Consideration of archaeology is fully integrated into the national road scheme
planning process and is directly managed by the NRA’s Archaeology Section with a
view to meeting our statutory obligations, observing best practice, controlling costs,
contributing to the efficient delivery of road schemes and disseminating the results of
NRA-funded archaeological investigations.
The Archaeology Section is responsible for the management of the archaeological
implications of national road projects. The management function is dictated by
requirements in An Bord Pleanála approvals, as well as environmental and national
monument legislation; in particular, conditions imposed by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht as to how archaeological excavations
are conducted and newly discovered sites and features are dealt with. These
management functions are exercised through the procurement and management of
archaeological consultants and, where appropriate, the works are undertaken directly
by NRA archaeologists.
The primary objective is to complete all archaeological works in advance of the
commencement of construction so as to minimise the Authority’s exposure to risk and
to minimise the consequential exposure to costs. This is of particular relevance to
Design and Build contracts and Public-Private-Partnership contracts.
It is also a key objective to ensure that the vast quantity of information created by the
Authority’s work can be realised to its full potential and that the knowledge generated
feeds back not only into the decision making and project planning process, but also
that this knowledge is disseminated to the general public. These activities also make
a valuable contribution to promoting a greater awareness of the past among local
communities through which national road schemes pass.
The cumulative effect of the archaeological work undertaken regarding scheme
management, best practice guidance, dissemination and research, ensures that the
Authority not only fulfils its statutory obligations as set down in legislation and
national policy, but also demonstrates the Authority’s commitment to meaningful
compliance. These efforts also serve to place the Authority at the cutting edge of the
development and application of new investigation and excavation technologies and
techniques, with direct benefits for the efficiency of our work on archaeology on road
schemes. Collectively these works support the Authority’s core objective of
contributing to sustainable development.