USOAR Proposal

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.