William O'Brien


Archaeology
Connolly Building
University College Cork
Cork
Ireland

T: +353-21-490-4045
E: W.OBrien@ucc.ie
Head of School
Archaeology
University College Cork
Cork
Ireland

T: +353-21-490-3000
E: W.OBrien@ucc.ie

Professor William O'Brien is a graduate of University College Cork where he completed doctoral research in 1987 on the subject of prehistoric copper mining. Prior to his appointment to the Cork chair in 2006, he lectured for 16 years in the Department of Archaeology, NUI Galway. His research interests include the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age in Ireland, early mining and metallurgy in Atlantic Europe, upland archaeology, the study of hillforts and all aspects of monumentality in the later prehistoric period. He has a particular interest in the prehistory of south-west Ireland, where he has conducted numerous research excavations. He has published widely on these topics, including books on his investigation of the Mount Gabriel mines, on wedge tomb landscapes, on his discovery of the Beaker copper mine at Ross Island, Co. Kerry, on early settlement landscapes and upland farming in the Beara Peninsula, and recently the first general study of the prehistory of the Cork region and the first book on Bronze Age copper mining in Europe. He is currently working on a study of hillforts, warfare and society in Late Bronze Age Ireland.

Research Interests


My research interests lie in Irish and European prehistory and specifically in three areas: early mining and metallurgy in Atlantic Europe, the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age in Ireland (c.2500-600 BC), and the later prehistory of south-west Ireland. Following sustained research over two decades I have a strong interest in all areas of Bronze Age studies, particularly early mining and metal-using societies in Western Europe. I have a broad interest also in the  prehistory of south-west Ireland, having conducted many significant excavations and landscape surveys in this region. My published work is marked by inter-disciplinary collaborations with Irish and international researchers. I am an experienced research excavator, with some 28 projects completed to publication, including many sites that are highly significant to our understanding of Irish prehistory.

These studies commenced in 1982 with doctoral research on Bronze Age copper mines and their wider cultural context. I am a specialist in this field and have developed new approaches towards the understanding of early metal mines and their role in Chalcolithic and Bronze Age societies. My 1994 publication on the Mount Gabriel complex was the first detailed study of Bronze Age copper mining to be completed in north-west Europe. This was followed by the discovery and investigation of a Beaker/Early Bronze Age copper mine at Ross Island in Killarney. The publication of that work in 2004 is now central to our understanding of the origins of metallurgy in Ireland, highlighting the key role of Beaker cultures in the transmission of metallurgical knowledge in the Atlantic zone. The Ross Island project continues to be one of the most detailed studies of an ancient metal mine conducted anywhere in the world. The project included the publication in 2001 of collaboration with researchers in the University of Oxford, where lead isotope analysis was successfully applied to the characterization of early metal sources in Ireland. I am currently continuing my work on early copper mines in south-west Ireland, involving research at Derrycarhoon, Ballydehob, and several sites in the Beara Peninsula. This research over three decades culminated in the publication of the first general book dealing with prehistoric copper mining in Europe (Oxford University Press 2015). 



While interested in the technological aspects, I have approached the study of early mining and metallurgy mostly as a prehistorian interested in Chalcolithic and Bronze Age societies in Ireland. This is evident in a study of Bronze Age megaliths in the Mizen Peninsula published in 1999, which used the beliefs embedded in these monuments as a means of understanding the social context of contemporary copper production and use. The `Sacred Ground' monograph was an important advance in our understanding of the societal context of early mining communities in Ireland, and remains the most comprehensive study of wedge tomb monuments.

From 2001-4 I conducted a study of early settlement landscapes and upland farming in the Beara Peninsula, funded by the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (cycle 2). This involved detailed survey and excavation of ancient farmscapes preserved beneath beneath blanket bog in hill valleys, looking at the settlement history of these locations from late prehistoric to medieval times. The publication of this work in 2009 ('Local Worlds') is the first book dealing with early farming and pre-bog farmscapes in Ireland. The Beara project uncovered exciting new evidence for Iron Age agricultural settlement in the south-west peninsulas, a period of prehistory that is not well understood in southern Ireland.

In 2004 I conducted a new research programme (The Iverni Project) with funding provided by the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences, which is examining the Late Bronze Age/Iron Age transition in south-wes

