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Friday, 15 June 2012

‘Archaeology and You’ training event with Copper Coast Geopark, Co. Waterford, Ireland

The event opened with an address by Liam Brazil, Waterford County Mayor, seen here with Sam, Abby (both RCAHMW) and Joe Greene (Copper Coast). Photograph by Sean Fitzsimons.
 On the 9 and 10 June, Royal Commission Metal Links Community Archaeologists Abby Hunt and Samantha Williams travelled to Ireland to run the weekend training event ‘Archaeology and You’ in conjunction with Metal Links project partners, Copper Coast Geopark. The weekend included lectures on various aspects of landscape archaeology combined with ‘hands-on’ sessions to enable delegates to put the skills that they had learnt about to practical use.

The event, held at Knockmahon National School, Bunmahon, Co. Waterford, opened on Saturday morning with an address by Waterford County Mayor, Liam Brazil, whose enthusiasm for the event got us off to a great start. The rest of the day was full of illustrated talks on subjects ranging from geophysics to the use of historic maps and documents in archaeological research, with a vast array of other topics covered, including aerial photography, graveyard survey and how the archaeological remains on a site can be turned into an animated reconstruction. In between lectures, there were sessions to look at aerial photographs and historic maps to try to interpret archaeological remains and to understand how the landscape had changed over time as a result of human interaction.

On Sunday morning, thankfully accompanied by pleasant weather, the group visited Faugheen church. The field visit started with a discussion about the surrounding landscape, which included a 12th-century monastic site. The group were then able to try out basic survey techniques, making a plan of the churchyard, and received training in recording the gravestones at the site. After lunch, further talks and discussion-time wrapped up a thoroughly enjoyable weekend – for participants and tutors alike! The lively discussions and wide-range of questions suggest that the audience all found something of interest in the programme and we hope that they will be inspired to use some of the techniques explained over the weekend in future research work on the metal-mining archaeology of the Copper Coast area.

For more information about the Metal Links project, please follow us on Twitter (@MetalLinks) or ‘Like’ our Facebook page For information about the Copper Coast Geopark, go to 

Surveying the churchyard and recording gravestones at Faugheen Church, near Bunmahon.
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