previous member of the School of Archaeology at UCD, she is best known for her ground-breaking research as part of the Iron Age Ireland: Finding an Invisible People” project. She is now based at the University of Bradford where she pursues her work on the Irish Iron Age, notably taking part in a new research project: The Irish Iron Age: Beyond Celts and Romans”

In her seminar, Dr. Becker talked about the practice of cremation in the late prehistoric period in Ireland, and more specifically the occurrence of what has traditionally been labelled “token cremations” by archaeologists. She however challenged such a concept and argued that these small deposits of cremated human bone are neither “token” nor “burials”. Such an interpretation has been influenced by our own ideas about the need for a formal burial of the body and its part. Her talk highlighted the complexity of the archaeological record for the period and its potential to provide insights into later prehistoric mortuary practices and religious beliefs.
During the later prehistoric period, the rite of cremation was dominant, but inhumations are also found, and this before the introduction of Christian rites from the Roman Empire. A modern cremation would produce between 1227 and 3001g  of cremated bones for an adult. Archaeologically however, this is rarely the case. For a start, one must think of the efficiency of a modern crematorium as opposed to a funeral pyre. Then, there is the phase of recovering the bones from the pyre remains: a complete recovery would be very hard indeed. So it is common to find cremations with a quantity of bone far inferior to the data collected from modern cremations. The term “token burials” has – until now - been applied to interred deposits of very small quantity of cremated remains.
In her lecture however, Dr. Becker showed that on several instances, there seems to be a clear spatial relationship between the site of these “token cremations” and that of structures that can be interpreted as funerary pyres. This is the case at Rathgall, Co. Wicklow and Newford, Co. Galway. Such sites were in use over a period of time and it is likely that the pyre location was re-used for successive cremations. In this case, “token burials” of cremated remains in the vicinities of these pyres could very well be evidence for the deposition of residual material that was “cleaned out” of the pyre between its different uses. In this sense, it is neither token nor burial.
This does not mean however, that these deposits were meaningless: the very fact that the remains were interred speaks of their enduring significance in the eyes of the community who buried them. In the Iron Age, ring ditches seem to have been the focus for these practices. Such structures framed and delineated a special place, a place of transformation where the burial rites took place. The ditch itself became the preferred place for the deposition of charred remains, marking their significance as part of these rites.
In conclusion, it can be said that the concept of token burials draws , among other things, on anthropological parallels and on the Classical world (pars pro toto depositions). It belongs to a framework of thought in which the intactness and special treatment of human remains is of paramount importance. How far can this concept be applied to the archaeological record? In the case of late prehistoric Ireland, this record is far more complex than previously thought. Not only have the “invisible people” become visible, but we can now see that there were more fundamental changes in mortuary practices than previously thought, changes which go hand in hand with shifts in depositional practices in general.

By Alexandra Guglielmi

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Details of the Halloween Ball announced !

*** UPDATE ***

The photographs are now online and you can view them HERE !


Hello everyone, 

As many of you have heard, the Archaeological Society and a number of other smaller societies within the college have come together to organise a Halloween party for our members this year. It will be held on the 

30th of October in Kielys of Mount Merrion (see map below)
There will be live bands, DJs, Halloween themed games, Fancy Dress competitions. More details will be announced soon. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Wednesday 16th of October, for the little cost of €5.00. If you are interested, you can purchase these tickets at tomorrow’s coffee morning between 12-1pm. If you can’t make it tomorrow but still want to buy a ticket, please contact us at this email. 

You can also RSVP on our Facebook page for this event.

Further details will be announced on this website.

Cian, Auditor

  • The venue: Kiely's
Full address: 68 Deerpark road, Mount Merrion
Directions from UCD with Google Map: click HERE
Bus routes: 145, 46A (pretty much anything going up the N11)


Upcoming events

Hello everyone,

It has been a little quiet here recently, but fear not! This is because we are organising a number of exciting events and are currently waiting for the final confirmations to announce them !

But I will let you in on at least the nature of these events:

- The Halloween Ball ! The Archaeology Society has teamed up with other societies to create a night of trick-or-treat, pizza, fancy dress competition and much more! It will take place in Kiely's Mount Merrion, just a few steps away from UCD, on the 30th of October. The details will be announced very very soon.


- A trip to Rathcroghan ! Or Celtic Cruachain as it is known from the texts. It will be a day-trip to this fantastic site in Co. Roscommon and include a guided visit. It will happen in November and again, the final details will be with you very soon.

- Another night out ! After the success of the first our, our team is back to work on a second one. It is for now surrounded by a lot of mystery and it will be a bit longer before I can tell you anything, but rest assured: it will rock.

