NRA Archaeological Database
Click here to go directly to the NRA Archaeological Database home page.
Over the past thirteen years, hundreds of sites spanning the Mesolithic to early modern times have been excavated and recorded throughout the country as part of the national roads building programme, expanding, challenging and often redefining our view of Irish archaeology and our past. Many previously unrecorded sites have been discovered, settlement patterns have been suggested and periods with previously scant information have been illuminated. It has been clear for some time that it is essential to quantify and examine this new archaeological information. In response, an archaeological database has developed by the NRA.
The database will contain information ranging from
- the site details (year of excavation, road project details, site director, archaeological consultancy)
- the location of the site (townland, county, national grid references, height above sea level, landscape setting)
- characteristics of the site (site type, identification technique)
- dating (time period, radiocarbon date range, dendro-chronological dates)
- site descriptions (summary of excavation findings, artefacts recovered from site, results of environmental analysis)
- published references for the site where applicable.
Where a site contains evidence from multiple periods (e.g. Neolithic house and Bronze Age fulacht fiadh), a separate database entry will be entered for each period (e.g. one for the Neolithic and one for the Bronze Age) to maximise the archaeological integrity of the database and its usefulness in carrying out specific searches.
In general, the database will only contain information on sites for which final excavation reports have been received. In a small number of cases, owing to the significance of particular sites, information from preliminary excavation reports has been included in lieu of the final report. If you are searching for information about a specific site but cannot locate it in the database this may be because the final excavation report has not been completed or the final excavation report has not yet been inputted. In such cases, please contact the NRA Archaeology Section and we will endeavor to provide the required information.
Using the Database
The database can be searched in three ways.
- A simple search where items can be selected using drop down menus in one or more categories including County, Townland, Site Type & Dating Period.
- An advanced search where items can be selected using drop down menus in one or more of the above plus Licence Number, Licence Holder, Excavation Year, Archaeological Consultancy & Site Name.
- A full text search where entries containing a specified word or phase are extracted.
It is envisaged that the database will become a valuable resource and reference for archaeologists working in the commercial sector, researchers and students working in the academic sector, as well as for the general public. It will provide important baseline information and allow for comparison between site types, locations and dating periods of archaeological sites excavated. It will also facilitate site types being examined nationally to see what patterns emerge, which may indeed help in the future prediction of site locations in the landscape. Furthermore, it will also provide basic information on the numbers of archaeological sites excavated along each road scheme. This will be an ongoing project because as the national roads programme continues, the database will expand as more discoveries are made.