Book Chapters

YearPublication
(2016)'Language shift and political context in Bronze Age Ireland: some implications of hillfort chronology'
William O'Brien (2016) 'Language shift and political context in Bronze Age Ireland: some implications of hillfort chronology' In: John Koch and Barry Cunliffe (eds). Celtic from the West 3: Atlantic Europe in the Metal Ages. Oxford: Oxbow Books. [Details]
(2013)'Bronze Age copper mining in Europe'
O'Brien, W; (2013) 'Bronze Age copper mining in Europe' In: Oxford Handbook of the Bronze Age. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Details]
(2013)'Copper mining in Ireland during the later Bronze Age'
O'Brien, W. (2013) 'Copper mining in Ireland during the later Bronze Age' In: Mining in European History and its Impact on Environment and Human Societies. Innsbruck, Austria: University of Innsbruck. [CORA Link] [Details]
(2013)'Late prehistoric settlement in mid and north Cork'
O'Brien, W. (2013) 'Late prehistoric settlement in mid and north Cork' In: Generations. The Archaeology of Five National Road Schemes in County Cork. Dublin: National Roads Authority. [Details]
(2013)'Characterising vegetation changes in former minng and metalworking areas during prehistoric and Roman times: perspectives from Britain and Ireland'
Michall, T., Cortizas, A.M., Sanchez, N.S., Timberlake, S., Chambers, F. and O'Brien, W. (2013) 'Characterising vegetation changes in former minng and metalworking areas during prehistoric and Roman times: perspectives from Britain and Ireland' In: Mining in European History and its Impact on Environment and Human Societies. Innsbruck, Austria: University of Innsbruck. [Details]
(2012)'Stone circle or proto-Cashel? An Iron Age enclosure in south-west Ireland'
O'Brien, W; (2012) 'Stone circle or proto-Cashel? An Iron Age enclosure in south-west Ireland' In: Life and Death in Iron Age Ireland. Dublin: Wordwell. [Details]
(2012)'Characterising vegetation changes in former mining and metalworking areas during prehistoric and Roman times'
T. Mighall, S. Timberlake, F. Chambers and W. O'Brien (2012) 'Characterising vegetation changes in former mining and metalworking areas during prehistoric and Roman times' In: Acta Mineraria et Metallurgica. Bergamo, Italy: Notizie Archeologiche Bergomensi. [Details]
(2009)'Hidden Celtic Ireland: indigenous Iron Age settlement in the southwestern peninsulas'
W O'Brien; (2009) 'Hidden Celtic Ireland: indigenous Iron Age settlement in the southwestern peninsulas' In: Relics of Old Decency. Archaeological Studies in Later Prehistory. Dublin: Wordwell. [Details]
(2009)'Beara, south-west Ireland: a liminal cultural landscape'
A. Overland, M. O'Connell and W.O'Brien (2009) 'Beara, south-west Ireland: a liminal cultural landscape' In: Cultural Landscapes of Europe. Bremen: Aschenbeck Media for EU. [Details]
(2007)'Miners and farmers: local settlement contexts for Bronze Age mining'
William O'Brien; (2007) 'Miners and farmers: local settlement contexts for Bronze Age mining' In: Beyond Stonehenge. Oxbow: Festschrift for Colin Burgess. [Details]
(2005)'The prehistory of Killarney'
William O'Brien; (2005) 'The prehistory of Killarney' In: A History of Killarney. unknown: Collins Press. [Details]
(2004)'Con)fusion of tradition: the circle henge in Ireland'
W O'Brien; (2004) 'Con)fusion of tradition: the circle henge in Ireland' In: From Sickles to Circles: Britain and Ireland at the Time of Stonehenge. *: Tempus. [Details]
(2003)'Early metalworking and myth on the lakes of Killarney'
William O'Brien; (2003) 'Early metalworking and myth on the lakes of Killarney' In: Lost and Found: Discovering Ireland¿s Past. Dublin: Wordwell. [Details]
(2003)'Bronze Age mining heritage'
W. O'Brien (2003) 'Bronze Age mining heritage' In: Mine Heritage and Tourism: a Hidden Resource. Dublin: Mining Heritage Trust of Ireland. [Details]
(2003)'Miscellaneous entries'
W. O'Brien (2003) 'Miscellaneous entries' In: The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Dublin: Gill and McMillan. [Details]
(2003)'Early metalworking and myth on the lakes of Killarney'
W. O'Brien (2003) 'Early metalworking and myth on the lakes of Killarney' In: Lost and Found: Discovering Ireland's Past. Dublin: Wordwell. [Details]
(2001)'Killarney in prehistoric times'
W. O'Brien (2001) 'Killarney in prehistoric times' In: Killarney National Park: a Place to Treasure. Cork: The Collins Press. [Details]
(2000)'Megalithic tombs, metal resources and territory in prehistoric south-west Ireland'
William O'Brien; (2000) 'Megalithic tombs, metal resources and territory in prehistoric south-west Ireland' In: New Agendas in Irish Prehistory: Papers in Commemoration of Liz Anderson. Dublin: Wordwell. [Details]
(2000)'Prehistoric copper mining and its impact on vegetation'
W O'Brien, T.M. Mighall, F.M. Chambers, and J.N. Lanting; (2000) 'Prehistoric copper mining and its impact on vegetation' In: People as an Agent of Environmental Change. Symposium of the Association for Environmental Archaeology 16. *: Oxbow Books. [Details]
(1992)'Prehistoric copper mines'
W. O'Brien (1992) 'Prehistoric copper mines' In: Archaeological Inventory of County Cork. Dublin: Stationary Office. [Details]
(1991)'Prehistoric copper mining in south-west Ireland'
W. O'Brien (1991) 'Prehistoric copper mining in south-west Ireland' In: The Illustrated Archaeology of Ireland. Dublin: County House. [Details]
(1988)'Koppargruvorna vid Mount Gabriel'
W. O'Brien (1988) 'Koppargruvorna vid Mount Gabriel' In: Irland: Den Gatfulla On. Stockholm: Statens Historiska Museum. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

YearPublication
(2016)'Glanbane hillfort and the Bronze age in Kerry'
W.O'Brien, J. O'Driscoll and N. Hogan (2016) 'Glanbane hillfort and the Bronze age in Kerry'. Journal of The Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, 16 :77-105 [Details]
(2016)'Clashanimud and the Bronze Age hillforts of Munster'
William O'Brien (2016) 'Clashanimud and the Bronze Age hillforts of Munster'. Emania, 23 :5-30 [Details]
(2015)'Archaeological investigations at Toor More (Corrandhu) hillfort, Co. Kilkenny'
W.O'Brien, N. Hogan and J. O'Driscoll (2015) 'Archaeological investigations at Toor More (Corrandhu) hillfort, Co. Kilkenny'. Journal of The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 144-5 :7-26 [Details]
(2012)'Aspects of fulacht fiadh function and chronology in Cork'
O'Brien, William; (2012) 'Aspects of fulacht fiadh function and chronology in Cork'. Journal of The Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 117 :107-133 [Details]
(2010)'Knockatreenane and the prehistoric barrows of Cork'
O'Brien, W; (2010) 'Knockatreenane and the prehistoric barrows of Cork'. Journal of the Cork Archaeological and Historical Society, 115 :31-62 [Details]
(2008)'Vegetation change during the Mesolithic and Neolithic on the Mizen Peninsula, Co. Cork, south-west Ireland'
Mighall, TM,Timpany, S,Blackford, JJ,Innes, JB,O'Brien, CE,O'Brien, W,Harrison, S (2008) 'Vegetation change during the Mesolithic and Neolithic on the Mizen Peninsula, Co. Cork, south-west Ireland'. Vegetation History And Archaeobotany, 17 :617-628 [DOI] [Details]
(2008)'Archaeological investigations at Ross island cave, Killarney, Co. Kerry'
William O'Brien and Michelle Comber; (2008) 'Archaeological investigations at Ross island cave, Killarney, Co. Kerry'. Journal of Irish Archaeology, 17 :19-56 [Details]
(2003)'The Bronze Age copper mines of the Goleen area, Co. Cork'
William O'Brien; (2003) 'The Bronze Age copper mines of the Goleen area, Co. Cork'. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, 103c :13-59 [Details]
(2001)'Lead isotopes and metal circulation in Beaker/Early Bronze Age Ireland'
William O'Brien, Northover, J. and Stos, S; (2001) 'Lead isotopes and metal circulation in Beaker/Early Bronze Age Ireland'. The Journal of Irish Archaeology, (10):25-48 [Details]
(1997)'Mount Gabriel and metal sourcing in the Bronze Age'
W O'Brien; (1997) 'Mount Gabriel and metal sourcing in the Bronze Age'. Journal of Historical Metallurgy, 31 (1):8-11 [Details]
(1996)'From the Fiery Furnace: Copper sources and Early Irish Metallurgy'
W O'Brien; (1996) 'From the Fiery Furnace: Copper sources and Early Irish Metallurgy'. Occasional Papers in Irish Science and Technology, [Details]
(1992)'An Early Bronze Age metal hoard from a wedge tomb at Toormore, County Cork'
William O'Brien, Northover, J. P. and Cameron, E.; (1992) 'An Early Bronze Age metal hoard from a wedge tomb at Toormore, County Cork'. The Journal of Irish Archaeology, (5):9-17 [Details]
(1992)'Boulder-burials: a later Bronze Age megalith tradition in south-west Ireland'
William O'Brien; (1992) 'Boulder-burials: a later Bronze Age megalith tradition in south-west Ireland'. Journal of the Cork Archaeological and Historical Society, (97):11-35 [Details]
(1990)'Prehistoric copper mining in south-west ireland: the Mount Gabriel mines'
W O'Brien; (1990) 'Prehistoric copper mining in south-west ireland: the Mount Gabriel mines'. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, 56 :269-290 [Details]
(1989)'A primitive mining complex at Derrycarhoon, County Cork'
W O'Brien; (1989) 'A primitive mining complex at Derrycarhoon, County Cork'. Journal of Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 94 :1-18 [Details]
(1987)'The dating of the Mount Gabriel-type mines of West Cork'
W O'Brien; (1987) 'The dating of the Mount Gabriel-type mines of West Cork'. Journal of Cork Historical and Archaeological Society, 92 :50-70 [Details]

Other Journals

YearPublication
(2012)'Derrycarhoon: a Bronze Age copper mine in West Cork'
William O'Brien and Hogan, Nick; (2012) 'Derrycarhoon: a Bronze Age copper mine in West Cork' Archaeology Ireland, 26(1) (99) :12-15. [Details]
(2003)'Bronze Age copper mines at Callaros Oughter and Carrigacat'
William O'Brien; (2003) 'Bronze Age copper mines at Callaros Oughter and Carrigacat' Mizen Journal, :91-102. [Details]
(2002)'Bronze Age copper mining at Boulysallagh, Goleen, Co. Cork'
William O'Brien; (2002) 'Bronze Age copper mining at Boulysallagh, Goleen, Co. Cork' Mizen Journal, :1-16. [Details]
(2001)'Bronze Age copper mining on Ballyrisode Hill, Co. Cork'
William O'Brien; (2001) 'Bronze Age copper mining on Ballyrisode Hill, Co. Cork' Mizen Journal, :5-15. [Details]
(1998)'The protection of mining heritage in Ireland'
W O'Brien; (1998) 'The protection of mining heritage in Ireland' Mining History Society of Ireland newsletter 6, 7 :4-6. [Details]
(1995)'Ross Island: the beginning'
William O'Brien; (1995) 'Ross Island: the beginning' Archaeology Ireland, :24-27. [Details]
(1994)'Bronze Age: The first Golden Age in Europe'
W O'Brien; (1994) 'Bronze Age: The first Golden Age in Europe' European Heritage, 2 :6-10. [Details]
(1993)'Bronze Age copper mining on Mount Gabriel'
William O'Brien; (1993) 'Bronze Age copper mining on Mount Gabriel' Mizen Journal, :27-32. [Details]
(1993)'Bronze Age copper mining in West Cork'
William O'Brien; (1993) 'Bronze Age copper mining in West Cork' Irish Association of Economic Geology Annual Review, :73-75. [Details]
(1993)'Altar Tomb and the prehistory of Mizen'
William O'Brien; (1993) 'Altar Tomb and the prehistory of Mizen' Mizen Journal, :19-26. [Details]

Books

YearPublication
(2015)Prehistoric Copper Mining in Europe, 5500 - 500 BC.
O'Brien, W. (2015) Prehistoric Copper Mining in Europe, 5500 - 500 BC. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Details]
(2012)Iverni: a Prehistory of Cork.
William O'Brien; (2012) Iverni: a Prehistory of Cork. Cork, Ireland: Collins Press. [Details]
(2009)Local Worlds: Early Settlement Landscapes and Upland Farming in South-west Ireland.
W O'Brien; (2009) Local Worlds: Early Settlement Landscapes and Upland Farming in South-west Ireland. Cork: Collins Press. [Details]
(2004)Ross Island. Mining, Metal and Society in Early Ireland.
William O'Brien; (2004) Ross Island. Mining, Metal and Society in Early Ireland. Galway: Galway University Press. [Details]
(1999)Sacred Ground. Megalithic Tombs in Coastal South-west Ireland.
William O'Brien; (1999) Sacred Ground. Megalithic Tombs in Coastal South-west Ireland. Galway: Galway University Press. [Details]
(1996)Bronze Age Copper Mining in Britain and Ireland.
W O'Brien; (1996) Bronze Age Copper Mining in Britain and Ireland. Shire Archaeology: Princes Risborough. [Details]
(1994)Mount Gabriel: Bronze Age Mining in Ireland.
William O'Brien; (1994) Mount Gabriel: Bronze Age Mining in Ireland. Galway: Galway University Press. [Details]

Conference Publications

YearPublication
(2012)The British Chalcolithic: Place and Polity in the later 3rd Millennium BC
William O'Brien; (2012) The Chalcolithic in Ireland: a chronological and cultural framework . In: Allen, Michael J; Gardiner, Julie; Sheridan, Alison; McOmish, David eds. The British Chalcolithic: Place and Polity in the later 3rd Millennium BC Oxbow, , pp.211-225 [Details]
(2011)Povoamento e Exploracao dos Recursos Mineiros
William O'Brien; (2011) Prehistoric copper mining and metallurgical expertise in Ireland . In: Carla Maria Braz Martins, Ana Bettencourt, Jose Inacio Martins and Jorge Carvalho eds. Povoamento e Exploracao dos Recursos Mineiros Braga, Portugal, , pp.337-357 [Details]
(2010)Mining in European History
O'Brien, W; (2010) Copper axes, stone axes: Production and Exchange Systems in the Chalcolithic of Britain and Ireland . In: Anreiter, Peter et al eds. Mining in European History , pp.255-260 [Details]
(2005)La Premiere Metallurgie en France ed dans les Pays Limithrophes, La Société Préhistorique Française
W O'Brien; (2005) La plus ancienne metallurgie du cuivre en Irlande . In: Ambert, P and Vaquer, J eds. La Premiere Metallurgie en France ed dans les Pays Limithrophes, La Société Préhistorique Française Mémoire 37, Travaux, La Société Préhistorique Française, , pp.37-50 [Details]
(2003)Minet Conference
W. O'Brien (2003) Bronze Age mining heritage . In: J. Morris and M. Parkes eds. Minet Conference , pp.51-53 [Details]
(2002)Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe
W O'Brien; (2002) Megaliths in a mythologised landscape: south-west Ireland in the Iron Age . In: Scarre, C eds. Monuments and Landscape in Atlantic Europe Routledge, , pp.152-176 [Details]
(2001)Bell Beakers Today, the Proceedings of the Riva del Garda conference, May 1998, Trento
William O'Brien; (2001) New light on Beaker metallurgy in Ireland . In: Richard Harrison et al eds. Bell Beakers Today, the Proceedings of the Riva del Garda conference, May 1998, Trento Trento, , pp.144-160 [Details]
(1999)Metals in Antiquity, Proceedings of the 1995 Harvard Conference
W O'Brien; (1999) Arsenical copper in early Irish metallurgy . In: Young, S. et al eds. Metals in Antiquity, Proceedings of the 1995 Harvard Conference British Archaeological Reports (International Series), Archaeopress, Oxford, , pp.33-42 [Details]
(1999)The Beginnings of Metallurgy
William O'Brien; (1999) Resource availability and metal supply in the insular Bronze Age . In: Hauptmann et al eds. The Beginnings of Metallurgy , pp.227-235 [Details]
(1998)Paleometallurgie des Cuivres, Actes du colloque de Bourge-en-Bress et Beaune
W O'Brien; (1998) La mine de cuivre de Ross Island et la metallurgie chacolithique en Irlande . In: Frere-Sautot, M eds. Paleometallurgie des Cuivres, Actes du colloque de Bourge-en-Bress et Beaune , pp.101-107 [Details]
(1998)English Heritage Conference, London
W O'Brien; (1998) Approaches to the study of metal in the insular Bronze Age . In: J Bayley eds. English Heritage Conference, London , pp.109-122 [Details]
(1997)Human Interactions with the Irish Quaternary
W. O'Brien (1997) Early mining and its impact on the Irsh landscape . In: J. Morris and M. Parkes eds. Human Interactions with the Irish Quaternary , pp.11-14 [Details]
(1995)Ireland in the Bronze Age, Dublin Castle conference
W O'Brien; (1995) Ross Island and the origins of Irish-British metallurgy . In: J Waddell, E, Shee eds. Ireland in the Bronze Age, Dublin Castle conference , pp.38-48 [Details]
(1993)Past Perceptions: the Prehistoric Archaeology of South-west Ireland
W O'Brien; (1993) Early metallurgy in Cork and Kerry Past Perceptions: the Prehistoric Archaeology of South-west Ireland , pp.85-92 [Details]
(1993)Past Perceptions: the Prehistoric Archaeology of South-west Ireland
W O'Brien; (1993) Aspects of wedge tomb chronology . In: E Shee-Twohig, M. Ronayne eds. Past Perceptions: the Prehistoric Archaeology of South-west Ireland Cork University Press, , pp.63-74 [Details]
(1990)Early Metal Mining in the British Isles
O'Brien, W, Ixer, R, O'Sullivan M; (1990) Copper resources in prehistory: an Irish perspective . In: Peter Crew and Susan Crew eds. Early Metal Mining in the British Isles Plas Tan y Bwlch, Wales, , pp.30-35 [Details]

