BA (General)

The teaching of Archaeology in UCC centres on the BA degree programme offered by the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences. Our aim is to produce graduates who have the following attributes.

• A broad and detailed understanding of the discipline of Archaeology, its theoretical concerns and methodologies
• A thorough familiarity with the archaeological record in Ireland
• A knowledge of different aspects of Irish archaeology in a European context
• A solid basis for postgraduate studies leading to an academic career
• Academic and skills training appropriate to a career in professional archaeology
• A life-long interest in archaeology as a source of personal enrichment.

We also aim to produce graduates who are strong reasoned advocates for the preservation of archaeological heritage in Ireland, both within their communities and in public life.

Structure

The BA degree in Archaeology is a three-year programme (CK101 in which the discipline is taken in combination with other subjects). Archaeology is one of some 30 subjects offered in different timetable groupings in the BA programme. Students may choose Archaeology as one of four subjects in First Year, taking two subjects in Second Year and Third Year.

Students in UCC can design their BA degree according to their own interests. Second and Third Year Arts students may opt to take 50 credits of Archaeology each year (‘Single Honours Archaeology’), 40 credits (‘Major in Archaeology’), 30 credits (Joint-honours Archaeology’), 20 credits (‘Minor in Archaeology’) or 10 credits if you are doing single honours in another subject.

Find out more
  • Please reading the following sections for further information on what each year involves
  • You can visit the University's Programme Page for information on applying, entry requirements, course practicalities, assessment, etc.

The First Year course in CK101 provides a general introduction to the discipline of Archaeology for students who have no particular background in the subject. Students are introduced to the aims and practices of archaeology as a modern scientific discipline and career option. The course also provides a general introduction to the archaeology of Ireland, spanning some ten millennia from the earliest human settlement of the island to the early modern era.

All First Arts Archaeology students take the following course module: 
AR1001 The Archaeology of Ireland in Context (15 credits)

This course has three sections:   
Part A:     Introduction to Archaeology
 (Professor W O’Brien)    
Part B:     The Archaeology of Prehistoric Ireland (Professor W O’Brien)
Part C:     The Archaeology of Historic Ireland (Mr John Sheehan)

The First Year course provides students with a solid foundation in the discipline of archaeology, with particular reference to the cultural heritage of Ireland. Students will acquire a broad understanding of the theoretical concerns and methodologies employed by archaeologists, which is essential to future learning in this field. Students will also gain a general appreciation of the archaeology of Ireland, from earliest times to the early modern period. Lectures will provide a broad framework of understanding for the discipline and for Irish archaeology. The lectures are supported by tutorials and field excursions, which will provide practical experience in the identification and interpretation of past material culture (artifacts, monuments and archaeological landscapes). This is essential background for anyone considering a career in Irish archaeology. At the end of the first year course the student will be in a strong position to acquire further knowledge of archaeology, as well as practical experience in this field.

Find out more
  • Current students can refer to their First Year Information Booklet for further information.
  • See UCC's Online Timetable for department/module timetables.
  • See UCC's Book of Modules for further module information.

The Second Year Archaeology programme comprises eleven course modules, each of five credits weighting, with the exception of the 10-credit AR2045. Apart from AR0245, all modules are run in 6-week blocks over two 12-week Semesters (1a, 1b, 2a, 2b).

Schedule of Modules

Semester 1a

  • AR2033 Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe (5 credits)
  • AR2034 The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland (5 credits)

Semester 1b

  • AR2016 The Development of Archaeological Thought (5 credits)
  • AR2047 The Iron Age in Western and Central Europe (5 credits)

Semester 2a

  • AR2014 Artefact Studies (5 credits)
  • AR2037 Introduction to Environmental Archaeology (5 credits)
  • AR2038 Human Remains for Archaeologists (5 credits)
  • AR2045 Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork (10 credits)

Semester 2b

  • AR2045 Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork (continued)
  • AR2048  Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology
Module Descriptions

AR2014  Artefact Studies  
Ms Rose Cleary
This module aims to give students an appreciation of archaeological artefacts and the skills involved in their curation and analysis. A number of case studies are discussed in lectures, while analytical and drawing skills are developed in practical sessions. A museum field-trip also forms part of this course.

