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Archaeological Volunteer and Excavation Experience

Archaeological Volunteer and Excavation Experience

people around a trench

The contacts given below are for information only and do not represent an endorsement by the School of Archaeology  (v.Nov23)

UCD School of Archaeology (Registered students only)

 Glendalough Field School (ARCH20630)

This training excavation runs for 2 weeks in the late summer and is a formal module as part of the undergraduate programme, usually taken before students enter Level 2. As a module for credit we cannot offer positions to those not part of the programme as we are confined by insurance and limited places. Eligible students are contacted in advance allowing them to register.

 CEAMC Excavations (ARCH41270)

This is a training excavation run in the Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture (CEAMC) as part of the MSc Experimental Archaeology programme during Trimester 2. This is a module for credit and we cannot offer positions to those not part of the programme.

Research Excavations

Each year a small number of research excavations are undertaken with state funding granted by the Royal Irish Academy or other bodies. These are be varied in type and geographic location but usually take unpaid volunteers as a matter of principle (sometime providing accommodation and food). RIA grant recipients are typically announced around February each year. Their research excavation webpage provides information on recent projects and current grant recipients: (opens in a new window)RIA Archaeology Research Excavation Grants.

Community Projects

In recent years there has been a considerable increase in the number of field projects run with or by community groups. These are typically run on a voluntary basis and welcome participants. Projects include graveyard surveys, field name surveys, folklore collecting, recording monuments and excavations. These can be contacted thorough the relevant community group, the (opens in a new window)County Heritage Officers or Community Archaeologist. Examples of projects include:

(opens in a new window)Dig Tralee

(opens in a new window)Discovery Programme

(opens in a new window)Dublin Mountains Community Archaeology Project 2023

(opens in a new window)Fingal Community Archaeology

(opens in a new window)Galway Community Archaeology

(opens in a new window)Glendalough Community Excavation

(opens in a new window)Historic Graves

(opens in a new window)iCAN - the Irish Community Archive Network

(opens in a new window)QUB Centre for Community Archaeology

(opens in a new window)Resurrecting Monuments, Community Archaeology Group

(opens in a new window)Sligo Community Archaeology Project

(opens in a new window)St. Anne's Park Community Archaeology


International Volunteer Opportunities

There are a wide range of opportunities to gain experience many of which are long running research programmes.

(opens in a new window)American Society of Overseas Research: Affiliated Archaeological Projects

(opens in a new window)Archaeological Fieldwork Opportunities Bulletin

(opens in a new window)Archaeology in France: Volunteer excavation or visit an archaeological site

(opens in a new window)Archaeology Scotland: Volunteering

(opens in a new window)Biblical Archaeology Society: Digs

(opens in a new window)British Archaeological Jobs Resource

(opens in a new window)Council for British Archaeology: Volunteering

(opens in a new window)DigIt Scotland

(opens in a new window)EarthWatch

(opens in a new window)Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens (IIHSA): For Students

(opens in a new window)ProjectsAbroad.ie: Archaeology Opportunities Abroad

(opens in a new window)US National Park Service: Volunteering

(opens in a new window)Vindolanda Charitable Trust: Excavation Volunteers

(opens in a new window)VolunteerForever: Archaeological Dig & Excavation Volunteer Programs Around the World

(opens in a new window)York Archaeology

Laboratory and Museum Opportunities

There are no formal programmes for voluntary laboratory work but there can be ad hoc opportunities during the year. Bodies such as the National Museum of Ireland sometimes host work experience students or transition year placements: (opens in a new window)NMI: Volunteers, Interns, Work Experience, Transition Years.


Commercial Field Schools in Ireland

For volunteering positions there are two main options: field schools and research excavations. Many of the Field Schools run in Ireland charge people fees to participate for credits but there can be places at no cost for some Irish participants.

(opens in a new window)Blackfriary Archaeology Field School

(opens in a new window)Dig Ventures

(opens in a new window)Irish Archaeological Field School

(opens in a new window)University of Galway: Archaeological Field Schools

Commercial Companies

Commercial archaeology is linked to the construction industry and there is a Facebook page called “Archaeological Jobs in Ireland” where many of the companies advertise opportunities. This can be used it to see current openings and also to identify the active companies to which to send your CV.: (opens in a new window)https://www.facebook.com/groups/39780007909/. This is a moderated page so that any advertisements should provide a minimum of information such as pay, location, duration and any extras so it is a good place to start. Please note that most commercial field positions require (opens in a new window)SafePass and Manual Handling training in advance. For Britain the (opens in a new window)British Archaeological Jobs Resource maintains a listing of available positions.

(opens in a new window)Archaeology jobs in Europe

(opens in a new window)Australian Archaeological Association: Find a job

(opens in a new window)Chartered Institute for Archaeologists: Jobs

US based professional jobs: (opens in a new window)Shovelbums

Contact UCD School of Archaeology

Newman Building, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 8312 | E: archaeology@ucd.ie