Archaeological Impact Assessment
Impact assessments are commonly requested within the planning process either as independent reports or as part of an overall environmental impact assessment (EIA). These are used to determine what effect (positive, negative or visual) a given development might have on archaeological remains.
The zone of archaeological potential is usually informed by known archaeological monuments have been recorded. Where development projects are of a significant scale, an AIA may be required as a necessary stage.
The impact assessment will always include a desktop survey (full examination of documentary sources, maps etc.) and a site survey but may also consist of licensed test trenching and/or geophysical survey. Where other types of investigation are required these are normally outlined in the request for such an assessment.
Archaeological Testing & Monitoring
Both testing and monitoring for archaeological remains can be requested by Local Authorities within the planning process, as either stand-alone investigations or part of a wider archaeological impact assessment.
Archaeological Testing is required where a development site is placed within, or near, an area of known archaeological importance (or is of substantial extent). Basically this consists of excavating trenches (by machine) across areas in order to locate archaeological features. The process identifies areas where archaeology is present or not present and this is reported to the relevant authorities. Where archaeology is encountered, the Licensed Archaeologist will advise on a mitigation strategy to the relevant authorities. Archaeological Testing is always licensed under the National Monuments Service of the Dept. of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
Archaeological Monitoring means that a suitably qualified Archaeologist must be on-site during any ground disturbance - usually where a development is large or within an archaeologically sensitive area. In its simplest form, it is the removal of topsoil until sub-soil is reached. Any deposits/soils between these two layers are deemed archaeological in nature, at which point the work must stop pending a decision from the National Monuments Service. An archaeological license is usually required from the Dept. of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht before any ground disturbance takes place.
Munster Archaeology has a proven track-record in protecting the archaeological heritage of each site while advancing the development project. A full register of recorded monuments can be consulted at www.archaeology.ie
Archaeological Excavation may become necessary where archaeology has been identified and all measures have been taken to avoid and protect the remains. This generally involves the meticulous recording of archaeological features through mapping, drawing, sampling, photography and a detailed written account of the soils and procedures undertaken. In the Republic of Ireland, all Archaeological Excavation is licensed through the Dept. of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the National Museum of Ireland.
Munster Archaeology has achieved a high standard of archaeological excavation and its director has been licensed to do so since 2005. Large scale projects often require significant levels of staff and we have shown flexibility in forming the best team for a given job. The successful and efficient excavation of an archaeological site prevents undue delays, avoids unnecessary costs and protects from legal objections to the project in the future.
Monument Survey & Landscape Assessment
Landscape and monument surveys are a major strength of Munster Archaeology and Aidan Harte is certified in Landscape Assessment by the Heritage Council of Ireland (2010).
We use RTK GPS/GNSS units in conjunction with aerial photography from drones and satellite imagery. Even large-scale surveys such as these can be visualised in 3D creating surface models in GIS (see below)
Landscape is increasingly considered a legal entity within European law, which necessitates such work prior to or during development.
GIS mapping & analysis
Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are now a common means of archaeological management and analysis.
Munster Archaeology has extensive experience in the use of GIS and has created systems for cross-governmental bodies, independent research and academic institutions. The surveys used to build the GIS, consists of desktop surveys and GPS-based landscape survey and drone survey.
The analysis of data is dependant on the use of the GIS but this method is invaluable to archaeological research and heritage management. A. Harte has completed a Landscape Assessment certificate through the Heritage Council of Ireland. Furthermore, we have successfully implemented Historic Landscape Characterisations (HLC) on two projects in Ireland and the UK.
Heritage Project Design
Munster Archaeology has consulted and carried out a number of heritage projects from exhibitions, to feasibility studies and management plans.
As a heritage consultant, Munster Archaeology offers a range of specialism including historical documentary research, route selection processing, risk assessment, conservation, tourism potential and heritage signage. Brochures, information packs and signage are available in both English and Irish.
As most heritage projects have very specific requirements, a unique methodology would be produced in each instance. For more information or details on such a methodology please do not hesitate to contact us.
Specialist and Forensic Services
A range of specialist archaeological services are offered by Munster Archaeology. These include Drone surveys, Photogrammetry, GIS analysis, GNSS/GPS survey, Osteo-archaeology (i.e human remains) and Forensic archaeological survey and recovery.