ARCH06050 2019 Early Medieval and Viking Ireland

General Details

Full Title
Early Medieval and Viking Ireland
Transcript Title
Early Medieval and Viking Irel
N/A %
Subject Area
ARCH - Archaeology
ESCI - Environmental Science
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Chris Read
Programme Membership
SG_SAPPL_H08 201900 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Archaeology SG_SAPPL_B07 201900 Bachelor of Science in Applied Archaeology SG_SAPPL_C06 201900 Higher Certificate in Science in Applied Archaeology

This course will cover the archaeology and history of the period dating from approximately AD 400 to the end of the 12th century AD. Over this period, lasting only 800 hundred years, Ireland changed dramatically. It started with the Roman Empire's only major impact on Ireland, the introduction of Christianity  followed by the invasion of the Vikings and finishing with the arrival of the Anglo-Normans. The change in religion led to the introduction of several new site types, burial practices and aspects of material culture. The Vikings founded Ireland's first urban centres and were responsible for the importation of hundreds of new artefact types. The richness and density of the archaeological remains they left behind has led to Ireland having some of the best preserved Viking archaeology anywhere in the world. The Early Medieval Period also heralds the arrival of the Historic Period in Ireland with the first written records.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Identify and categorise relevant items of Early Medieval and Viking material culture.

Identify and categorise all relevant monument and site types from this period.
Discuss the major historical events of the period, their textual recording and their relationship to the archaeological record.
Demonstrate an awareness of the major archaeological and historical texts on this period.
Analyse and critique texts relating to this period, expressing their views in oral and written form.

Demonstrate an awareness of major Early Medieval excavations and their contribution to our knowledge of the period.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

The course material will be taught principally through lectures and reading. The essay will help develop research and writing skills.

Module Assessment Strategies

An essay on a topic of the student's choice, relating to the Early Medieval and Viking Periods and a final exam interrogating the retention of key facts and interpretations. The field trip will encompass and array of Early Medieval sites in Sligo/Leitrim.

Repeat Assessments


Module Dependencies


Indicative Syllabus

Topics to be covered include: The Church and Religion; Politics and Society, Material Culture;  The Vikings in Europe; The Vikings in Ireland; Viking Excavations in Ireland; Early Medieval Settlement and Economy; Monastic sites; Viking Religion, Early Medieval Death and Burial; Early Medieval Writing and Illuminated Manuscripts; Reliquaries and Shrines. There will be a field trip to a number of Early Medieval Sites in the Sligo area.



Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
50 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
50 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Presentation Continuous Assessment Performance Evaluation 10 % Week 13 4,5,6
2 Essay Continuous Assessment Essay 40 % Week 13 4,5,6

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 50 % End of Term 1,2,3

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Flat Classroom Lecture 2.5 Weekly 2.50
Independent Learning Not Specified Self Study 4.5 Weekly 4.50
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.50 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2014-02-21 Early Medieval Ireland AD 400-1100: the Evidence from Archaeological Excavations Royal Irish Academy
ISBN 1904890601 ISBN-13 9781904890607

How did people create and live in their own worlds in early medieval Ireland; what did they actually do; and to what end did they think they were doing it? This book investigates and reconstructs from archaeological evidence how early medieval Irish people lived together as social groups, worked the land as farmers, worshipped God, made and used objects and buried their dead around them. It focuses on the evidence from excavations conducted between 1930 and 2012 and uses that evidence to explore how people used their landscapes, dwellings and material culture to effect and negotiate social, ideological and economic continuities and changes during the period ad 400 - 1100.

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources

The Irish Ringfort by Matthew Stout

The Archaeology of Early Medieval Ireland by Nancy Edwards
Journal Resources


URL Resources


Other Resources


Additional Information