Abstract

YearPublication
(2001)Killarney in Prehistoric times.
W O'Brien; (2001) Killarney in Prehistoric times. Abstract [Details]
(1997)Early metal mining and its impact on the Irish Landscape.
W O'Brien; (1997) Early metal mining and its impact on the Irish Landscape. Dublin: Abstract [Details]
(1991)Prehistoric copper mining in south-west Ireland.
W O'Brien; (1991) Prehistoric copper mining in south-west Ireland. Dublin: Abstract [Details]
(1988)Koppargruvorna vid Mount Gabriel.
W O'Brien; (1988) Koppargruvorna vid Mount Gabriel. Stockholm: Abstract [Details]

Articles

YearPublication
(2005)The prehistory of Killarney.
W O'Brien; (2005) The prehistory of Killarney. Ireland: Articles [Details]
(2003)Bronze Age mining heritage.
William O'Brien; (2003) Bronze Age mining heritage. Dublin: Articles [Details]

Encyclopedia Entries

YearPublication
(2003)Miscellaneous entries: The Encyclopedia of Ireland.
W O'Brien; (2003) Miscellaneous entries: The Encyclopedia of Ireland. Dublin:Gill and MacMillan. Encyclopedia Entries. [Details]

Field Guide

YearPublication
(2002)Miscellaneous entries.
W O'Brien; (2002) Miscellaneous entries. Ireland: Field Guide [Details]
(1996)Archaeological Investigations at Ross Island.
W O'Brien; (1996) Archaeological Investigations at Ross Island. Kerry: Field Guide [Details]
(1992)Prehistoric copper mines.
William O'Brien; (1992) Prehistoric copper mines. Field Guide [Details]

Journal Volume Edited

YearPublication
(1997)The Journal of Irish Archaeology.
O'Brien, W. (1997) The Journal of Irish Archaeology. Journal Volume Edited [Details]
(2002)The Journal of Irish Archaeology.
O'Brien, W. (2002) The Journal of Irish Archaeology. Journal Volume Edited [Details]
(2001)The Journal of Irish Archaeology.
O'Brien, W. (2001) The Journal of Irish Archaeology. Journal Volume Edited [Details]
(1998)The Journal of Irish Archaeology.
O'Brien, W. (1998) The Journal of Irish Archaeology. Journal Volume Edited [Details]

Magazine article

YearPublication
(2014)Clashanimud hillfort and Bronze Age warfare in Cork.
O'Brien, W. (2014) Clashanimud hillfort and Bronze Age warfare in Cork. Skibbereen: Magazine article [Details]

Other

YearPublication
(2009)Beara, south-west Ireland: a limited cultural landscape.
W O'Brien, A Overland and M O'Connell; (2009) Beara, south-west Ireland: a limited cultural landscape. Other [Details]

Honours and Awards

 YearTitleAwarding Body
1982College Scholar Award, UCC University College Cork
1997Trevelyan Research Fellow, University of Durham University of Durham
2008Elected member, Royal Irish Academy Royal Irish Academy

