Since 2006 the CAF has been involved in teaching fieldwork techniques to the next generation of archaeologists in Northern Ireland through our annual undergraduate training excavation (GAP2039 Archaeological Excavation). In recent years the training excavation has taken place at Struell Wells, Co. Down (2012 and 2014) and Dundrum Castle, Co. Down (2013). Photos of the excavation at Struell can be viewed in our photo gallery. In 2009, 2010 and 2011 the training excavation took place at Dunluce Castle, Co. Antrim, in collaboration with Dr Colin Breen of the Centre for Maritime Archaeology (CMA), University of Ulster (UU), in a project funded by NIEA. The three seasons of fieldwork uncovered an abandoned 17th century village including a cobbled street and an extremely well-preserved house foundation. Among the artefacts found were numerous Scottish coins, English and German pottery, tobacco pipes, bottle and window glass, gaming pieces, a harp tuner, a Polish token and a fragment of a bone comb. The excavation was also open to the public through Northern Ireland Environment Agency's 'Archaeology Days'. In 2011 it was attended by a number of school children from local primary schools as well as a local historical society.
The CAF is also involved in the delivery of the Masters in Professional Archaeology which is led Dr Colm Donnelly and Dr Emily Murray. The course was first offered to students in the 2010/2011 academic year and has attracted more than double the number of students for the 2011/2012 academic year. In 2011 the Masters students had the opportunity to take part in the Irish-American Heritage Archaeological Program in conjunction with the University of Massachussets. To find out more about the most recent season of excavation visit the blog.