Researchers at UCD


Stephen Harrison

Adult Education Tutor

Adult Education Centre
Newman Building
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7168384


Born and brought up in Dublin, my BA in History and English from Trinity College Dublin (completed 1993) included an archaeology-rich Erasmus year at the University of Aarhus, Denmark (1991-2), which convinced me to read for an MA in Archaeology at University College Cork. My PhD, entitled 'Furnished Insular Scandinavian Burial: Landscape and Artefact in the Early Viking Age', was undertaken at Trinity College Dublin and finally completed in 2008.

While researching my PhD, I worked in both the public and private sectors, including extensive periods with the 'Irish Viking Graves Project', based on the National Museum of Ireland. More recently (2007), I acted as researcher and report editor for the Woodstown 6 Supplementary Research Project on behalf of ACS Ltd. I have also taught full-time at the University of Wales Bangor (2002) and on two separate occasions at University College Dublin (2002-3 & 2005-6), and have taught part-time at Trinity College Dublin (2004-5) and NUI Maynooth (2007).

I was an elected delegate to the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth Viking Congresses, but was unfortunately unable to attend the most recent of these. I have also been invited to speak at conferences and universities in Ireland, the UK, Russia, the US and Canada. In 2007, I became an honorary research associate at the Medieval Studies Centre at Trinity College Dublin, and in 2010 a honorary visiting research fellow at the University of Chester.

Since completing my PhD, I have worked as a senior researcher for Eneclann on the Irish Battlefields Project (2008) and on the final stages of the Irish Viking Graves Project at the National Museum of Ireland (2009).

I first took part in an archaeological excavation when I was sixteen and since then have worked on sites dating from the Mesolithic to the Early Modern Period in Ireland, the UK and Norway, as Site Assistant, Supervisor and Director. For most of the last decade my research has focused on museum and archive work, but I hope to return to the field at some point in the future.

Having had a long association with the UCD School of Archaeology (above), I was delighted to have the opportunity to return here in October 2009, following the award of a two-year IRCHSS postdoctoral fellowship.

When not reading, writing or teaching, I spend as much time as possible sailing in Dublin Bay. I am national commodore of the IDRA 14 class association, a local one-design dinghy class first raced in 1947, and occasionally struggle to the front of the fleet in club races. In the past, I sailed regularly on Asgard II, the Irish sail training ship. Friends are divided as to whether I have wide literary and musical tastes, or no taste whatsoever.

Academic Interests: Early Medieval and Viking-Age Britain and Ireland; Viking Graves; Early Medieval Weapons (particularly shields); Viking Age Dublin; longphuirt; the 'contested past' in nineteenth-century Ireland.


Honours and Awards

Year: 2010.
Title: Hon Visiting Research Fellow
Year: 2007.
Title: Hon. Research Associate

Conference Contributions

Harrison, S. H.; (2009) Invitee. [Other], Genes of Gall-Góidil, Limerick , 03-NOV-09 - 03-NOV-09.
Harrison, S. H.; (2008) Viking Graves around the Irish Sea. [Invited Lecture], Maritime Societies of the Viking and Medieval World, Kirkwall, Orkney , 31-MAY-08 - 04-JUN-08.
Harrison, S. H.; (2007) Beyond Valhalla? Furnished Burial and Belief in Viking Age Britain and Ireland. [Other], Forty-Second International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan , 10-MAY-07 - 13-MAY-07.
Harrison, S.H.; (2006) Material Culture and Identity in Viking Age England and Ireland. [Invited Lecture], Migration and Transcultural Identities in the Viking Age, University of Nottingham , 24-MAR-06 - 26-MAR-06.
Harrison, S.H.; (2005) Bride Street Revisited - A Forgotten Grave from Dublin. [Invited Lecture], Fifteenth Viking Congress, Cork , 05-AUG-05 - 12-AUG-05.
Harrison S. H.; (2001) The Kilmainham-Islandbridge Burial Complex. [Invited Lecture], Fourteenth Viking Congress, Tórshavn, Faeroe Islands , 20-JUL-01 - 25-JUL-01.


Committee : Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland
Committee : American Society for Irish Medieval Studies
Committee : Friends of Medieval Dublin


Employer: Dept of Archaeology, University College Dublin
Position: Lecturer
Employer: School of Archaeology, University College Dublin
Position: Lecturer
Employer: Dept of History and Welsh History, University of Wales, Bangor
Position: Lecturer
Employer: Depts of History and Old Irish, NUI Maynooth
Position: Lecturer (part-time)
Employer: Dept of Medieval History, Trinity College Dublin
Position: Lecturer (part-time)
Employer: Irish Viking Graves Project (National Museum of Ireland)
Position: Research Assistant
Employer: Irish Viking Graves Project (National Museum of Ireland)
Position: Researcher
Employer: Irish Battlefields Project (Eneclann Ltd)
Position: Senior Researcher
Employer: Woodstown 6 Supplementary Research Project (ACS Ltd)
Position: Researcher and Editor


Year 1995 Institution: University College Cork
Qualification: MA Subject:
Year 1993 Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Qualification: BA (Mod) Subject:
Year 2008 Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Qualification: PhD Subject: Doctor of Philosphy



