UCC ACE Short courses

Digging Up The Past: Cork Through The Ages (taught online only)

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Digging Up The Past: Cork Through The Ages (taught online only)

  • Code


  • College

    Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    Wednesdays 7-9pm, eight weeks, from 7 October to 25 November 2020

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    Cert of Attendance

  • Fees

    €200 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    Students must be minimum eighteen years at course commencement. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    25 September 2020

  • Course Delivery Method


  • Start Date

    7 October 2020

Course Outline

The course will provide a general introduction to the archaeology of Ireland with a particular focus on Cork City and county. It will discuss objects, monuments and landscapes that date from the early years of human settlement in Cork to the arrival of the Anglo Normans in the early 12th century. The aim is to provide an appreciation of the wealth of archaeology in the Cork region and present some of the results of many excavations that have taken place over the last 60 years.

Course Detail:

The course will be delivered over 8 weeks with each lecture focusing on a particular period, beginning with the arrival of Ireland’s first settlers some 9,000 years ago. Each lecture will be broken into two parts (A-B), the first (A) providing an introduction and background to the period (e.g. the Irish Mesolithic), the second (B) detailing the results of a specific excavated Cork site dating to that era and some of the artifacts recovered. Along with a general introduction to Irelands ancient past, delivered in chronological order over the eight weeks, the class will also be given get an appreciation of the discipline of archaeological excavation and specific local digs that have taken place in the City and County over the years- excavations conducted as part of university-led research but also those in advance of construction work. The aim is to provide an appreciation of the wealth of archaeology in the Cork region, and the opportunities that exist for the public to further explore and engage in this shared heritage.

Week 1: Part A – Archaeology: an introduction
Week 1: Part B – From excavation to publication – the process of examining the past

Week 2: Part A – The Mesolithic: Irelands first settlers
Week 2: Part B – Excavated sites in Cork

Week 3: Part A – The Neolithic: Ireland’s first farmers and tomb builders
Week 3: Part B – Excavated sites in Cork

Week 4: Part A – The age of copper: early metalworkers
Week 4: Part B - Excavated sites in Cork

Week 5: Part A – The age of Bronze: settlement and religion
Week 5: Part B – Excavated sites in Cork

Week 6: Part A – The arrival of Christianity and early medieval settlement
Week 6: Part B – Excavated sites in Cork

Week 7: Part A - The Vikings and their influence in Ireland
Week 7: Part B – Excavated sites in Cork City

Week 8: Part A - The archaeology of Anglo-Norman Ireland
Week 8: Part B – Excavated sites in Cork City and County


Course Practicalities

Each class will run for two hours with an optional ten-fifteen minute break at the end of the first hour. A selection of reading materials will be provided as handouts, along with a list of suggested reading. Questions and debate are encouraged throughout the class. No prior knowledge is required to take this course.

Short courses are non-assessed

Who teaches on this course

Dr Alan Hawkes (consultant archaeologist and graduate of UCC)
Dr. Hawkes holds a doctoral degree in Bronze Age archaeology and currently works as a consultant archaeologist. He is a full member of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland and has published widely in his specialist area. He continues to work closely with the university and is the principal investigator of the Rathcoran Hillfort project, which is being funded by the Royal Irish Academy and supported by the Archaeology Department UCC. Between 2012-2015, he lectured part-time for the Certificate in Arts course in UCC and 2014 was appointed co-coordinator. In Spring 2019, he delivered a night course in Archaeology at Ashton College.

Professor William O’Brien (guest lecturer –head of Archaeology Department UCC)

Why Choose This Course

If you always had an interest in Cork’s ancient past, then this is the introductory course for you, designed to equip the participant with a toolkit to recognize monuments, artefacts and ancient landscapes. The course introduces the interested beginner to the discipline of archaeology and field methods in Ireland and then offers a comprehensive overview of human settlement on the island, from early hunter gathers, to the arrival of the Vikings and the development of towns in Ireland. It aims to provide a particular focus to Cork by presenting the results of some well-known and not so well-known archaeological excavations that have taken place in the county over the last 60 years, some of which have re-written the archaeology books and transformed our understanding of specific cultural developments. 


Students must be minimum eighteen years at course commencement

Fees and Costs

How Do I Apply

This short course will open for booking in late August and we will post details of the registration process in the coming weeks. The closing date for applications is Friday 25 September 2020. Fees are listed in each course description. Students register and pay fees before course commencement. Course commencement is subject to sufficient enrolment and, in the event of a course not commencing, applicants will be informed and their fees will be returned.

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact