Leather shoe from Toar Bog, Co. Westmeath.
I am the Bord Na Móna Project Archaeologist and this year we are inaugurating a new 3 year campaign of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental investigations in the peatlands of Ireland. This is a link to my contribution to Day of Archaeology 2014 on the work.
Excavation Licenses 2000-2013
Preliminary figures for the number of archaeological excavation licenses issued by the National Monuments Service indicate that the number of annual licenses issued in Ireland has risen for the first year since 2006.
472 licenses have been issued to date, a rise of 4% from the 454 issued in the whole of 2012. This indicates that the decline in archaeological activity in Ireland, which saw a collapse of an enormous 78% from peak to trough, has ended, and activity is beginning to increase again. Irish archaeological activity is closely correlated with activity in the construction industry (see here). Confirmation for the return to growth of the Irish construction industry comes from the Ulster Bank Construction Purchase Managers Index (see here) which recorded that construction industry activity grew in the third quarter of 2013 for the first time in six years, with October seeing the fastest pace of new orders seen since 2006.
It is no surprise that growth is returning to the Irish archaeology and construction sectors as confidence has begun to return to the economy with the stabilisation of the national finances and debt burden, the return of the economy to growth, the reduction in unemployment, and Ireland’s successful exit from the IMF-EU Bailout Programme. As a range of analysts including the Department of Finance, the ESRI, IBEC and the European Commission are forecasting that the Irish economy will continue to grow in 2014 the recovery in archaeological activity should continue.
I’d like to wish everyone who reads my blog a happy and peaceful Christmas and a healthy and prosperous new year!
Cite this post as:
Mount, C. 2013. Irish archaeology turns the corner in 2013. Charles Mount’s Blog, 19 December 2013. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=1330
Licences issued quarterly in 2012-13.
New data indicates that archaeological activity in Ireland has stopped declining and can look forward to modest recovery.
In the third quarter of 2013 there were 125 excavation licences issued by the National Monuments Service in the Republic of Ireland. This is identical to the number issued in the same period in 2012 and continues the trend seen earlier in the year. Overall in the first three quarters of the year there were 376 licences issued which is almost identical to the 375 issued in the same period of 2012. If this trend continues through to the end of the year this will be the first year for 7 years with no decline in excavation licences.
The archaeological licensing data is corroborated by the Ulster Bank Construction PMI Report which recorded an increase to 49.7 for the month of August. This indicates a marginal and slowing fall in Irish construction activity. A PMI above 50 indicates expansion in the sector and the index is expected to move above 50 in the coming months. New construction orders grew at the fasted pace since 2007 and growth was recorded in the housing and commercial construction sectors in July and August. This was the largest expansion seen since 2006, although it was was offset by the continuing decline in civil engineering projects. The Central Statistics Office has also reported that the GDP value of building and construction grew by 4.2% in the second quarter of 2013. The data suggests that, after years of decline, and barring unforeseen circumstances, Irish construction and archaeology look as though they are about to enter a phase of recovery.
Cite this post as:
Mount, C. 2013. After a year of stability recovery appears on the horizon for Irish archaeology. Charles Mount’s Blog, 1 October 2013. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=1282
Excavation licences 2000-2012
Archaeological Licenses indicate that in 2012 archaeological activity in Ireland continued to contract for the sixth year reaching a fifteen year low.
Figures provided by the National Monuments Service indicate that the total number of archaeological excavation licenses issued for the year 2012 was 454. This is a reduction of 18.6% from the 558 licenses issued in 2011 and indicates that both archaeological investigations and the construction activity that they relate to continued their decline. This now represents a drop of 78% from the peak of archaeological activity in 2006. The level of activity is comparable to the year 1997 when 467 excavation licences were issued. As indicated in my December 2011 post on the topic excavation license and construction output show a high degree of correlation and it is anticipated that this almost 19% drop in archaeological activity will be mirrored by a similar drop in construction activity. In view of the current economic trends it is not clear when the decline in Irish construction and archaeological activity will stop. Current analysis would indicate that the trend will continue through 2013. I have been reporting the figures on a quarterly basis since the first quarter of 2012 and will be reporting changes in quarterly activity from March 2013.
Cite this post as:
Mount, C. 2012. Excavation Licenses indicate continued reduction in archaeological and construction activity in 2012. The Charles Mount Blog, 21 December 2012. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=974