INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY
SVWAG is presented a lecture on archaeological careers and training on Thursday , 5th May at 8pm at Dooley’s Hotel. The lecturer was Paul Gosling, Director of the Heritage Studies Programmes at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. This is run by the Humanities Department at GMIT and courses cover Irish and European archaeology, heritage tourism, European languages, information technology, human resources and marketing management.
full lecture notes will be available shortly - pdf of Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation
SVWAG chair, Dr Catherine Swift, announcing the lecture, said: “Traditionally in Ireland, archaeology was taught in the universities as a branch of Celtic studies and it concentrated on identifying a sequence of past cultures and societies. This sort of education continues to be useful and enjoyable as a branch of the historical sciences but it lacks the vocational and technical training which the modern archaeological firms are calling for. If you look at the website of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, there’s a huge need for new archaeologists with the sort of skills which GMIT are offering them. The road-development programme will be employing large numbers of archaeologists into the future and there’s a real gap in the current training provision.”
“We already have courses on tourism on offer in Waterford but we also have enormous resources here in the city which could be deployed in practical training for archaeology students. The excavations directed by Maurice Hurley in the late 1980s produced a vast corpus of material, most of which is stored in the Granary Museum. The publication of the finds in 1997 by Waterford City Council is still hailed as the standard to which all other Irish excavation reports should aspire. Without sticking a spade in the ground, we already have the means to offer extremely innovative and progressive courses, dealing with real archaeological material. When you put that together with the business, tourism and information technology courses already on offer in WIT, there is real potential for such courses in Waterford.”
“Of course, the other thing which Waterford has is the important site at Woodstown, right beside the new campus of WIT. The minimal information which we have to date suggests that this enormous fort, the same size as tenth-century Dublin, was first defended in the fifth century. Most of what we know, however, belongs to the very earliest Viking period, with many hundreds of metal finds having been found by the sieving process that was used on the JCB spoil in 2004. Those finds are being conserved but they will still require analysis and research and that’s a very long and pain-staking process. If we’re going to see the results in a reasonable time frame, we’ve got to put provision into place for their investigation. At a conference at Wexford a month ago, it was pointed out that there was no trained personnel available to process the material from the major Viking site of Bride Street in Wexford town and that dig took place eighteen years ago. Most of what was found there is still in boxes in the storehouses of the National Museum and the classification has barely begun. We’ve got to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen at Woodstown.
"Voyages: From Irish Currachs to Viking Longships"
Explorer, author, filmmaker, historian – Tim Severin
We were delighted
to welcome Tim Severin as our guest speaker
Thursday 21st April
Tim Severin shared his unique experiences at sea and how they are embroidred into the fabric of the adventures of Odinn's Child
giving his historical novel a new dimension.
Tim Severin has spent more time under sail in replica boats
from all ages than any other sailor has. In a leather and wood
boat he executed the possible sixth century voyage of St.
Brendan from Ireland to New Foundland. Inspired by the
seven voyages of Sinbad, he sailed 6,000 miles from Muscat
to China in a 10th century Arab Merchant ship. After taking
three years to build a replica Bronze Age galley he set sail
again to chase the legend of Jason and his Argonauts' search
for the Golden Fleece and to follow Ulysses homeward bound
voyage from Troy to Ithaca. In 1993, Tim set sail again, this
time in a bamboo raft to travel the 6,500 miles from China to
He has written books about all these adventures, which
have won him the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award,
The Book of the Sea Award, a Christopher Prize and the
literary medal of the Academie de la Marine. He has been
a regular contributor to the National Geographic Magazine.
His travels have been the subject of award winning
documentary films and a major BBC documentary series.
They have won prizes for Best Cameraman, Best Film of
the Sea and Best Adventure Film. One of the world’s most
popular authors, his books have been translated into nearly
30 languages and have sold millions of copies.
Was Woodstown a Town? - Professor Howard Clarke is Ireland’s foremost historian on the
origins of Irish cities with 4 volumes of his own on the
history of Dublin. He has also been editor or joint-editor
of a further 15 books on a variety of Irish cities and towns
including Athlone, Kilkenny, Maynooth, Downpatrick
and Fethard and, as joint-editor of the Irish Historic
Towns Atlas, he is involved in the forthcoming Royal
Irish Academy volume on the history of Waterford.
"Woodstown, Kilmainham/Islandbridge and the Railway Element" -
Dr Elizabeth O’Brien is the foremost archaeological expert on early Irish burial customs and spoke about the potential information on Woodstown which could be gained through examination of the early records of the Suir Valley Railway.
"Waterford Vikings and Some Annals" - Professor Donnchadh Ó Corráin of University College Cork.
"Camas Ó bhFathaidh Tíre - its Location & Signifigance" - Dr Breandán Ó Cíobháin, the author of a paper on the place-name Camas ua Fothaid Tíre - associated with Woodstown or it environs, is a retired place-names expert with the Place-Names Office of the Ordnance Survey and continues to research place-names as an independent scholar.
" Viking settlement in Ireland -WoodQuay to Woodstown", Emer Purcell, UCC, 25th Nov - notes available shortly. Emer Purcell is currently a research scholar at UCC, working
on Viking settlement in Ireland for her Ph.D. She is also involved
with the UCC CELT programme which aims to make Irish historical
sources available to all on the internet.
"Viking Chiefs, Irish Kings and Exported Princesses" Lecture notes from presentation by Dr Catherine Swift, NUI Galway. Dr Swift has degrees in history, archaeology and Old Irish from University College Dublin, University of Durham, University of Oxford and Trinity College Dublin. Her latest article (Cardiff 2004) is on Irish shipping in the Viking age.
“Woodstown and Viking Waterford the Historical Context” Lecture notes from presentation by Dr Colmán Etchingham, NUI Maynooth. Dr Etchingham is a national authority on Irish medieval history.
He has lectured and published on Irish/Viking studies in Britain, France, Norway and Sweden.