AR2016  The Development of Archaeological Thought 
Coordinator: Prof. William O'Brien
The course present a survey of the theoretical contexts in which archaeological research is situated.  The emphasis is on the development and demise of Grand Narratives.  The implications for research of the shifting paradigms of the last century and a half are also considered. 

AR2033  Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe 
Professor William O’Brien 
This course will examine developments in human society in western Europe from the Chalcolithic to the Late Bronze Age. The origins and early development of metallurgy will be considered. The thematic approach will explore the social and cultural context of human life in this period, drawing comparisons between developments in Ireland and other regions of Europe. 
 
AR2034  The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland 
Mr John Sheehan 
An overview of the archaeology of the period c.400-c.1100 AD. The emphasis is on aspects and problems of secular and ecclesiastical settlement, ecclesiastical arts and culture and the economy. 
  
AR2037  Introduction to Environmental Archaeology  
Dr. Ben Gearey
This module will introduce the student to the main aims and methods of bioarchaeological studies. The focus of the module will be on the two main components of bioarchaeology, namely the study of ancient plant remains and animal bones, using appropriate case-studies to understand the interactions of human groups with their environment in the past. 

AR2038  Human Remains for Archaeologists 
Dr Barra Ó Donnabháin 
The principal objective of this practical course is to equip the students with the basic skills necessary to deal with human cranial remains that they might encounter in the course of archaeological fieldwork. The practical element of this course is built around imparting a detailed knowledge of the human skeleton and, in particular, the ability to identify fragmentary human skeletal remains in varying degrees of preservation. Legal and ethical issues concerned with the retrieval of human remains are discussed as are issues related to excavation and curation.

AR2045  Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork (10 credits) 

Mr Nick Hogan
This module will provide students with the practical knowledge necessary to understand and apply the methods and principles of archaeological fieldwork, including field survey, excavation and underwater archaeology. Students are required to carry out a field survey project. Fieldtrips are an integral part of the module.

AR2047  The Iron Age in Western and Central Europe
Dr Katharina Becker
This module will introduce students to the Iron Age of Western and Central Europe, providing an overview over the archaeology of contemporary communities from Ireland to Slovenia and Austria to Denmark as well as the main interpretative issues of the period.

AR2048  Forensic Archaeolgy and Anthropology
Dr Barra Ó Donnabháin 
This module will introduce students to the theory and practice of the recovery and analysis of human remains in forensic contexts. Topics covered include Archaeology and the court room; search and location; forensic geophysical survey; recovery of evidence; mass graves; forensic anthropology: the legal and social need for positive identification of remains; identification; the Expert Witness; archaeology and anthropology in post-conflict resolution.

Second Year Archaeology: Degree Options

Students who decide to continue with Archaeology after first year must choose one the following degree options:

  • Single Honours Archaeology       

Students take 50 credits as follows: AR2016 (The Development of Archaeological Thought; 5 credits) and AR2045 (Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork; 10 credits), plus the following seven modules (35 credits):

AR2014 Artefact Studies
AR2033 Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe
AR2034 The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland
AR2037 Introduction to Environmental Archaeology
AR2038 Human Remains for Archaeologists
AR2047 The Iron Age in Western and Central Europe
AR2048 Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology

  • Major in Archaeology

Students take 40 credits as follows: AR2016 (The Development of Archaeological Thought; 5 credits) and AR2045 (Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork; 10 credits), plus five modules (25 credits) from the following 5-credit modules:

AR2014 Artefact Studies
AR2033 Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe
AR2034 The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland
AR2037 Introduction to Environmental Archaeology
AR2038 Human Remains for Archaeologists
AR2047 The Iron Age in Western and Central Europe
AR2048 Forensic Archaeologya and Anthropology