Conference Contributions

YearPublication
(2016)Trade before Civilization,
William O'Brien (2016) Hillforts, Trade and Society in Bronze Age Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Trade before Civilization, University of Gothenberg, Sweden , 27-MAY-16 - 28-MAY-16. [Details]
(2016)Prehistoric Conflict Research: Bronze Age Hillforts between Taunus and Carpathian Mountains,
William O'Brien (2016) Bronze Age hillforts in Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Prehistoric Conflict Research: Bronze Age Hillforts between Taunus and Carpathian Mountains, Goethe University Frankfurt , 07-DEC-16 - 09-DEC-16. [Details]
(2016)'A Matter of Time',
William O'Brien (2016) Annual conference, Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 'A Matter of Time', Galway , 29-APR-16 - 30-APR-16. [Details]
(2015)Archaeometallurgy 2015,
W.O'Brien (2015) Information flow and the early spread of metallurgical knowledge in Atlantic Europe. [Keynote Speaker], Archaeometallurgy 2015, University of Madrid . [Details]
(2015)European Association of Archaeologists,
W. O'Brien and J. O'Driscoll (2015) Warfare and the destruction of hillforts in Bronze Age Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], European Association of Archaeologists, University of Glasgow , 02-SEP-15 - 05-SEP-15. [Details]
(2015)The Hillforts of Britain and Ireland,
W.O'Brien (2015) Recent research on hillfort chronology in Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], The Hillforts of Britain and Ireland, University of Oxford , 27-NOV-15 - 29-NOV-15. [Details]
(2014)Atlantic Europe in the Metal Ages,
W. O'Brien (2014) Recent research on Bronze Age hillforts in Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Atlantic Europe in the Metal Ages, University College Cardiff . [Details]
(2013)Ireland and Germany: Past and Present Connections’,
W. O'Brien (2013) Prehistoric Cork and the outside world. [Oral Presentation], Ireland and Germany: Past and Present Connections’, Rosscarbery, Co. Cork . [Details]
(2013)Bronze Age Forum,
W. O'Brien (2013) Derrycarhoon and Later Bronze Age copper mining in Ireland. [Oral Presentation], Bronze Age Forum, Queens University, Belfast . [Details]
(2013)‘Cork Connections’,
W. O'Brien (2013) The meeting of cultures: 8000 years of Cork connections with the outside world. [Oral Presentation], ‘Cork Connections’, UCC . [Details]
(2013)Bronze Age Forum,
W. O'Brien (2013) Hillforts and Bronze Age warfare in Ireland. [Oral Presentation], Bronze Age Forum, University of Sheffield . [Details]
(2012)Europa Conference of The Prehistoric Society,
W. O'Brien (2012) Beakers and early copper mining in Atlantic Europe, 2500–2000 BC. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Europa Conference of The Prehistoric Society, University of Durham, England . [Details]
(2012)Europa Conference of The Prehistoric Society,
W. O'Brien (2012) Hillforts, warfare and society in Late Bronze Age Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Europa Conference of The Prehistoric Society, University of Reading, England . [Details]
(2010)Celts from the West,
W. O'Brien (2010) Celts, Romans and the indigenous Late Bronze Age /Iron Age of south-west Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Celts from the West, University of Oxford . [Details]
(2009)Archaeometallurgy: Technological, Economic and Social Perspectives in Late Prehistoric Europe’,
W. O'Brien (2009) The introduction of tin-bronze to Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Archaeometallurgy: Technological, Economic and Social Perspectives in Late Prehistoric Europe’, Madrid, Spain . [Details]
(2009)Mining in European History,
W. O'Brien (2009) Stone axes, copper axes: mining, production and exchange in the Chalcolithic of Atlantic Europe. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Mining in European History, University of Innsbruck . [Details]
(2008)Prehistoric Society conference on British Chalcolithic,
W. O'Brien (2008) Metal supply and social relations in Chalcolithic Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Prehistoric Society conference on British Chalcolithic, Bournemouth, England . [Details]
(2007)Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland ANNUAL conference,
W. O'Brien (2007) Knockatreenane and prehistoric barrows in Cork. [Oral Presentation], Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland ANNUAL conference, Cork city . [Details]
(2007)Recent Research on Irish Iron Age,
W. O'Brien (2007) Iron Age stone circles? Continuity and change in ritual practices in late prehistoric Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Recent Research on Irish Iron Age, Society of Antiquaries, Dublin . [Details]
(2006)Bronze Age Forum,
W. O'Brien (2006) Goodbye to all that. Aspects of fulachtai fai function in prehistoric Ireland. [Oral Presentation], Bronze Age Forum, UCD, Dublin . [Details]
(2005)European Association of Archaeologists annual conference,
W. O'Brien (2005) Upland settlement and early agriculture in south-west Ireland. [Oral Presentation], European Association of Archaeologists annual conference, UCC . [Details]
(2003)conference on agricultural field systems,
W. O'Brien (2003) Upland settlement and early farming in south-west Ireland. [Oral Presentation], conference on agricultural field systems, UCD, Dublin . [Details]
(2003)Beara: Early Settlement and Society in South-west Ireland’ conference,
