Archaeological Impact Assessment ireland, environmental impact, EIA

By: Archer Heritage Planning  05/12/2011
Keywords: excavation, environmental impact assessment, Impact Assessment

Archaeological Monitoring

The purpose of archaeological monitoring is to provide a watching brief during topsoil stripping, or other excavation/demolition works. The aim is to identify archaeological finds or features. An archaeologist would be present for all topsoil removal when such action is requested.

Archaeological Impact Assessment

An archaeological assessment assesses the archaeological impact of a development. In involves documentary research, fieldwalking, examination of upstanding or visible features or structures, examination of aerial photographs, geophysical survey and topographical assessment. It will also normally involve the excavation of trenches within a site to characterise the potential for subsurface archaeological remains. Test excavation is usually carried out mechanically, though in certain cases hand excavation may be required. This is generally carried out in advance of site works and the results may influence design or require changes to the layout of a development to avoid impact on archaeological sites. 

Archaeological Excavation

Archaeological excavation is the process of recording and removing archaeological material from a site. There should always be a presumption in favour of avoiding impacts to archaeological sites, and excavation generally only occurs where there is no practicable or archaeologically acceptable alternative. Archaeological excavation results in destruction of part of the archaeological heritage. Whenever the archaeological heritage is affected, or proposed to be affected, the approach to be followed must be preservation in-situ or preservation by record through excavation. Preservation in-situ refers to the actual physical preservation of archaeological sites, including archaeological deposits, features and structures. Preservation by record requires  excavation and recording producing a complete record of all archaeological features likely to be disturbed by development. Responsibility for the costs of archaeological excavation including post-excavation analysis and reporting rest with the developer.

Geophysical Survey

Geophysical survey is a non-invasive method of detecting buried archaeological sites. It may be specifically requested on larger sites, or where the site is adjacent to known or suspected archaeological sites. It is generally be carried out in conjunction with an Archaeological Impact Assessment and can help to pinpoint test excavation as part of an overall assessment. We retain the services of a number of contract geophysical surveyors who offer very competitive prices to our clients. 

Cultural Heritage Chapters for EIA

The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (Council Directive 85/337/EEC as amended by Directive 97/11/EC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment) requires member states of the EU to carry out assessments of the environmental impact of certain public and private projects before they are allowed to go ahead. The Directive is implemented in Ireland by the Planning and Development Acts, the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 to 2002 and the European Communities (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, 1989-2000.  The aim of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process is to ensure that projects which are likely to have a significant effect on the environment are assessed in advance so those effects can be determined. The assessment must contain an analysis of the likely effects of a proposed development on the environment, including on people, flora, fauna, soil, water, air, landscape and cultural heritage. The EIA must contain ameliorative measures where an impact is likely to occur.

Keywords: Archaeological Excavation, environmental impact assessment, excavation, Geophysical Survey, Impact Assessment

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Under Planning and Development legislation in the Republic of Ireland, the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is a statutory consultee in relation to potential impacts of any proposed development on the archaeological heritage.