Eugene Costello

Dr. Eugene Costello is an archaeologist and historian whose main research interests lie in the landscapes, farming practices and social structures of rural communities in later medieval and post-medieval Europe.

He was awarded a First-Class Honours BA by University College Cork in 2011 and an MA (Distinction) by University of Sheffield in 2012. He received his PhD from National University of Ireland, Galway, in 2016, having undertaken interdisciplinary research on seasonal movements of people and livestock, known as transhumance, in Ireland from the late 16th century to the early 20th century. Since then he has worked as a National Endowment for the Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Notre Dame in the USA and has taught medieval archaeology at NUI Galway. His postdoctoral research has investigated the social implications of seasonal movement to upland pastures, highlighting the agency of young women as herders of dairy cows at shieling sites in Ireland, Scotland and Scandinavian countries. He has also recently edited the first-ever book on the historical archaeology of transhumance practices across Europe.

Currently, Dr Costello is Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities at Stockholm University, where he is launching a new research project on the adaptability of upland farmers in northern Europe over the medieval-to-modern transition as they interacted with wider economic and climatic changes. This forms part of an exciting new cross-disciplinary initiative which looks at the origins and implications of living in the Anthropocene from the perspective of humanities, law and social sciences (see At the same time, Dr Costello is completing a book manuscript under contract at Boydell and Brewer and he maintains a secondary interest in the history and archaeology of rural Christian worship. Moreover, having grown up a farm, he is keen to use his research to support the identity and heritage of rural people in the present.

Peer-Reviewed Books:

  • Costello, E. [under contract] Transhumance and the Landscape in Ireland. Garden and Landscape History 7. Boydell & Brewer: Woodbridge, UK.
  • Costello, E. & Svensson, E. (eds.) 2018. Historical Archaeologies of Transhumance across Europe. Themes in Contemporary Archaeology 6. Routledge: London. DOI: 10.4324/9781351213394.

Peer-Reviewed Articles:

  • Costello, E. In preparation. Capitalist farming and the (on-going) transformation of rural Europe: is there an archaeological perspective?
  • Costello, E. In preparation. Landscape learning and the colonisation of upland environments in later historical Britain and Ireland.
  • Costello, E. 2018. Temporary freedoms? Ethnoarchaeology of female herders at seasonal sites in northern Europe. World Archaeology 50(2), 1-20 (‘Online First’ version). DOI: 10.1080/00438243.2018.1472633.
  • Costello, E. 2017. Medieval memories and the reformation of religious identity: Catholic and Anglican interactions with parish church sites in Ireland. Post-Medieval Archaeology 51(2), 332-353. DOI: 10.1080/00794236.2017.1377512.
  • Costello, E. 2017. Liminal learning: social practice in seasonal settlements of western Ireland. Journal of Social Archaeology 17(2), 188-209. DOI: 10.1177/1469605317708378.
  • Costello, E. 2016. Feirmeoirí faoi cheilt: dul chun cinn agus dúshláin sa taighde faoi ghnás an bhuailteachais [The hidden farmers: progress and challenges in the study of transhumance]. Béaloideas: Journal of the Folklore Society of Ireland 84, 191-210.
  • Costello, E. 2016. Seasonal settlement and the interpretation of upland archaeology in the Galtee Mountains, Ireland. Landscape History 37(1), 87-98. DOI: 10.1080/01433768.2016.1176437.
  • Costello, E. 2015. Post-medieval upland settlement and the decline of transhumance: a case-study from the Galtee Mountains, Ireland. Landscape History 36(1), 47-69. DOI: 10.1080/01433768.2015.1044283.

Peer-Reviewed Chapters

  • Costello, E. 2018. Morphology of transhumant settlements in post-medieval south Connemara: a case-study in adaptation. In: E. Costello & E. Svensson (eds.), Historical Archaeologies of Transhumance across Europe. Themes in Contemporary Archaeology 6. Routledge: London, 93-108. DOI: 10.4324/9781351213394.
  • Costello, E. & Svensson, E. 2018. Transhumant pastoralism in historic landscapes: beginning a European perspective. In: E. Costello & E. Svensson (eds.), Historical Archaeologies of Transhumance across Europe. Themes in Contemporary Archaeology 6. Routledge: London, 1-14. DOI: 10.4324/9781351213394.
  • Costello, E. 2016. Seasonal management of cattle in the booleying system: new insights from South Connemara, western Ireland. In: M. O'Connell, F. Kelly & J.H. McAdam (eds.), Cattle in ancient and modern Ireland: farming practices, environment and economy. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars, 66-74.

Other Publications:

  • Costello, E. 2017. Recent advancements in the study of past Irish transhumance practices. Áitreabh: Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement Newsletter 21, 19-20.
  • Costello, E. 2016. Review: S. Ó Síocháin, E. Slater, & L. Downey, (eds.) 2015. Rundale: settlement, society, and farming. Ulster Folk and Transport Museum, Cultra. Journal of Irish Archaeology 24, 195-196.
  • Costello, E. & Corcoran, M. 2016. A report on the Annual Conference, Belfast, 8-10 May. Áitreabh: Group for the Study of Irish Historic Settlement Newsletter 20, 18-20.
  • Costello, E. 2015. Booleying in the Galtee Mountains. Kilbehenny-Anglesboro Journal 24, 11-13.
  • Costello, E. 2012. Beithígh ar buaile: transhumance in 19th and 20th century Ireland. Trowel 13, 88-104.
  • Costello, E. 2011. Blossom Gate: a Late Medieval Gatehouse. Kilmallock Journal 8, 11-16.