  • Joint Honours Archaeology      

Students take 30 credits as follows: AR2016 (The Development of Archaeological Thought; 5 credits) and AR2045(Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork; 10 credits), plus three modules (15 credits) from the following 5-credit modules:

AR2014 Artefact Studies
AR2033 Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe
AR2034 The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland
AR2037 Introduction to Environmental Archaeology
AR2038 Human Remains for Archaeologists
AR2047 The Iron Age in Western and Central Europe
AR2048 Forensic Archaeologya and Anthropology

  • Minor in Archaeology       

Students take four modules (20 credits) from the following 5-credit modules:

AR2033 Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe
AR2034 The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland
AR2037 Introduction to Environmental Archaeology
AR2047 The Iron Age in Western and Central Europe
AR2048 Forensic Archaeologya and Anthropology

  • 10-credit Archaeology for Students taking Single Honours in another Subject

Students take two modules (10 credits) from the following 5-credit modules:

AR2033 Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe
AR2034 The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland
AR2037 Introduction to Environmental Archaeology
AR2047 The Iron Age in Western and Central Europe

Find out more
  • Current students can refer to their Second Year Information Booklet for further information.
  • See UCC's Online Timetable for department/module timetables.
  • See UCC's Book of Modules for further module information.

The Third Year Archaeology programme comprises thirteen course modules, each of five credits weighting (except for the 10-credit AR3030 dissertation). Apart from the year-long dissertations (AR3010 and AR3030), all archaeology modules are taught in 6-week blocks over two 12-week Semesters (1a, 1b, 2a, 2b).

Schedule of Modules

All Year

  • AR3010 Research project/dissertation (Joint Honours, CK101)
  • AR3030 Major Dissertation (Single Honours and Majors, CK101)

Semester 1a

  • AR3039 The Archaeology of the Early Irish Church
  • AR3053 Landscape Archaeology
  • AR3052 Beyond the Celtic Iron Age: Ireland in the First Millennium BC
  • AR3055 Transitions in Prehistory: Ireland in the Third Millennium BC

Semester 1b

  • AR3037 The Viking World and Ireland
  • AR3054 Late Iron Age Ireland and the Roman World

Semester 2a

  • AR3031 Archaeological Ceramics
  • AR3051 Wetland Archaeology and Palaeoenviroments

Semester 2b

  • AR3040 Health, Diet and Disease in Early Societies
  • AR3047 Professional Practice in Archaeology
  • AR3050  Archaeo-palynology
Module Descriptions

AR3010 Research Project/ Dissertation
Coordinator: Dr Katharina Becker
Students are required to submit at 4,000-5,000 word dissertation, which can be an essay based on archaeological literature, an analysis of a body of material, or a fieldwork project with a substantial analytical component.

AR3030  Dissertation (10 credits)
Coordinator: Dr Katharina Becker
Students are required to submit at 9,000-10,000 word dissertation, which can be an essay based on archaeological literature, an analysis of a body of material, or a fieldwork project with a substantial analytical component.

AR3031 Archaeological Ceramics
Ms Rose Cleary
The course will examine raw materials and the technology of pottery production, trade and exchange and the uses of pottery studies for archaeology. Case studies include Irish Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery, post-Roman imported pottery, Viking and Anglo-Norman pottery, post-medieval ceramics including structural and other clay products.

AR3037 Viking Age Archaeology in Ireland and Britain
Mr John Sheehan
This module begins with a brief introduction to the Viking Age and its background. The activities and impact of the Scandinavians in Ireland and Britain are then considered. Topics that are explored include regionalisms, economies and identity.

AR3039 The Archaeology of the Early Irish Church
Dr Tomas Ó Carragáin
This module begins with a detailed exploration of the process of conversion in Ireland in light of recent excavations. The principal aspects of ecclesiastical archaeology are then considered including the character and layout of ecclesiastical sites, the organisation of the Church, and ecclesiastical art and architecture. Similarities and differences between the Irish archaeological evidence and that in other areas of Europe are highlighted.

