Excavation licences issued quarterly 2012-15.
The first quarter of 2015 saw a strong increase in Irish archaeological activity against a background of a general a loss of momentum in the recovery of the Irish construction industry.
In the first quarter of 2015 to the 31st of March there were 138 new excavation licences issued by the National Monuments Service in the Republic of Ireland. This is an increase of 7% over the number of 129 new licences issued in the first quarter of 2014 and the largest number of licences issued in the first quarter since I started tracking quarterly activity in 2012. In addition there were 6 Ministerial consents for works, 30 diving licenses, 7 Ministerial consents for excavation, and 2 Ministerial Directions for excavation.
The archaeological licensing figures contrast with the Ulster Bank Construction PMI Report for March which registered a slight pickup in activity after four months of declining construction activity. While commercial construction continues to increase and housing activity improves civil engineering activity continued to decrease. Overall there is a loss of momentum in the recovery of the Irish construction industry.
Cite this post as:
Mount, C. 2015. A strong start to Irish archaeology in 2015. Dr. Charles Mount Blog, 22 April 2015. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=1468
Although the fourth quarter of 2014 saw a decrease in archaeological activity compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, as a whole 2014 was on a par with 2013.
Licenses issued quarterly 2012-14.
Data Provided by the National Monuments Service indicates that in the fourth quarter of 2014 to the end of December there were just 56 new excavation licences issued in the Republic of Ireland. This is the lowest number of new licenses issued since I began tracking licenses quarterly in 2012. This also represents a decrease of 71% in comparison to the 96 licenses issued in the fourth quarter of 2013. Overall 2014 was just 2% behind 2013 with 462 licenses issued compared to 472 in the same period last year.
Annual licenses 2000-2014
In addition in 2014 there were 11 Ministerial consents for works, 46 diving licenses, 37 Ministerial consents for excavation, and 15 Ministerial Directions for excavation.
The stagnation in archaeological activity contrasts with the expansion in construction output which has been sustained for more than a year. The Ulster Bank Construction PMI Report for December registered a statistic of 63.4 (a figure above 50 indicates expansion in activity), which indicates a continuing rise in construction activity. All the individual construction sectors are now growing, activity in civil engineering is at 57.4, housing construction is at 63.5 and commercial construction is at 65. The picture of expansion is supported by the Central Statistics Office which has reported an increase in the number of grants of planning permissions in the third quarter of 2014 to 4,238 from 3,875 in the third quarter of 2013, an increase of 9.3%. It is not clear why archaeology, which precedes development, should not be reflecting the strong growth seen in the Irish construction sector.
Cite this post as:
Mount, C. 2015. Irish Archaeological Activity Steady in 2014. Dr. Charles Mount Blog, 28 January 2014. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=1452
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
Militärgeographische Angaben über Irland, Military and geographical assessment of Ireland. Mullocks Auctions UK.
Appearing at auction this week at Mullock’s Auctions in Shropshire is a surviving copy of the planning documents prepared for a German invasion of Ireland.
As part of the planning for the invasion of Britain in 1940 the Department for War Maps and Surveying of the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH), German Army High Command, produced a series of military and geographical assessments to assist with planning the invasion. The OKH also produced a detailed assessment to assist with plans for Operation Green, the invasion of neutral Ireland. Entitled Militärgeographische Angaben über Irland, Military and Geographical Assessment of Ireland and labelled “Only for internal use”, the first edition of the document was completed on 30 September 1940. David Archer Maps have catalogued the contents of the assessment as three illustrated books and seven folding maps giving an overview of the geographical and industrial background of Ireland useful to an invading force. Maps included electricity power supply, railways with index of stations, radio installations, telephone and telegraph offices and a road map, emphasising traffic difficulties. There was also a book of 25 town plans with detailed maps of Dublin and Belfast. Another book contained photographs and descriptions of the coast, with sketch diagrams to identify locations from offshore.
Aerial photo of the Ardnacrusha hydro-electric power plant from Militärgeographische Angaben über Irland. Image: Daily Mail.
Notably planning for the invasion continued after the abandonment of the invasion of Britain as a book with maps describing the West and North Coast (Mizen Head to Malin Head) was completed for a later edition completed on 15 October 1941. Although Ireland was a neutral state the documents demonstrate that the German High Command considered an invasion a real possibility and assigned considerable resources to the task of planning. The detailed mapping and photography of Ireland’s towns and cities and vital infrastructure, like the Ardnacrusha hydro-electric power plant (above), indicate just how close Ireland came to becoming a battlefield.
See more images from the document published by the Daily Mail.
Cite this post as:
Mount, C. 2012. German Army documents indicate serious planning for a WWII invasion of Ireland. The Charles Mount Blog, 27 September 2012. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=943