Lough Key Archaeological Project Staff

Thomas Finan, PhD, FSA
Associate Professor of History
Director, Center for Digital Humanities
Saint Louis University

For nearly fifteen years Thomas Finan has been leading archaeological research projects in Ireland, mostly focussing on the medieval rural settlement of north Roscommon. He has published widely on the area with books and articles on Irish identity in the middle ages, bardic poetry, moated sites, and the excavations at Kilteasheen, which was a site that Finan co-directed with Christopher Read of IT-Sligo. Finan is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, a Member of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, and is a Registered Professional Archaeologist in the United States.As Director of the Center for Digital Humanities at Saint Louis University, Finan leads a team of developers and researchers that creates new digital tools for the study of the humanities.

Director of Excavations
Alan Hayden, MA

Alan Hayden finished BA and MA degrees in Archaeology from NUI-Galway, and has been a professional archaeologist working for a number of institutions in Ireland such as the National Monuments Service and the Office of Public Works. He has directed major castle excavation projects at Maynooth Castle and Trim Castle, and has excavated extensively on Skellig Michael.


Associate Director of Excavations
Jimmy Schryver, PhD
Associate Professor of Art History
University of Minnesota-Morris

Jimmy Schryver is Chair of the program in Art History and Archaeology at the University of Minnesota Morris. Schryver has directed excavations as far afield as Petra and Cyprus, and has completed a number of studies of Crusader castles in Cyprus. He was also a lead archaeologist at the Tulsk Archaeological Project of the Irish Discovery Programme.

Research Associate
Meg Smith, MA
Doctoral Research Fellow
Saint Louis University

Meg Smith is Research Associate for the Lough Key Archaeological Project and Graduate Research Assistant for the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University. Meg has presented a number of conference research papers studying identity in the Book of Lismore. In 2015, Meg won both the Barry Prize for best graduate Irish medieval studies paper presented the annual Conference of Medievalists at Western Michigan and the Michel Clirigh Prize at the Irish Conference of Medievalists at UCD. Her presentation from ICM is reserved for publication in Peritia.


Picture_DonalResearch Associate
Donal Hegarty, MA
Senior Research Fellow
Saint Louis University

Donal Hegarty is Senior Research Fellow for the Lough Key Archaeological Project and Project Manager for the Center for Digital Humanities at Saint Louis University. Donal has a strong background in digital imaging and information management, and serves as data manager and coordinator for the project. Donal’s research interests are centered on the changing ideas of the tuath and land management in the Irish high middle ages.

52c56d277a6e8.preview-620Surveying and UAV Consultant
Paul Naessens, PhD
Western Aerial Survey and Photography Services
National University of Ireland-Galway
Paul Naessens is owner of Western Aerial Survey and Photography, a leading aerial and ground surveying company in the west of Ireland. Naessens is a fully certified and qualified UAV pilot, and brings a wealth of archaeological background to his expertise as an aerial surveyor. His doctoral research at NUI-Galway focussed on Gaelic lordships in western Connacht, particularly the O’Flaherty lords. Naessens worked with the Lough Key Project from 2013-15 as director of surveying, and continues in that role as a consultant to the project.




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