AR3040  Health, Diet and Disease in Early Societies
Dr Barra O’Donnabhain
The objective of the practical element of this course is to equip the students with the basic skills necessary to deal with the human postcranial skeleton that they might encounter in the course of archaeological fieldwork. The practical element of this course is built around imparting a detailed knowledge of the human postcranial skeleton and, in particular, the ability to identify fragmentary human skeletal remains in varying degrees of preservation. Research into past diets is discussed, and the course will also consider the origins and evolution of human diseases.

AR3047 Professional Practice in Archaeology
Mr John Sheehan
This module will introduce students to the organization and practice of professional archaeology in Ireland. The organization and profile of archaeology is examined, as is the economic and societal environment within which the profession operates. The legislative and administrative aspects of State archaeology are considered in respect of the work of central and local government agencies, and the commercial environment of private sector archaeology is reviewed. The role of the museum sector is examined, as is the cultural heritage management and tourism sectors.

AR3050  Archaeo-palynology
Dr Ben Geary
This module will introduce students to the practice of palynology, the analysis of sub-fossil pollen. It aims to provide students with a rigorous grounding in pollen analysis within the context of archaeological sites and questions (archaeo-palynology) in particular, with a focus ranging from site to landscape. It will also highlight the role of palynology within broader environmental archaeological frameworks in Ireland and further afield.

AR3051  Wetland Archaeology and Palaeoenvironments
Dr Ben Geary
This module will introduce students to wetland archaeology, the archaeological study of wetlands including peat bogs, river floodplains and coastal environments.  It will present the importance of such contexts for the integrated study of archaeology and environmental archaeology. It will contrast the forms of information provided by wetland environments with terrestrial contexts and demonstrate the importance of information from both contexts for an integrated understanding of past human activity. The module will also highlight the particular  methodological approaches to investigating wetland sites.

AR3052  Beyond the Celtic World: Ireland in the First Millennium BC
Dr Katharina Becker
This module will introduce students to the Irish Iron Age, including its material remains, sites, artefacts and issues with an emphasis on new discoveries, advances in analysis and interpretation. The course will cover Irish later prehistory from the Late Bronze Age (c.1150 BC) to the beginning of the early historic period around AD 400. Sites as well as materials will form the basis for a theoretically informed examination of the Irish Iron Age. The well-known iconic Iron Age sites and artefacts will be set into their contemporary context of mostly newly excavated sites. Recent advances in our understanding of the material culture of the period will be explored in regards to how they add to our understanding of the Irish Iron Age.

AR3053  Landscape Archaeology
Coordinator: Professor William O’Brien
This module provides a general introduction to the theory and methodologies of landscape archaeology, with particular reference to recent research in Ireland. The lectures will explore different theoretical perspectives that can be applied to an understanding of 'landscape' in archaeology, and also the approaches employed in the analysis of these locations. Students will be introduced to different landscape types through case-studies drawn mainly from research undertaken in the Department of Archaeology. The module concludes with a detailed examination of the archaeological landscape of Lough Gur, Co. Limerick, where students are taken on guided field excursions.

AR3054 Late Iron Age Ireland and the Roman World
Dr Katharina Becker
This module examines the archaeological record of Ireland in the first half of the first millennium AD. This includes the newly emerged evidence for settlement, subsistence and economic activities. The evidence for different types of interaction with the Roman world is presented. The history and archaeology of the Roman Empire will be briefly outlined and the concept of Romanisation explored in a variety of case studies.

AR3055 Transitions in Prehistory: Ireland in the Third Millennium BC
Professor William O’Brien
This module explores the archaeology of Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic (Copper Age) societies in Ireland during the third millennium BC.Various themes of continuity and change are considered with reference to monument traditions (henges, timber circles and wedge tombs), changes in funerary practice and religious belief, new forms of settlement, as well as important innovations in technology and material culture.

