Sunday, 28 September 2014

Coffee mornings made easy

Dear everyone,

We have changed the website a little so that it will be easier for you to know exactly when the next coffee morning is! Now you just need to come here, and look to the left...


 and lo! The times and location of the next coffee morning are there! Quick and easy!

See you all next Wednesday!

Seminars 2014/2015: "The Bective Abbey Project: Survey, Excavation and Results"

The next seminar will be

"The Bective Abbey Project: Survey, Excavation and Results"
Geraldine Stout of the National Monuments Service
Thursday 2nd October 2015

Room A109, Newman Building


CLICK HERE for all seminar posters and reports. 

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Glendalough Field School 2014: Post Excavation

The final week of the Glendalough Field School 2014 saw the beginning of the post-excavation process. This edition will include the entire post-excavation week with all the practices which had been carried out.

The first day of post-excavation began with the writing up of the registers for all trenches. Finds, camera, drawing and sample registers were all typed up using Microsoft Excel. This left us with a clean digital format of our current registers which can be stored with little chance of being damaged. The digital registers would also allow for a proper checking of artefacts later in the post-excavation process.

With the help of the students the finds were carefully cleaned to reveal a better surface for storage and allow for further interpretation at a later date. From white ceramics to clay pipes all were delicately washed using a toothbrush and a basin of water. Once washed the bags of each set of finds were checked for accuracy. They were also sorted into material type and all finds per trench were eventually placed into their own bag. At the end of this process we had three large bags full of smaller categorized bags from each trench. 

This was far from the end of the post-excavation process however, with the weather conditions being as poor as they were during the second week it left the trench boxes wet and muddy. All of the trench boxes were cleaned through and dried when necessary. It was also double checked that the trench boxes contained all the necessary equipment for next years excavations. This process of cleaning and checking was also undertaken for each of the drawing boxes. 

Among the larger tasks in post-excavation there were many smaller tasks which needed doing. Cleaning of hard hats as well as scanning of drawings were all carried out throughout the week. While some students had come back on the Wednesday in order to help backfill trench 12 there were still students working in UCD in order to get everything finished to make the rest of the post-excavation process without the students as easy as possible. 

Being able to partake in the post-excavation process one becomes quite aware of all the background work which surrounds an excavation such as that at Glendalough. The immense quantity of work which came both before and after the excavation was quite overwhelming which allows us to now truly appreciate the people behind the excavations from start to finish.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Seminar list announced for the first semester of 2014/2015 !

UCD School of Archaeology & Archaeological Society Research Seminar Series 2014/15

Thursdays at 5:30 pm, 
Room A109, 
Newman Building, UCD

All welcome

For further information contact:

    • Thursday 25th September 2014

Dr Jo Buckberry, University of Bradford
“Death during the Scottish war of independence”

  • Thursday 2nd October 2014
Geraldine Stout, National Monuments Service
"The Bective Abbey Project: Survey, Excavation and Results"

  • Thursday 16th October 2014
Richard O’Brien, Rathnadrinna Research Project
"In the plains of Mag Femen: excavations at the royal fort of Rathnadrinna”

  • Thursday 30th October 2014
Dr Tomás O Carragain, University College Cork
“Insular Monasticism and Royal Patronage in the Glen of Aherlow: Survey and Excavations at Toureen Peakaun"

Mid-Term Break

  • Thursday 13th November 2014
Dr Alison Sheridan, National Museum of Scotland
“Green treasures from the magic mountains: Neolithic Alpine axeheads in Ireland and Britain, and the amazing story of how they got here”

  • Thursday 20th November 2014

Prof. Chris Scarre, University of Durham
“Missing Persons? Formal Disposal and Funerary Practices in Prehistoric Britain”

  • Thursday 27th November 2014
Prof. John Schofield, University of York
“Forget about ‘Heritage’: Place, Ethics and the Faro Convention”     

Seminars 2014/2015: "Death in the Scottish War of Independence"

The next seminar will be

"Death in the Scottish War of Independence"


Dr. Jo Buckberry
University of Bradford

Thursday 25th September 2014

Room A109, Newman Building

All Welcome!

First coffee morning of the year!


Dear everyone, 

The Society is back this year and so are coffee mornings! The first will be next Wednesday, 24th of September, in the Red Room (New Student Centre, next to the cinema), from 1-4pm.

