The Management of Archaeology on National Road Projects in the Republic of Ireland
Until the late twentieth century, Ireland had a largely rural character, a low population density and an economy based for the most part on the export of primary agricultural products, principally meat and dairy products. The form of agriculture practised was low intensity and did not require large-scale mechanisation. Apart from the construction of canals and railways and some limited industrialisation, Ireland was not generally affected by the nineteenth century industrial revolution. Neither was Ireland physically affected by mechanised warfare in the twentieth century. These factors have led to the survival of an estimated 100,000 archaeological sites spanning 10,000 years of recorded human settlement in the Irish landscape.
KeywordsArchaeological Site Archaeological Excavation Archaeological Remains National Road National Monument
I wish to dedicate this paper to the memory of a valued friend and colleague Dáire O’Rourke who died in April 2010. Dáire, as the first Head of Archaeology in the National Roads Authority, was responsible more than anyone else for ensuring that the “vision” of the Code of Practice became reality in the structures that have been established and the staff that were employed over the past 10 years.
I am grateful to many NRA colleagues who have provided access to data and have engaged in stimulating discussions. In particular I would like to thank Rónán Swan, (acting) Head of Archaeology; Ken Hanley, Cork NRDO; Ed Danaher, Bernice Kelly and Mairead McLaughlin, Tramore House RDO.
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