MA in Archaeology @ UCC

kate copyMy name is Kate Colbert and I’m from Charleston, South Carolina in the southeast United States.  Currently I am a student in the Department of Archaeology at University College Cork, earning my Masters in Archaeological Excavation.  It’s a one year taught program, designed to provide a strong, practical foundation in excavation practices and archaeological methodology.

The program includes taught modules, excavation visits, safety training, a field survey workshop, training excavation and a research dissertation.  The first half of the course is taught modules, then a four week training excavation at the beginning of the second half; the rest of the time is devoted to the development of a 20,000 word dissertation.  It’s a great program – thorough and very practical, and I have already begun to accumulate time in the field. I spent two days at the beginning of November 2012 on a geophysical survey workshop at the Lisnacaheragh ringfort, Garranes, Co. Cork.  Some of the archaeological equipment we used was a gradiometer, resistivity meter, total station and level, and we each created a survey report based on the data we collected.  For four weeks spanning May 2013 I was part of a training excavation at Lisnamanroe, a smaller but contemporary ringfort to Linacaheragh, which is situated only a few hundred meters away.

The field school teaches proper excavation methods, context recording and site drawing techniques.  At the completion of the dig we spent a week in the post-excavation lab processing our finds, and were required to contribute to the season’s excavation report with our own photographs and data we recorded.

Now I am working on my dissertation, which is on a dig conducted eight years ago near Carrigaline, Co. Cork.  I have been given the original site drawings, notebooks, samples and finds, and from that I must create a detailed excavation report.  By disseminating the results of this excavation, I will not only gain practical post-excavation archaeological experience, but also make this site academically available to other researchers and make a lasting contribution to Cork’s archaeological record.  Once I have completed my Masters, I have agreed to share the results of my work with my alma mater, College of Charleston, through a series of talks given to their newly created archaeology department.  This program is not intended merely to train archaeologists, but potential site directors – so proper planning and excavation strategy, site management, relevant graphics/computer software, licensing and archaeological law, health and safety, post-ex analysis, etc. are all part of the course.  By the time I’ve earned my degree, I’ll have spent far more time in the field than I will have in the classroom, and I’ll have the necessary skills and experience to pursue archaeology in the academic, public, or private sector.

For more information on this course please contact Professor William O’Brien w.obrien@ucc.ie

Fore more information about studying in Ireland please visit the Education in Ireland website

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