Researchers at UCD


Barry Molloy

Research Fellow

School of Archaeology



One of the things I find exciting about archaeology is the diverse ways that you can participate in it. Since completing my undergraduate, I was involved in working in professional field archaeology in Ireland, continuing when possible throughout my PhD. I took part in many field projects with more specific research orientation, and on one such I had the fortune of working at the site of Keros in the Cycladic Islands of Greece. This led to my first professional appointment as a Research Associate with the director of the site, Colin Renfrew, at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge, immediately after completing my PhD in 2006.

In 2007 I began a collaboration with Barbara Hayden excavating the site of Priniatikos Pyrgos in East Crete, which was to continue until 2010. After the 2007 field seasons at both projects, I was appointed to an Irish Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the UCD School of Archaeology until 2009, looking at Irish Bronze Age weaponry and warfare. I had the good fortune to continue contributing lectures and being involved in research there until 2011, while also undertaking a research fellowship at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

In 2011 I was presented with the enviable choice of taking a two-year Marie Curie Fellowship at the University of Sheffield or a three-year CARA fellowship between Sheffield and UCD Dublin, though chose the former opportunity. Hot on the completion of this, I was invited to be a visiting lecturer at the Masaryk University of Brno, completing a very busy 2013.

Since then, I had a quiet 2014, followed by a very busy 2015 lecturing in UCD and initiating a new excavation at the Neolithic to Bronze Age site of Gradiste Idjos in Serbia. Following this, I took up a second Marie Sklodowska Curie fellowship at UCD School of Archaeology looking at regional diversity in Bronze Age smithing crafts in Europe.




Research Interests

I never liked to define myself narrowly within the field, and have active research interests across Europe, from the Atlantic coasts to the vibrant riverine networks of the Balkan peninsula or the beautiful island of Crete.

At first, my major interest was the archaeology of warfare, and within this I co-developed a specific strand called combat archaeology, a multi-disciplinary approach aimed at accessing the uniquely human face of war and the actions and experiences of those people who faced violence in their lives. I was particularly intrigued by the weapons of the Bronze Age, and went on to use these as media to explore a wide range of social activities, from the long-distance networks required to get access to tin and copper, through the technology of producing metalwork using casting and smithing, and on to other aspects of the life-cycle of artefacts looking at use and deposition patterns. It is quite amazing how the social life of weaponry links into so many other aspects of social organisation when you examine it and all of its relationships in their totality in this way. This has led to the development of my current research on the biographies of bronze artefacts. I have been using the rich datasets from Ireland to develop this work recently, and have been particularly focusing on use-wear analyses of tools and weapons. 

Experimental archaeology has always been close to my heart, not only in testing how things work, but also for accessing why they were made in the way they were and gaining insights into the decisions and choices of the ancient people who interacted with the very same objects. This interest has led me to expand my analysis of metalwork to encompass a wide variety of functional forms and so I presently consider stories that can be told looking at metalwork. I am also keen to think more about how we can best visualise ancient metallurgy, and have been exploring a variety of 3D modelling methods.