Archaeological Services

The following is for general information purposes only. All further queries regarding this information should be directed to the competent authorities listed below.

Competent Authority

The Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs has primary responsibility for the implementation of the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004 and the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997. This legislation constitutes the statutory framework governing the protection of Ireland’s archaeological heritage and encompasses the regulation of archaeological activity, including activities associated with the delivery of archaeological services by private service providers.

Licensing Procedures

A number of activities relating to archaeology are regulated by the above Acts, all of which require a licence or consent. The licensing and consent system is administered on behalf of the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht by the National Monuments Service of the Department and the National Museum of Ireland.

At present there are 7 separate licenses and consents under the relevant Acts:

 

Licence for Archaeological Excavation

Section 26 of the National Monuments Act 1930 (as amended) requires that excavations for archaeological purposes must be carried out by archaeologists acting under an excavation licence. The Minister is required to consult with the Director of the National Museum of Ireland in relation to applications for excavation licences.

An application form for an excavation licence can be obtained from:

Licensing Section

National Monuments Service

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Room G50, Custom House

Dublin 1

Email: licensingsection@ahg.gov.ie

Ph: + 353 1 8882178

It should be noted that in order to be granted an excavation licence it is necessary for an applicant to have passed an interview to assess their competency to hold such a licence. The purpose of the competency interview is to ensure that applicants are competent in archaeological excavation techniques, and conversant with Irish archaeology, in order to safeguard the State’s national built heritage. Inappropriate excavation of a heritage site could result in damage to, or destruction of, the integrity, setting or historical context of the site, contrary to the public interest.

Prospective applicants for excavation licences who have not undergone this interview should arrange to do so prior to applying for an excavation licence. An interview can be arranged by contacting licensingsection@ahg.gov.ie.

Detection Device Consent

Section 2 of the National Monuments Act 1987 (as amended) requires that consent must be obtained for the use of a detection device to search for archaeological objects at a specified place or for the use and possession of a detection device at a place protected under the National Monuments Acts.

A detection device is defined as 'a device designed or adapted for locating any metal or mineral on or in the ground, on, in or under the sea bed or on or in land covered by water, but does not include a camera'.

An application form for consent to use a detection device in the specified manner can be obtained from:

Licensing Section

National Monuments Service

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Room G50, Custom House

Dublin 1

Email: licensingsection@ahg.gov.ie

Ph: + 353 1 8882178

Dive Survey Licence

Section 3(5) of the National Monuments Act 1987 requires that an underwater dive/survey licence is required in order to carry out dives, surveys or other archaeological activities on wrecks or underwater archaeological objects.

An application form for a dive/survey licence can be obtained from:

Licensing Section

National Monuments Service

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Room G50, Custom House

Dublin 1

Email: licensingsection@ahg.gov.ie

Ph: + 353 1 8882178

Ministerial Directions for archaeological works on an approved road development

Section 14A of the National Monuments Act 1930 (as amended) requires that all archaeological works on an approved road development (a road development approved by An Bord Pleanála under either or both sections 49 and 51 of the Roads Act 1993, as amended) must be carried out in accordance with directions issued by the Minister, following consultation with the Director of the National Museum of Ireland.

Please contact licensingsection@ahg.gov.ie for further details.

Ministerial Consent - Consent for works at/near a national monument in the ownership or guardianship of the Minister or a local authority or to which a preservation order applies

Section 14 of the National Monuments Act 1930 (as amended) requires that the consent of the Minister is required for archaeological works at or near a national monument in the ownership or guardianship of the Minister or a local authority or to which a preservation order applies. The Minister is required to consult with the Director of the National Museum of Ireland in relation to such an application for consent.

An application for Ministerial consent can be obtained from:

Licensing Section

National Monuments Service

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Room G50, Custom House

Dublin 1

Email: licensingsection@ahg.gov.ie

Ph: + 353 1 8882178

Licence to Export an Archaeological Object

Section 49(7) of the National Cultural Institutions Act requires that the export of archaeological objects can only be undertaken with a licence granted under section 50 of the Act. The Director of the National Museum of Ireland advises the Minister on such licences.

An application forms for a licence to export an archaeological objects to a destination within the E.U is available from:

Duty Officer

Licensing Section

National Museum of Ireland

Kildare Street

Dublin 2

Ph: +353 1 6777444

Email : licensing@museum.ie.

The Department for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is the competent authority for the issue of licenses to export archaeological objects to destinations outside the EU and issues such licences with appropriate professional/technical advice from the National Museum of Ireland.

Application forms for licences to export from Ireland to outside the EU are available from:

Ena Walsh/Cal McCarthy

Cultural Institutions Unit

Dept of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

New Road

Killarney

Co Kerry

Tel: +353 64 6627354

Email: ena.walsh@ahg.gov.ie or cal.mccarthy@ahg.gov.ie

Licence to alter an Archaeological Object

Section 25 of the National Monuments Act, 1930 (as amended by Section 68 of the National Cultural Institutions Act) states that it shall not be lawful for any person to injure, deface or destroy, clean, restore or sample by cutting, drilling or other process any archaeological object or to alter any archaeological object without a licence from the Board of the National Museum of Ireland.

Application forms for licences to alter archaeological objects are available from:

Duty Officer

National Museum of Ireland

Kildare Street

Dublin 2

Tel: +353 1 6777444

Email : licensing@museum.ie