NB: The room will be reserved for FIRST YEARS ONLY between 1 and 2pm. All welcome from 2 to 4pm! We want to make this an opportunity for newcomers to UCD to meet other students in their year.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Problem confirming your subscription to the mailing list [[updated]]

We have been notified of a problem when members click on the link provided in the confirmation request email they have received following their inscription on the UCD Archaeology Society mailing list. When clicking on the link, the message "Your account does not have the right to perform this action" (or something similar) appears.

Here are some ways you can solve this problem:

  • One possible reason for this problem is that you are logged into your UCD Connect account, which works with Gmail but has issue with other Google Apps such as Drive or Blogger.  Try copying the link,log off, and paste the link in the URL bar of your browser again.
  • If this does not work, try opening the email in Internet Explorer or Firefox, and not Google Chrome (if you were using it).
  • You can also try to register for the mailing list again by typing your email address in the space provided on the left hand menu of this website. You will receive a second email with a confirmation link. 

If this problem persists, please contact our webmaster, Alexandra, at

Sorry for this inconvenience!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Welcome back!

Smile, it's Freshers Week !

The fun to be had at the Society stall for UCD Freshers Week 2014!

Hello everyone,

The academic year has started and your Society is ready to rock the two semesters to come! You can find us in the Freshers Fair tent behind the UCD Student Centre and sign up for the society (2€, or 3€ for membership + a wristband).

So far, here is what you can expect from this year...

...a trip to Madrid in January !

... None other than Chris Scarre giving the Inaugural Lecture on November 20th ! 

Check our Events section for a taster of what the Society did in previous years.

In the more recent future, come and join us for our Welcome Drinks in the UCD Clubhouse on

Wednesday 17th September
From 6pm

All welcome! It is your chance to meet the committee and fellow members!
If you are on Facebook, you can see the event here.

Some of the photographs decorating the Society stall...and our very own round tower!

Friday, 5 September 2014

Glendalough Field School 2014: Part 10

The final day of the field school at Glendalough saw quite a hectic start with many things needing to be done relatively quickly. With the main focus of the day being backfilling the students would have to wait until the afternoon to begin. All necessary plans were drawn with most of the students backfilling trench 10 which led into lunch.

Final Results:

Trench 10:
Throughout the excavations this trench has provided many questions and interpretations. The original interpretation of the protruding stones as once being a staircase which led to a tea house on the top of the bank has been changed numerous times throughout the two weeks. The result of our excavations suggests that the original stones may not have been related to the tea house. For the optimist, it has been thought that these may have once been a staircase leading to the monastery. Our interpretations are based off of a lack of pattern in the stones which would suggest a possible staircase. It also appears that the bank may have had its slope altered since the period in which the tea house once stood. Our excavating has not shown to be unsuccessful however, as we learned an immense amount of information about the geological history of Glendalough. Finds from the trench have also given us an idea of the activities which had taken place throughout the centuries near the pattern bank. All of which will be examined further in post excavation.

Trench 11:
Trench 11 throughout the excavation has given us a constant source of archaeology. From possible Neolithic material to the most modern rubbish, the number of artefacts which came from trench 11 was quite substantial. With many questions left to be answered it's likely that the excavations will continue on next year to further our already developing understanding of the trench. It appears we located the ditch which appeared in the geophysical survey from 2011. Numerous postholes and stakeholes were located throughout the western and eastern sections of the trench, one of which was nicely held in place by surrounding stones. In the second week a sondage was placed running east-west along the northern side of the trench. It had been placed strategically in order to pick up the possible structural feature as well as the ditch. While this year we were unable to completely unearth the structure we have reached a possible feature which can answer more of our questions in the years to come. 

Trench 12:
Trench 12 has definitely been one of the more interesting trenches solely due to the vast amount of questions and answers we have received. With the excavations over the students had been presented with a range of possible features throughout the entire trench. Some broken patterned soil indicates agricultural furrows, while others have led to the discovery of the possible ditch feature picked up by the geophysics.

Two weeks of finds has indicated a range of activity ranging from possible Neolithic to the medieval period. Modern finds uncovered include modern ceramics, clay pipes and modern glass shards. Medieval artefacts ranged from pottery to floor tiles with a small amount of flint artefacts possibly from the Neolithic period. All finds are to be sent back to ucd for further analysis. From further studying of these objects we can learn more about many different aspects of this area in the glendalough landscape.