This is all for now! A final reminder that our coffee morning tomorrow is at 12-2pm and will take place in the Red Room in the New Student Centre.

See you there,


PS: And don't forget you can sign up for instant updates by inputting your email in the "Follow by email" form on the right-hand side of this website!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

First Night out of the year: how it went!

Remember we held our first night out of the year on the 26th of September, coinciding with Arthur's Day? Here are the words of Emily Geoghegan who co-organised it, and who was our hostess on the night, making sure the celebrations went smoothly.

"The Archaeological Society’s first night out of the year was a great success. It was a great turn out and it was brilliant to see first-year students getting involved.  
It began in Against the Grain at about 7.30pm for the pre-drinks, everyone got introduced to each other there and the "newbies" quickly got to know other society members. 
We then moved to The Palace bar where we were treated to a free pint and hog roast thanks to the organization of Sean Kinsella and Stephen Darcy, while we waited for other members to arrive. The atmosphere was lively and everyone was singing along to Pink and Kanye West. 
The night went on and we headed for the club. It was busy due to the fact it was Arthurs day and we were grateful to not only have VIP access but also a reserved area, which allowed society members to interact more with each other. The club was buzzing and everyone seemed to have a great night. We hope to see many more society members at future nights out. "

Source: The Palace (Facebook)

A little bird told me Emily and Sean are currently putting together another great night out for the coming weeks! Watch this space... 

Hoodies are coming !

Hey Everyone, 
My name is Katherine and I will be organising the society hoodies this year. The hoodies will have the UCD crest on the front and the society logo on the back. Here is a list of four colours we will have a vote and the two most popular will be the colours that you can then choose from. The hoodies will cost €18.50 and I will begin collecting money on the 16th of October. Until then please vote for your favourite colour. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

The four colours available are the following:

Military green

Dark chocolate

Antique cherry

Antique sapphire

You can vote for your favourite colour on the Society facebook page HERE.
If you don't own a facebook account, just leave a comment on this post and indicate your favourite colour. 

All the best, 


Friday, 4 October 2013

Seminar series, lecture 2: "Keeping up appearances. Dress and identity in Early Mediaeval Ireland"

The Early Mediaeval period is usually associated with very rich items like the Tara Brooch and other brooches made of precious metals. These are often seen as the quintessential ornaments for the period, but how exactly representative are they of Early Mediaeval dress? How were status and identities expressed through personal ornaments and garments at the time? In her lecture, Dr. Maureen Doyle gave us a very interesting insight into this fascinating topic, which constituted the main body of her doctoral research.  
Our knowledge of Early Mediaeval dress comes from various sources: literary evidence (e.g. the Táin, law tracts), pictorial evidence (e.g. illustrated manuscripts, High Crosses) and archaeological evidence in the form of textiles and artefacts. Each one of these sources has its limitations and problems and only by carefully using them together can we gain a better understanding of what Early Mediaeval dress would have looked like.
In analysing dress in relation with identity, one must be careful not to apply modern concepts: for instance, the most commonly depicted garments are léine (tunic) and brat (cloak), but trousers do also appear, for instance in the Book of Kells. However, they would seem to be associated with warriors or foreigners. Thus, trousers would not be an indication of gender but rather of ethnicity or class. Furthermore, men and women wore the same personal ornaments, e.g. brooches, necklaces, rings.
From the law tracts, we learn that dress was codified: for instance, the sons of kings would wear purple and blue, while the sons of lords would dress in grey and brown. However, how was this in reality? Can we expect these law tracts – mainly dating to the 8th century - to have been widely applied across the country and over the whole Early Mediaeval period. In studying garments, we are faced with the issue of textile preservation and the lack of “dress burials” as they appear in parts of northern Europe.
When we turn to personal items, Dr. Doyle’s study has shown the variety of material used to make brooches, pins, rings etc. Our image of Early Mediaeval society tends to be biased towards dazzling artefacts like gold and silver brooches and pins, but other materials like copper alloy, jet, glass and bone were more commonly used for the manufacture of dress ornaments. Glass beads and jet bangles are for instance extremely common on Early Mediaeval sites, many of them found at locations which also yielded some of the most prestigious and rich items, thus raising the question of status linked to these ornaments.

Dr. Doyle concluded by stressing the complex array of identities potentially displayed by the use of dress and ornaments – eg. gender, status, religious identities, ethnicity – both on a personal and public level. The interpretation of dress is bound to be complex and nuanced, and an over-reliance on text will obscure the complexity of the archaeological record. 
By Alexandra Guglielmi