The Black Friary community archaeology project is a unique, hands-on opportunity for students to excavate the buried remains of a 13th century Dominican friary in the town of Trim. Founded in 1263 CE, the friary was the focus of political and ecclesiastical assembly during the late medieval period. In the post-medieval period, the friary buildings were dismantled but the place itself retained significance locally and continued in use as a burial ground. This project is focused on the excavation of the remains of the friary, and has three research components; to investigate the scope and layout of the friary buildings and associated infrastructure, to explore the mortuary contexts of the friary and the later children's burial ground, and to support community engagement with the local people of Trim through an active program of heritage interpretation and outreach.
"I’m from Canada, I’m a student, my second year in anthropology is done. I want to specialise in archaeology, probably more bio-archaeology but I’m not sure yet, all that I know is that I really love archaeology and I found out while doing that field, which gave me a good idea what’s going on in the field, so I really, really like it. I kind of feel like home while doing that and I don’t want to leave."
-Marye-Claude, Université de Montréal (2011)
“I would really like to return next year to see what’s different, we only have a week and a half left of Blackfriary, and even though I’ve learned a lot it doesn’t seem like I’ve learned that much at the same time; there’s so much to do, so much to learn in four weeks and its all gone by way to quickly. But I found that I really like osteo-archaeology, I found I really like finding bodies, discovering if it’s human or not, how old it night be or what bone it is. So it’s all very interesting and I’d love to come back next year.”
-Malika, Western Washington University (2011)
“The first time I went to Ireland to participate in the Irish Archaeological Field School was my first time travelling out of the country alone, as well as my first real excavation experience. I had no idea where I was or what to expect. The second time I went, I could barely contain my excitement because, in a sense, I was going home….both times, I have been amazed (but welcomed) how quickly the students bond with one another. All aspects of the excavation are taught, from excavation techniques to surveying techniques, recording techniques and onward. The practical knowledge that comes out of an excavation such as this, along with the memories that come alongside it, is a unique and beneficial experience I would recommend to any archaeology student or even any person merely interested in this field. Thanks to my IAFS experience, I have made friends from all over the world and from all across my native United States. It was for that reason, even, that I found myself in Australia this past semester on a study abroad experience, taking university classes with team members and friends from my first field school group”.
-Emma, Hofstra University (2010)
"My time in Ireland participating in the Blackfriary excavations was one of the most fantastic experiences I have ever had. It is always tough to go off on an adventure alone, but IFR made it so easy by organizing accommodations and food, and by letting me know that there would be help at every step of the way. The Blackfriary site was incredible; excavating bones and church architecture, as well as getting to know the community made this the best excavation that I have participated in and I can't wait to go back! I learned what I want to do with my career in archaeology, and what direction I want to take, and I feel that because this opportunity allows for the chance to explore archaeology and also Ireland, it is one that should not be passed up."
-Hilary, Wilfred Laurier University (2013)