Artifacts from Irish Burial Sites

Currently a senior at NIU, I would like very much to augment my educational experiences by researching the artifacts associated with burial sites throughout the archaeological heritage of Ireland. My objective is to obtain an in-depth knowledge concerning grave goods and I am proposing to carry this out firstly, by independently researching the changes in the artifacts themselves throughout the archaeological stages of development in Ireland (i.e. Iron Age, Bronze Age, Early Christian, etc.). The second step in the process will be analyzing first hand these important clues that serve as our windows to the past at the National Museum of Ireland, which is located in Dublin. The third step will be attending a class which focuses upon the archaeological heritage of Ireland and will be held at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

With your financial assistance, the culmination of this project will be a freestanding, annotated, photographic exhibition which will chronologically document the changes in grave goods from ca. 8000 AD through the 17th Century. I will also compose a booklet that will be suitable for publication. Therefore, my proposed research will compliment and enhance upon the research conducted by a fellow USOAR applicant, who will be analyzing the burial sites and subsequent skeletal assemblages from Ireland. Although we will be conducting our research independently, our outcomes may be intertwined in order to create a more thorough product.

Project Description

Phase I. Beginning in March (2003), I will conduct preliminary research concerning the rich archaeological history that Ireland has to offer. Studied will be the stages themselves (i.e. Bronze Age, Medieval, etc.) in order to establish the differences and/or similarities between the artifacts attributed to said stages in the later phases of my research. Although the main area of focus will be upon grave goods that have been recovered in Ireland, including dating, original provenance, and artifact types, I will also investigate the overall historical archaeological heritage of Ireland. This will include acquiring a sweeping knowledge of the relevant archaeologists in addition to the recovery methods utilized.

Phase II. Historical books contain a wealth of information that is ready for the picking, but they can never truly surpass the understanding and knowledge that comes with direct, hands on, experiences. The feeling that occurs when holding an antiquity gently within the palm of your hand is quite difficult to explain. The awareness of how fleeting life is and how much care was placed into each and every personal object created so long ago is abundantly clear. Because of the plentiful nature of archaeological burial sites discovered and excavated within Ireland~ the National Museum of Ireland houses thousands of artifacts which pertain to my proposed research. The artifacts are available for study by dedicated students and professionals alike and I believe that I am capable to thoroughly examine the artifacts with intelligence because of my previous educational and professional experiences. I will survey the artifacts from various time periods, develop broad categories in respect to the inventory, and chart what changes have occurred through time. The specific changes in personal possessions' will open a window into how the societies have altered through time.

Phase III. Dr. John Waddell is currently one of the leading experts on the archaeological heritage of Ireland and to participate in a class under his direction is truly an astonishing opportunity for a student of anthropology. Not only is he known for his academic achievements, such as attaining the position of Departmental Chair, but is respected for his literary works pertaining to Ireland's archaeological history as well. This particular class, (The Archaeological Heritage of Ireland), will be held at the National University of Ireland, Galway, from June 26th through July 26th, 2003. The course will consist of lectures, fieldtrips, and seminars encompassing the time spans pertinent to my research (i.e. 8000 BC through to the 17th Century AD).

Experience. I am confident that past experiences, both academic and professional, have fully prepared me for this undertaking. I possess a certificate in photography which will no doubt assist in my ability to capture the photographic documentation necessary for such an endeavor. Academically, I have participated in a variety of courses, such as Archaeology, North American Archaeology, and Human Paleontology, which have equipped me with the competence necessary to analyze lithics and personal artifacts objectively.

During the summer of 2001, I was fortunate enough to participate in archaeological fieldwork under the direction of Dr. Kolb (NIU) in Sicily. Throughout the expedition, I contributed to the team by performing all activities associated with excavation (i.e. extraction of grave goods, mapping, and the surveying of potential sites). I was also responsible for a number of independent lab duties, such as cleaning, labeling, and analyzing the artifacts recovered. This experience led, in part, to my position in the Contractual Archaeological Department at Northern Illinois University, beginning in the summer of 2002. Under the direction of Dr. Tom Berres and Dr. Mark Mehrer, I have been responsible for both fieldwork (surveys, as well as phase I through phase III excavations) and lab work, which consists of extensive research, labeling and organization of the artifacts, mapping, and preparing finalized reports.

In December of 2002, I was privileged enough to have spent time in Ireland. During this time my interest in the archaeological heritage of Ireland was sparked. I am also looking forward to returning in January of 2003 in order to visit with the professors and other professionals that I will be working with and studying under. I am both extremely excited and prepared to delve headfirst into this amazing opportunity in Ireland and to put into practice the knowledge gained from my undergraduate experiences at NIU.

Timeline

Background research on the archaeological history of Ireland (sites, relevant artifacts, stages, etc.) March 1,2003 -August 15,2003
Examination of grave goods (housed at the National Museum of Ireland) June 2, 2003 - June 25, 2003 (with possible re-visitation in August 2003)
Exploration of sites (with respect to the lithics and personal effects examined) May 24, 2003 - August 8, 2003
Archaeological Heritage of Ireland (course held at National University of Ireland, Galway, with additional seminars and fieldtrips to sites) June 26, 2003 - July 26, 2003
Annotated photographic journal (freestanding): will be completed, ready for display, and submitted to NIU (Dr. Mark Mehrer) September 15,2003
Publishable booklet: will be completed and presented to both the National Museum of Ireland and NIU (Dr. Mark Mehrer) September 15, 2003

Bibliography

Macalister. (1921). Ireland in Pre-Celtic Times. Dublin. Maunsel and Roberts.
"NUl, Galway, Department of Archaeology." (Galway, Ireland: National University of Ireland, 2003)
"NUl, Galway, International Summer School." (Galway, Ireland: National University of Ireland, 2003)
Ryan, Michael. (1991). The Illustrated Archaeology of Ireland. Dublin: Thames and Hudson.

Prospective Itemized Budget

Description: Cost:
3 hours of undergraduate anthropology credit from National University of Ireland (Galway), instruction, materials, access to archaeological sites, use of equipment, lodging, most meals and local travel to and from the sites $2400.00
Roundtrip airfare from Chicago (O'Hare) to Ireland (Dublin) $950.75 Uncovered meals away from lodging $250.00
Uncovered travel, train fares, bus fares and admission fees to archaeological sites and Museums $200.00
School supplies (binders, notebooks, writing utensils) $40.00 Miscellaneous unforeseen expenses $200.00
Total Cost $4040.75

Please be aware that I am fully prepared to compensate for any monetary shortages and understand that the USOAR grants dispersed to anyone student may not exceed $2500.00.