S.H. Harrison and R. Ó Floinn; (2011) Viking Graves and Grave-Goods in Ireland. Dublin: National Museum of Ireland. [Details]

Book Chapters

Harrison, S. H.; (2010) 'The Suffolk Street sword: further notes on the College Green cemetery' In: J. Sheehan and D. Ó Corráin (eds). The Viking Age: Ireland and the West - Papers from the Proceedings of the Fifteenth Viking Congress. Dublin: Four Courts. [Details]
Harrison, S. H.; (2010) 'Bride Street revisited: A re-evaluation of a tenth-century burial at Dublin' In: S. Duffy (eds). Medieval Dublin X. Dublin: Four Courts. [Details]
Harrison, S. H.; (2008) 'Appendix' In: A. Halpin (eds). Weapons and Warfare in Viking and Medieval Dublin. Dublin: National Museum of Ireland. [Details]
Harrison, S. H.; (2005) 'College Green - A Neglected 'Viking' Cemetery at Dublin' In: A. Mortensen and S. V. Arge (eds). Viking and Norse in the North Atlantic: Select Papers from the Proceedings of the Fourteenth Viking Congress, Tórshavn 19-30 July 2001: Annales Scoietatis Scientiarum Færoensis Supplementum 44. Tórshavn: Føroya Fornminnissavn. [Details]
Harrison, S. H.; (2001) 'Viking graves and grave-goods in Ireland' In: A. C. Larsen (eds). The Vikings in Ireland. Roskilde: Viking Ship Museum. [Details]
Harrison, S. H.; (2000) 'Re-fighing the battle of Down: Orpen, MacNeill and the Irish Nation-State' In: M. Brown and S. H. Harrison (eds). The Medieval World and the Modern Mind. Dublin: Four Courts Press. [Details]

Edited Books

Brown, M. and Harrison, S. H (Ed.). (2000) The Medieval World and the Modern Mind. Dublin: Four Courts. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Harrison, S. H.; (2008) 'Separated from the Foaming Maelstrom: Landscapes of insular 'Viking' burial'. Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History, 14 :173-182. [Details]
Harrison, S. H.; (2000) 'The Millhill burial in context: artefact, culture and chronology in the 'Viking west''. acta archaeologica, 71 (II):65-78. [Details]

Book Reviews

Harrison, S. H.; (2010) Book Review: Dublin in the Medieval World. Studies in Honour of Howard B. Clarke. Medieval Archaeology 54: Book Reviews [Details]
Harrison, S.H.; (2001) Book Reviews: Sean Duffy (ed.), Medieval Dublin I: Proceedings of the Friends of Medieval Dublin Symposium 1999. Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 131: Book Reviews [Details]


Research Interests

My research focuses on the early and high medieval periods (c.400-1350), with a particular interest in the early Viking Age. I am presently, or have very recently been, involved with the following projects:

'Viking' Graves? Death, Burial and Identity in Early Medieval Britain and Ireland (2009-11).This IRCHSS-funded postdoctoral project expands on research carried out as part of my PhD, specifically, seeking to identify some of the key features of indigenous burial practices in the period before the establishment of insular Scandinavian settlements and communities, by focusing on study areas in England, Scotland and Ireland. Through this research, it is hoped to examine the form and extent of indigenous influences on insular Scandinavian burial practices in the period before furnished burial was abandoned. This will form part of a book on The Viking Graves of Britain and Ireland, a study of the social significance of furnished burial in early Viking Age Ireland and Britain.

The Irish Viking Graves Project (1999-Present). This National Museum of Ireland-funded project began in 1999, and has continued sporadically ever since. Its objective is the publication of the first comprehensive and accurate catalogue of Irish Viking Graves and Grave-Goods. To achieve this, extensive research has been carried out at a number of archives, and all artefacts associated with Irish Viking graves, whether at the National Museum of Ireland or elsewhere, have been re-examined. The resulting publication, which is now in press, will represent the most important work on the subject for over a century.

The Woodstown 6 Supplementary Research Project (2007). Funded by the Dept of Enviroment, Heritage and Local Government through ACS Ltd, this project assessed three earlier archaeological campaigns at Woodstown 6, Co. Waterford, a site discovered on the original route of the N25 Wateford bypass, and carried out limited targeted excavations at the site. The site, a D-shaped enclosure beside the river Suir, has produced good evidence for Hiberno-Norse occupation in the ninth century, most notably a Viking grave. To date, debate has focused on whether this site represents a longphort or Viking ship-fortress. The quality and quantity of artefacts recovered at Woodstown point to a site of unusual economic importance. While the project has been completed, research and publication continue.

The Irish Battlefields Project (2008-9) Funded by the Dept of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and jointly project-managed by Eneclann Ltd and Headland Ltd, this ground-breaking project used a combination of historical (documentary) and archaeological (field) research to identify potential battlefield sites in Ireland. It covered the period 700-1800, and I had specific responsibility for battles fought between AD 800 and 1250. The project is now completed, and it is hoped that some of its findings will be published.