Dr Michelle Comber
Michelle Comber, Archaeological, Excavation And Academic Director
Dr. Michelle Comber is a graduate of the Department of Archaeology, National University of Ireland, Galway,having completed her primary degree in 1994, Masters degree in 1996 and PhD in 2000. She was a National University of Ireland Fellow, 1996 – 1998, and Government of Ireland Scholar, IRCHSS Scholarships in the Humanities and Social Sciences 1998 – 2000. She held a one-year post-doctoral research post at the Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change at NUI, Galway 2001–02 (now the Moore Institute), and has over 18 years excavation experience. She has been tutoring and lecturing part-time with the Archaeology Department at NUI, Galway since 1994, and is currently course manager for the department’s evening diplomas in archaeology. She has been appointed Academic Director of an Irish Studies Online programme, a series of web-based courses in Irish Studies developed by NUI, Galway in conjunction with Regis University, Denver, Colorado.
Her research interests lie mainly in the archaeology of Ireland’s Early Medieval period, especially its fine metalwork, economy and settlement. She is currently also studying landscapes of the first millennium AD. Projects examining settlement landscapes have already been completed on the Maree peninsula, Co. Galway, north Donegal coast, Beara peninsula, Co. Cork, the Killarney Valley, Co. Kerry, the Garranes region of mid-Cork, and an ongoing research project focused on the Burren, Co. Clare. Additional interests include material culture and its economic significance.
Michelle began excavating in 1993 at the prehistoric copper mine and work-camp at Ross Island, Co. Kerry (project directed by Prof. William O’Brien), and went on to work at a variety of sites including Mooghaun Hillfort, Co. Clare, Teltown linear earthwork, Co. Meath, Lissyviggeen stone circle and henge, Co. Kerry, various sites in an upland landscape, Beara peninsula, Co. Cork, Cashel Hillfort, Co. Cork, Knockatreenane barrow, Co. Cork, and a number of sites in the Burren, Co. Clare. She worked her way from student volunteer to excavation director. At a post-excavation level, Michelle has completed analysis and published reports on Michael Duignan’s excavations at Rathgurreen ringfort, Co. Galway, and Tom Fanning’s excavations at Rinnaraw cashel, Co. Donegal. She is also a published artefact-illustrator, Early Medieval artefact specialist, archaeological editor and referee. She is a committee member of the Galway County Council Heritage Forum, and Council member of the Discovery Programme.
Select Public Talks
* Seminar given at the University of Glasgow, Scotland (Spring 2000); Early Medieval trade.
* Public Lectures at Stonehill College, Boston, the Irish Cultural Centre, Canton, MA, and the Irish-American Heritage Centre, Chicago (March 2004); The Golden Age of Irish Metalwork, production and producers 500-1000AD.
* Public Lecture Series NUI, Galway (2004, 2006); The Golden Age of Irish Archaeology.
* Public Lecture Series NUI, Galway (2005); An Introduction to the Archaeology of Ireland.
* Lecture given at the Heritage Council’s one-day seminar on the Archaeology Grants Research Scheme 1997 – 2007 (December 2007); Ringforts and the Settlement Landscape of the Burren in the First Millennium AD.
* Lecture given at Burren INSTAR conference, Ballyvaughan (December 2008); Ringforts and their Landscapes in the Burren, Co. Clare.
* Lecture given at one-day seminar on Roads, Lismullin, Co. Meath (September 2009); The road less travelled? The Archaeology of Movement in Early Medieval Ireland, 5th – 12th century AD.
* Lecture given to Ancient Order of Hibernians, Denver, Colorado, USA (November 2009); The Archaeology of Ireland’s ‘Golden Age’.
* Lecture given at Early Medieval Archaeology Project conference, University College Dublin (November 2010); The Landscape of Early Medieval Settlement- as preserved in the Burren region of western Ireland.
1997 ‘Lagore Crannóg and non-ferrous metalworking in Early Historic Ireland.’ Journal of Irish Archaeology 7, 101–14.
2001 ‘Trade and communication networks in Early Historic Ireland.’ Journal of Irish Archaeology 10, 73–92.
2002 ‘M.V. Duignan’s excavations at the ringfort of Rathgurreen, County Galway, 1948 – 1949.’ Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 102C, 137–97.
2003 Contributions to The Encyclopaedia of Ireland. Dublin, Gill and MacMillan.
2004 Native Evidence of Non-ferrous Metalworking in Early Historic Ireland. BAR International Series 1296, Oxford. Pp. 233.
2004 ‘The Early Medieval Settlement Landscape of Killarney.’ In O’Brien, W., Ross Island: Mining, metal and society in early Ireland, 424–37. Galway.
2004 ‘Ross Island and Early Medieval Metallurgy in Ireland.’ In O’Brien, W., Ross Island: Mining, metal and society in early Ireland, 437–50. Galway.
2006 ‘Tom Fanning’s excavations at Rinnaraw cashel, Portnablagh, Co. Donegal.’ Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy106C, 67–124.
2008 The Economy of the Ringfort and Contemporary Settlement in Early Medieval Ireland. BAR International Series 1773, Oxford. Pp. 335.
2008 (with Graham Hull) ‘Caherconnell, Co. Clare, and cashel chronology.’ Archaeology Ireland 22, no.4, 30–3.
2008 (with William O’Brien) ‘Archaeological investigations at Ross Island Cave, Killarney, Co. Kerry.’ Journal of Irish Archaeology 17, 19–56.
2009 ‘Beara in the first millennium AD.’ and other contributions In O’Brien, W. Local Worlds, 58 – 68. Cork, Collins Press.
2010 (with Graham Hull) ‘Excavations at Caherconnell Cashel, the Burren, Co. Clare: implications for cashel chronology and Gaelic settlement.’ Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 110C, 133–73.
Forthcoming Contributions to Hull and Taylor The Archaeology of the N18 Ennis Bypass and N85 Western Relief Road, Co. Clare. NRA Monograph Series.