W. O'Brien (2003) The Barrees Landscape: 4000 years of Settlement in a Beara valley. [Oral Presentation], Beara: Early Settlement and Society in South-west Ireland’ conference, Centre for the Study of Human Settlement and Historical Change, NUI Galwa . [Details]
(2002)La première métallurgie ent France et dans les pays limotrophes, colluque international,
W. O'Brien (2002) The earliest copper metallurgy in Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], La première métallurgie ent France et dans les pays limotrophes, colluque international, Carcassonne, France . [Details]
(2002)Bronze Age Studies Group conference,
W. O'Brien (2002) Miners and Farmers: exploring Bronze Age Settlement in South-west Ireland. [Oral Presentation], Bronze Age Studies Group conference, University of Newcastle . [Details]
(2002)Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology conference,
W. O'Brien (2002) Trouble in Paradise: post-medieval mining in the Killarney area. [Oral Presentation], Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology conference, Trinity College, Dublin . [Details]
(2000)European Association of Archaeologists annual conference,
W. O'Brien (2000) Megaliths in a mythologised landscape: the Iron Age in south-west Ireland. [Oral Presentation], European Association of Archaeologists annual conference, Lisbon, Portugal . [Details]
(1999)New Agendas in Irish Prehistory,
W. O'Brien (1999) Megaliths, resources and territory in prehistoric south-west Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], New Agendas in Irish Prehistory, UCC . [Details]
(1999)'The Beginnings of Metallurgy in the Old World',
W. O'Brien (1999) Metal sourcing in the Irish Bronze Age: the relevance of the SAM programme. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], 'The Beginnings of Metallurgy in the Old World', University of Freiberg, Germany . [Details]
(1999)National conference on mine heritage tourism,
W. O'Brien (1999) Bronze Age mining heritage in Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], National conference on mine heritage tourism, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary . [Details]
(1997)Colloque de Cuivre,
W. O'Brien (1997) Ross Island copper mine and Beaker metallurgy in Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Colloque de Cuivre, Bourg-en-Bresse, France . [Details]
(1997)Science in Archaeology,
W. O'Brien (1997) Ore to metal: approaches to production and exchange in the insular Bronze Age. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Science in Archaeology, English Heritage, London . [Details]
(1997)Metals in Antiquity,
W. O'Brien (1997) Arsenical copper in early Irish metallurgy. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Metals in Antiquity, Harvard University, USA . [Details]
(1996)Irish Association for Quaternary Studies annual conference,
W. O'Brien (1996) The environmental impact of ancient metal mining. [Oral Presentation], Irish Association for Quaternary Studies annual conference, Dublin . [Details]
(1995)Early Mining and Metallurgy,
W. O'Brien (1995) Early Beaker mining and metallurgy in south-west Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Early Mining and Metallurgy, British Museum, London . [Details]
(1995)Recent Developments in Archaeometallurgy,
W. O'Brien (1995) Recent developments in early Irish metallurgy. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Recent Developments in Archaeometallurgy, University of Sheffield . [Details]
(1995)Ireland in the Bronze Age,
W. O'Brien (1995) Ross Island and the origins of Irish-British metallurgy. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Ireland in the Bronze Age, Dublin Castle, Dublin . [Details]
(1995)European Association of Archaeologists annual conference,
W. O'Brien (1995) The impact of resource availability on early metallurgy in Atlantic Europe. [Oral Presentation], European Association of Archaeologists annual conference, Santiago de Compostela, Spain . [Details]
(1995)The Bronze Age in Atlantic Europe,
W. O'Brien (1995) Copper resources and the development of early metallurgy in Atlantic Europe. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], The Bronze Age in Atlantic Europe, Lisbon, Portugal . [Details]
(1994)Earthwatch annual conference,
W. O'Brien (1994) The Ross Island project: new light on the beginnings of Irish metallurgy. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Earthwatch annual conference, Harvard University, USA . [Details]
(1992)Bronze Age Studies Group annual meeting,
W. O'Brien (1992) Wedge Tomb chronology: the Toormore Bay project. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Bronze Age Studies Group annual meeting, British Museum, London . [Details]
(1992)The Prehistory of South-west Ireland,
W. O'Brien (1992) Megalithic tombs and early metallurgy in south-west Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], The Prehistory of South-west Ireland, University College Cork . [Details]
(1992)Earthwatch annual conference,
W. O'Brien (1992) The Ross Island project: early metallurgy in County Kerry. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Earthwatch annual conference, Harvard University, USA . [Details]
(1989)Early Metal Mining in the British Isles,
W. O'Brien (1989) Bronze Age copper mining in Ireland. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Early Metal Mining in the British Isles, Plas tan y Bwlch, Wales . [Details]