Our archaeological adventures as Glendalough ended with a large amounts of backfilling and fun. With all the students acting as a team trenches 10 and 11 were fully filled in with trench 12 left for a later date. Through rain and sun all members of the team, both student and supervisor took part in the backfilling process with some... Messy results! All in all the excavations ended with a bang, leaving much more to learn in next years field school.

By Emily Geoghegan
Brandon Walsh

Glendalough Field School 2014: Part 9

The second last day of the Field School was the last day for excavations. All equipment were taken to their respective trenches and work began immediately.

Trench 10 provided the students with a day of quick excavation, cleaning back and a demonstration of photography. Further investigation of the sondage on either sides of trench was carried out. With this being the final day of excavation, a large amount of work was done to try and reveal as much information as possible before all were forced to stop digging. A series of cleaning back allowed for the drawing of the final features. Towards the end of the day backfilling had started for trench 10. With three trenches to backfill, there would be a large rush to get things finished.

Trench 11 was cleaned back and prepared for post-ex photographs at the western end of the trench before the post-holes and stake-holes could be profiled. The eastern end underwent a similar process as larger post-holes were uncovered. Plans were taken of sections throughout the trench in order to give us a better understanding in post excavation of the final stages and development of the trench as time progressed. Similar to days previous, students were taken once again to learn how to fill out a context sheet.

By the morning Trench 12 appeared almost finished, with little information appearing anymore from the surface. The surface inside the trench contains numerous broken plough furrow soils, with some natural appearing running along with them. A section of a furrow has been taken to see how deep it ran. The results were quite fulfilling with a nice dipped feature, with very few changes to the shape throughout. The end of the day had some final plans drawn up for trench 12.

While the entire day was fast paced from start to finish, the main focus was getting plans constructed for all trenches. Final excavations allowed for better drawing and hence a better interpretation of features. 

By Emily Geoghegan
Brandon Walsh

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Glendalough Field School 2014: Part 8

With unpleasant weather forecast for the afternoon the morning rush kicked in a lot sooner than normal. Throughout all trenches it was a race against time to get as much done as possible. Like normal all equipment was carried towards their respective trenches and work went underway. 

The students throughout the week have been undertaking many archaeological techniques. Today they we're taking part in a digital survey, graveyard survey (see part 6) and a palaeoenvironmental survey. Below are a list of sources for further study in Digital Surveying techniques.

Trench 12:
Excavating in trench 12 began with further excavation of the possible plough furrows. On the western section of the trench the possible ditch as picked up by the geophysics is being investigated. Bulk samples of the feature appearing on the eastern section of the trench were taken earlier in the morning. Photography was also carried out throughout the day with extensive recording of all possible features.

Trench 11:
As the final week of excavations come to a close Trench 11 continues to expose various features and produce vast amounts of small finds and samples. Burnt animal bone and charcoal continued to be the main samples taken from the eastern end of the trench as features that could potentially be post-holes. Work continued in the search for the western stone lined wall of the ditch which has been potentially located but appears to lie interfere with another feature, however it is not possible to continue research on this feature in the last stages of the excavation. The western end of this trench was cleaned back once again for a mid-ex photograph to show the post-hole and stake-hole, this led to the appearance of another two stake-holes that were then excavated and recorded.

Trench 10:
Trench 10 today began with a further investigation of the stone structure which dominates the centre of the trench. The stones were brushed off carefully to avoid any fake patterning in the soil. The eastern and western sections of the trench have been thoroughly excavated in order to identify any possible archaeology as well as to reach the natural soil underneath. While this trench is still plagued with mystery we are rapidly coming to a greater understanding as to any possible archaeology there.

Debates have been taking place as to whether our trench has to do with the tea house. Towards the bottom of the trench there is a large amount of what appears to be dark, natural soil. A lack of change in the soil colour between the 'stairs' and area around it make for a quick interpretation that the stairs and tea house are found elsewhere. The large stones however create confusion as they appear to be dislodged and disturbed. Hopefully the few remaining days will reveal the last pieces of information needed to better understand the trench.

                                                          By Emily Geoghegan
Brandon Walsh

Below are a list of sources which aid in the study of GIS.

Lake, M. & Conolly, J. (2006) Geographic Information Systems in Archaeology. London:Cambridge University Press.

Chapman, H. (2009) Landscape Archaeology and GIS. Stroud : The History Press.

Wheatley, D. & Gillings, M. (2002) Spatial technology and archaeology: the archaeological applications of GIS. London : Taylor & Francis