Third Year Archaeology: Degree Options

Students who decide to continue with Archaeology after first year must choose one of following degree options. The Third Year options are as follows:

  • Single Honours Archaeology  

Students take 50 credits as follows: AR3030 (Dissertation; 10 credits) and AR3047 (Professional Practice in Archaeology; 5 credits), plus seven modules (35 credits) from the following 5-credit modules:

AR3031 Archaeological Ceramics
AR3037 The Viking World and Ireland
AR3039 The Archaeology of the Early Irish Church
AR3040 Health, Diet and Disease in Early Societies
AR3050 Archaeo-palynology
AR3051 Wetland Archaeology and Palaeoenvironments
AR3052 Beyond the Celtic World: Ireland in the First Millennium BC
AR3053 Landscape Archaeology
AR3054 Late Iron Age Ireland and the Roman World
AR3055 Transitions in Prehistory: Ireland on the Third Millennium BC

  • Major in Archaeology

Students take 40 credits as follows: AR3030 (Dissertation; 10 credits) and AR3047 (Professional Practice in Archaeology; 5 credits), plus five modules (25 credits) from the following 5-credit modules:

AR3031 Archaeological Ceramics
AR3037 The Viking World and Ireland
AR3039 The Archaeology of the Early Irish Church
AR3040 Health, Diet and Disease in Early Societies
AR3050 Archaeo-palynology
AR3051 Wetland Archaeology and Palaeoenvironments
AR3052 Beyond the Celtic World: Ireland in the First Millennium BC
AR3053 Landscape Archaeology
AR3054 Late Iron Age Ireland and the Roman World
AR3055 Transitions in Prehistory: Ireland on the Third Millennium BC

  • Joint Honours Archaeology     

Students take 30 credits as follows: AR3010 (Research Project/Dissertation; 5 credits) and AR3047 (Professional Practice in Archaeology; 5 credits), plus four modules (20 credits) from the following 5-credit modules:

AR3031 Archaeological Ceramics
AR3037 The Viking World and Ireland
AR3039 The Archaeology of the Early Irish Church
AR3040 Health, Diet and Disease in Early Societies
AR3050 Archaeo-palynology
AR3051 Wetland Archaeology and Palaeoenvironments
AR3052 Beyond the Celtic World: Ireland in the First Millennium BC
AR3053 Landscape Archaeology
AR3054 Late Iron Age Ireland and the Roman World
AR3055 Transitions in Prehistory: Ireland on the Third Millennium BC

  • Minor in Archaeology

Students take 20 credits by choosing four of the following 5-credit modules:

AR3031 Archaeological Ceramics
AR3037 The Viking World and Ireland
AR3039 The Archaeology of the Early Irish Church
AR3051 Wetland Archaeology and Palaeoenvironments
AR3052 Beyond the Celtic World: Ireland in the First Millennium BC
AR3053 Landscape Archaeology
AR3054 Late Iron Age Ireland and the Roman World
AR3055 Transitions in Prehistory: Ireland on the Third Millennium BC

  • 10-credit Archaeology for Students taking Single Honours in another Subject    

Students must choose two of the following 5-credit modules:

AR3031 Archaeological Ceramics
AR3037 The Viking World and Ireland
AR3039 The Archaeology of the Early Irish Church
AR3051 Wetland Archaeology and Palaeoenvironments
AR3052 Beyond the Celtic World: Ireland in the First Millennium BC
AR3053 Landscape Archaeology
AR3054 Late Iron Age Ireland and the Roman World
AR3055 Transitions in Prehistory: Ireland on the Third Millennium BC

Find out more
  • Current students can refer to their Third Year Information Booklet for further information.
  • See UCC's Online Timetable for department/module timetables.
  • See UCC's Book of Modules for further module information.
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