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El T TomCondit (Editor) Gabriel Cooney EmerCondit NicholasMaxwell UnaMacConville BrianWilliams JenBrady ChrisCorlett MichaelConnolly AngelaDesmond AidanO'Sullivan
MARKETING UnaMacConville PRODUCTION NicoleMcKenna JenBrady NickMaxwell TYPESETby— WordwellLtd FILM OUTPUT— Wordwell PRINTEDBY— Brookfield Printing Company COLOUR ORIGINATION— Wordwell PUBLISHEDBY— Archaeology IrelandLtd P.O.Box69, Bray, Co.Wicklow Tel01-2862649 Fax01-2940836 Email: email@example.com Subscription rates: Ireland/UK IR£14/£15stg. EuropeIR£20 Elsewhere$35
Cover— Imagesofrock artfromCo. Kerryand OldcourtCastle, Bray,Co, Wicklow.
FEATURES Caveatemptor 7 —buyerbeware!
LateIronAgecrematoria 10 atBallyvelly, Tralee
InvestigationsatMullycovet 12 Mill, Belcoo,Co. Fermanagh
Solidasarock?Oldcourt Castle, Co.Wicklow 15
Megalithiccultures 20 oftheworld: aview fromSouthKorea
Pitchstone—anewtrading 26 material inNeolithicIreland
Traditional boatsofIreland 33
L I C E N C E T O M E S S
There is an unprecedented amount of archaeological activity going on in both the Republic and Northern Ireland. The bulk of this is the result of development pressures as the Celtic Tiger changes the landscape and the peace process illustrates the potential for dramatic economic changes north of the border. Looking at the way in which archaeology has become embedded in the planning process through site assessments and evaluations, environmental impact assessments, pre-development surveys, monitoring and excavation, it is easy to forget how relatively recently it is that the baseline data and the regulatory framework which are the fundamental bases of the present practice of contract archaeology were put in place. It is only since the mid-1980s that a map-based national archaeological data bank has been established in the Republic in the form of the county Sites and Monuments Records and the Record of Monuments and Places.
Not surprisingly in a system that has evolved rapidly through practice rather than in any planned way, there are hiccups as the company and individual consultant archaeologists and the regulatory agencies—the National Monuments Service of Dachas and the National Museum of Ireland —resolve their different roles. This is happening in a context where there are increasingly higher standards of what constitutes best practice as new methodologies and techniques come into mainstream archaeological use. This concern with best practice is reflected in two related guideline documents issued by the Department of Arts. Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands: Policy and Guidelines on Archaeological Excavation and Framework and Principles for the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage.
All very laudatory and optimistic. It comes as something of a surprise against this background to learn that the licencing of archaeological work by the National Monuments Service is in a state of total disarray. One of the strengths of the regulatory system in Ireland is the degree to which archaeological work has to be carried out under licence, as provided for in the relevant pieces of legislation. It is through licencing that the regulatory agencies have a critical role in maintaining and improving the standards of archaeological work. All the more disturbing, then, to hear that consultant archaeologists are being told that there is no guarantee of when licences will be issued. Rumours are rife; solicitors' letters are being issued. We are seeing in this mess the results of the appalling workload of the people working in the licencing section (and in other sections of the National Monuments Service) and the lack of support from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands for the provision of adequate personnel and resources to properly execute this critical function of the National Monuments Service. In effect it makes the Department of AHG1 policy documents in danger of looking like just a load of old guff, heavy on aspiration with little commitment to putting them into practice.