> On the other hand, consider the positive effects a large scale
> excavation, even if a rescue excavation, could have.
Before I do, bear in mind that about a year ago I used this mail group to argue the
case *for* increased excavations in Ireland... and you argued against ;-)
> If I look, for
> instance, at the several square kilometers of excavated terrain in
> Bohemia due to surface coal mining, this has prvided us with loads of
> information about the structure of settlement activity of almost all
> periods of Bohemian prehistory, most of which hasn't even made it into
> publication yet.
Of course. Agreed, but we're looking at about 10 acres here, not 1,000s of acres.
Fair point, though.
> Similar possibilities could arrive from largescale development projects
> in Ireland as well, and, in fact, the possibility to reasearch an area
> of several acres would offer some interesting perspectives. As such, I
> would, were I the responsible Irish government body, try to trade in the
> monument (i.e. the development company may level it after a
> non-rescue-conditions excavation) for the funds and time to excavate the
> whole 10 acres of developmental area.
An interesting possibility. You can build another three or so houses if we can be
allowed to delay you another six months to do a proper job... Hmm... I wonder how
acceptable that might be, though.
> To the development company, this
> would probably mean no more than a few weeks lost time, while
> archaeology could profit considerably.
> This is especially true in case of a ringfort - as this is a type of
> monument which exists often enough in the Irish landscape, but few seem
> to have been excavated as yet, and actually none with their
> surroundings, for which in this specific case the possibility would
> exist if one comes to terms with the development company.
As you well know I personally would love to see an area of several acres excavated
around a ringfort. What, ideally, should happen in such cases, though, is that the
site is carefully chosen after a series of surveys, and only because surface and
sub-surface scans show good signs of unearthing a lot of stuff.
All that said, this particular case in question in Sligo *will* see a substantial
amount of the area surrounding the ringfort excavated when the houses are built
(assuming the council's plans go ahead). The issue, perhaps, is rather one of whether
archaeology's hand should be forced - whether the choice of site excavated should be
dictated by modern development plans, or whether it should be chosen by trained
archaeologists and for a specific set of good reasons. We might also throw in this
thought: where the development goes ahead, the County Council will have to pay the
bill for any archaeological work done, while if the site were excavated through a
university, for example, the university would presumably have to pay up. The council
have no choice in paying... the question here would be whether a university could
afford to dig up ten acres. I suspect not.
Random the site choice may be, but I guess its better than nothing. This does still
leave the option of just leaving the damn site as a whole alone and building
elsewhere. Both, I think, are valid solutions, though the effects will be very
> All the best,
> Mag.phil. Raimund KARL <mailto:[log in to unmask]>
> Universität Wien, Institut für Alte Geschichte
> A-1010 Wien, Dr. Karl Lueger Ring 1
> Privat: A-1120 Wien, Hasenhutgasse 7-11/9/4
> Tel/AB/Fax: (+43 1) 8103629 oder mobil: (+43 676) 3048830
> Besuchen Sie die Homepage der Studienrichtung Keltologie unter
> Visit the Celtic Studies at Vienna University homepage at