The Columbanus’ Life and Legacy Project at the Moore Institute, NUI Galway, is delighted to announce details of the 2013 Luxeuil Archaeological Field School that will take place from the 31st July to the 23rd August.
The Field School arises from long-standing and fruitful collaboration with Dr. Sebastién Bully of the CNRS (UMR – Dijon) and brings together Irish and French graduate students in an environment of international research collaboration where they have an opportunity to develop both their practical and research skills, learn from leading scholars from both countries, and make lasting friendships and professional networks.
The primary element of the Field School is the excavation module, where the students will work on on-going excavations at Annegray, Haute-Saone, France. This site has been under investigation by the joint Irish-French team since 2010 and this year will enter an exciting new phase, with the proposed excavation of two late medieval ecclesiastical structures, both of which show signs of previous use in the early medieval period. The multi-phase nature of both of the sites earmarked for excavation in the 2013 campaign will provide the students with invaluable experience in dealing with complex and multi-phase stratigraphical sequences The technical team will provide instruction on geodetic survey methodologies over the course of the three week excavation.
To encourage interaction and to learn from one another this year participating students will present on their own PhD research and share their methodological and theoretical approaches with each other. Given the diversity of graduate research topics, to help map out common points of interest, and to stimulate discussion on the differences in approach at the respective institutions, the presentations will speak to a number of overarching themes worked out in advance by the participants ,. The question of Landscape and the usefulness of a landscape approach to archaeology, in particular, will form a core part of our approach in these sessions.
Finally, there will be a series of master-classes delivered by leading researchers on medieval archaeology in both France and Ireland made possible by the generous support provided of the Mellon Foundation. It is envisaged that these talks will be of benefit not only to the students, but to the lecturers themselves as it will provide an occasion to discuss topics relating to early medieval archaeology which have for too long been considered from a solely Irish or Continental perspective, without considering the possible broader contexts. Early monastic settlement in Ireland will be presented by Dr Tomas ÓCarragáin of University College Cork, the leading Irish expert on the architecture of the early Irish church and someone whose breadth of experience will offer important perspectives on the results of the fieldwork at Annegray in the context of broader trends in monastic architecture. Dr Kieran O’Conor of NUI Galway, will talk on moated sites in both a continental and an insular context, and in particular on the juxtaposition of these sites with monastic settlements, a topic of particular interest in the context of the last two seasons of excavation on the moated site at Annegray. In addition to invited guests from Ireland, a number of leading French arcaheologists are currently being lined up to participate in the field school master classes.
The Luxeuil Archaeological Field School represents part of the long-term legacy of the current collaborative project at Annegray. In bringing together students from Dr. Bully’s Project Collectif de Recherche (PCR) on early monasticism in Gaul, with graduate students from Irish research institutions we hope to sow the seeds of future collaborative International research projects while at the same time strengthening the links built up over the past four years of collaboration.
A second field school, focused on geophysical prospection, will take place in September at the island-monastery of Cleenish, Lough Erne, where Columbanus was educated under Saint Sinell before progressing on to Bangor, Co. Down. This will mark the first archaeological investigation of this important early monastery, and will involve invited graduate students from institutions in Italy, France and Ireland participating in the Making Europe: Columbanus and his Legacy (Aux origines de la construction de l’Europe: Colomban et son héritage ; Costruire l’Europa: Colombano e la sua eredità).