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
Institute of Irish Archaeologists Member/
European Association of Archaeologists Member/

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
Historical Metallurgy Society Archaeology Committee1991 / 1994
Bronze Age Campaign, Council of Europe Irish Delegate1993 / 1996
Irish Bronze Age Campaign Committee Secretary1995 / 1995
Prehistoric Society, London Council member1997 / 1998
The Discovery Programme, Dublin Director1996 / 2000
National Committee for Archaeology, Royal Irish Academy Member (Chair 2009-2013)2004 /
Fellowships Renewals Committee, IRCHSS Member 2005-20102005 /
National Monuments Advisory Committee, Cork County Council Advisor2006 / 2008
Academy Committee for Archaeology, Royal Irish Academy. Chair2009 /
Minius journal, University of Vigo, Spain. Editorial Board2010 /
Council, Cork Historical and Archaeological Society President (and Council member 2006-15)2012 / 2015

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
Dept of Archaeology, UCC Postgraduate Demonstrator01-JAN-82 / 31-DEC-85
Dept of Archaeology, UCC Part-time Lecturer01-JAN-85 / 31-DEC-87
Dept of Archaeology, UCC Full-time contract lecturer01-JAN-87 / 31-DEC-90
Dept of Archaeology, NUI Galway Acting Head of Department01-JAN-03 / 31-DEC-03
Georgia Southern University, USA Visiting Professor01-JAN-04 / 31-DEC-04
Faculty of Arts, NUI Galway Vice-Dean (Research)01-JAN-05 / 31-DEC-06
National University of Ireland, Galway Junior Lecturer (below bar)01-JAN-90 / 01-JAN-96
Dept of Archaeology, NUI, Galway College Lecturer (above bar)01-JAN-96 / 01-JAN-01
Dept of Archaeology, NUI, Galway Senior Lecturer (statutory)01-JAN-01 / 01-JAN-06
Dept of Archaeology, UCC Professor of Archaeology01-JAN-06 /

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
1982University College Cork BAArchaeology and Classical Civilisation
1987University College Cork PHDArchaeology

Outreach Activities

 Description

I regularly lecture to local and national archaeology societies, and also lead field excursion to archaeological sites. I also visit schools in the Cork area to give presentations on archaeology.

Teaching Interests

I deliver foundation teaching in archaeology to First Year students in the BA degree. This provides an introduction to the discipline of archaeology, its history, theoretical concerns and methods. The course also provides a general introduction to Irish prehistory. My responsibility at second and third year BA level is to deliver foundation-level teaching in European later prehistory (AR2033 Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe), as well as advanced teaching on Irish prehistory (AR3021 Prehistoric Societies in Ireland).

 I am programme director and principal lecturer for the MA in Archaeological Excavation, a one-year course that commenced in October 2010. This full-time course provides advanced training in the theory and practice of excavation, which is a key area in the practice of archaeology as an academic and professional discipline.

 

I have a particular interest in adult education, recognizing the important contribution that enthusiastic mature students can make to local archaeology and heritage protection. I teach in the evening Certificate in Archaeology offered by UCC. I also give talks to local and national archaeology/heritage societies.

Current Postgraduate Students

 StudentDegree Type
Coleman Adel Ellen Doctoral Degree
Dolan Robert Martin Masters Degree by Research
Burlot Aurelien Doctoral Degree
O Driscoll James Stephen Doctoral Degree
Busher O Sullivan Clare Frances Masters Degree by Research
Lineen Jim Masters Degree by Research
O Sullivan Gillian Mary Masters Degree by Research

Modules Taught

 Term (ID))TitleLinkSubject
2017Training Excavation AR6008Training Excavation
2017The Archaeology of Prehistoric Ireland AR1011The Archaeology of Prehistoric Ireland
2017Cultural Heritage Tourism Project AR1807Cultural Heritage Tourism Project
2017Archaeological Survey and Remote Sensing AR6013Archaeological Survey and Remote Sensing
2017The Concept of Heritage Tourism in Ireland AR1804The Concept of Heritage Tourism in Ireland
2017Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork AR2045Introduction to Archaeological Fieldwork
2017The Museum Environment AR6023The Museum Environment
2017The Practice of Heritage Tourism in Ireland AR1805The Practice of Heritage Tourism in Ireland
2017The Development of Archaeological Thought AR2016The Development of Archaeological Thought
2017Transitions in Prehistory: Ireland in the Third Millennium BC AR3055Transitions in Prehistory: Ireland in the Third Millennium BC
2017Archaeology Field Project AR1013Archaeology Field Project
2017Cultural Heritage and National Identity AR1806Cultural Heritage and National Identity
2017Landscape Archaeology AR3053Landscape Archaeology
2017Archaeological Excavation: Strategy and Practice AR6005Archaeological Excavation: Strategy and Practice
2017Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe AR2033Chalcolithic and Bronze Age Europe
2017Museum Curation: Objects, Their Collection, Recording and Presentation AR6028Museum Curation: Objects, Their Collection, Recording and Presentation
2017Introduction to Archaeology AR1010Introduction to Archaeology
2017Research Skills Seminar AR6002Research Skills Seminar
2017The Archaeology of Historic Ireland AR1012The Archaeology of Historic Ireland
2017Dissertation AR6001Dissertation
2017Artefact Studies AR2014Artefact Studies
2017Post-Excavation Analysis and Interpretation AR6006Post-Excavation Analysis and Interpretation
2017Case Studies in Archaeological Excavation AR6007Case Studies in Archaeological Excavation
2017The Archaeology of Ireland in Context AR1001The Archaeology of Ireland in Context
2017Archaeological Excavation: Planning and Research Design AR6004Archaeological Excavation: Planning and Research Design