ARCH07045 2019 The Archaeology and Architecture of Medieval Ireland 400-1550AD

General Details

Full Title
The Archaeology and Architecture of Medieval Ireland 400-1550AD
Transcript Title
The Archaeology and Architectu
100 %
Subject Area
ARCH - Archaeology
ESCI - Environmental Science
07 - NFQ Level 7
06 - 06 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Shirley Markley
Programme Membership
SG_SINTE_S07 202100 Certificate in Irish Archaeology (International)

This module examines the medieval period in Ireland. This period is divided into two significant parts comprising the early medieval period (400-1100AD) and the later medieval period (1100-1550AD), the latter also known as High and Late medieval Ireland. The medieval period spans 1,150 years and it is a time when vast changes occur that transform the political, social and cultural landscape of Ireland. Population increase, changes in agricultural and farming practices, an increase in settlement forms, the impact of Christianity followed later by the advent of the Vikings dominate the early medieval period. This is followed by the development of towns and villages, religious reform, the impact of a new culture on native Gaelic society in the Anglo-Normans and the construction of a variety of settlement and monument forms. These are some of the myriad aspects that were to alter and leave an indelible impact on the fabric of Ireland forever.

Learning Outcomes

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


1. Demonstrate knowledge of the key time periods and historical events in Medieval Ireland.


2. Describe the settlement record and categorise all relevant monuments and site types from the period.


3. Outline the development of the Church and understand death, burial forms and practices.


4. Demonstrate knowledge of the range of artefact types for the period.


5. Demonstrate knowledge of economy, agricultural practices, craft production, commodities of import and export in medieval Ireland.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

This module will be taught by ODL.

This course is divided into two main sections covering the early medieval and later medieval periods.

The module will be taught through Power Point lectures using illustrations and supplementary text.

Lecture notes will be provided in advance to compliment the taught lecture and facilitate ancillary note taking by the student.

Module Assessment Strategies

There will be a mid term ON-LINE exam comprising 20 short questions (After Week 6)

A 2,500 word essay will be submitted in Week 10.

End of Term exam: an ONLINE exam comprising 20 short questions (After Week 13)

Repeat Assessments

Repeat online exams will comprise 20 short questions for both the mid-term exam and end of term exam and/or repeat the essay assignment.

Indicative Syllabus

The archaeology of the early medieval period (400-1100AD) examines:

-the introduction of Christianity in Ireland, the development of large ecclesiastical sites and their political role as centres of learning, settlement, burial, industry, trade and agriculture 

-the political, social and economic fabric of Ireland from 400AD to 1100AD

-secular settlement patterns, agricultural practices and land management, economy, death and burial practices

-monument types of the period such as ringforts, crannogs, settlement enclosures, unenclosed habitation sites, promontory forts, souterrains

-the development of the first written records

-the Viking age (c.795AD-1100AD) - settlements and structures, trade and exchange, material culture, political and cultural alliances between Gaelic and Norse communities through intermarriage, trade and exchange to the demise of the Vikings.

-material culture

The archaeology of the Later medieval period (1100-1550AD) examines:

-church reform, new ecclesiastical orders, the Reformation and the dissolution of the church

-Anglo Norman invasion and colonisation, agricultural practices, new towns, political, administrative and social changes (Gaelic and Anglo-Norman comparisons)

 -settlement forms (castles, manors, villages, boroughs) and monuments (ringworks, moated sites, ringforts, enclosures)

-material culture

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
70 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
30 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Mid Term Exam Continuous Assessment Closed Book Exam 30 % Week 6 1,2,3,4,5
2 Essay Continuous Assessment Essay 40 % Week 10 1,2,3,5

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 End of Term Exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 30 % Week 13 1,2,3,4,5

Online Learning Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Distance Learning Suite Lectures 2 Weekly 2.00
Independent Learning Online Independent Study 6.50 Weekly 6.50
Total Online Learning Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
01/01/1987 The archaeology of medieval Ireland Routledge

Required Reading
01/01/1988 The archaeology of medieval rural settlement in Ireland The Discovery Programme

Required Reading
01/01/2000 Medieval Ireland: An Archaeology Tempus

Required Reading
01/01/1999 The Archaeology of early medieval Ireland Psychology Press

Required Reading
01/01/2011 Settlement in early medieval Ireland Wordwell

Required Reading
2014 Early Medieval Ireland, AD 400-1100
ISBN 1904890601 ISBN-13 9781904890607

How did people live in their own worlds in early medieval Ireland? What did they actually do? To what end did they think they were doing it? This book investigates and reconstructs from the archaeological evidence how the early medieval Irish people lived together as social groups, worked the land as farmers, worshipped God, made and used objects, and buried their dead. The book 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 negotiated social, ideological, and economic continuities and changes during the period AD 400-1100.

Module Resources

Journal Resources


Other Resources

Further Reading

Corlett, C. and Potterton, M. (eds.) 2010. Death and Burial in early medieval Ireland in the light of recent archaeological excavations. Dublin: Wordwell.

Stout, M. 1997. The Irish Ringfort. Dublin: Four Courts Press.

Archaeology Ireland - a quarterly magazine.

Additional Information