Monday 8 October 2007

New archaeological survey of Clare Island

The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr. John Gormley, T.D., has launched 'The New Survey of Clare Island, Volume 5: Archaeology' in the Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, Dublin 2.

Minister Gormley said - "The survey is complementary to the research and awareness-raising work ongoing in my Department".

In response to the view expressed by Professor Slevin, President of the RIA, that many within the archaeological community felt that Irish archaeology was undoubtedly at a crossroads and, some might even suggest, was in crisis, the Minister responded that "Disseminating knowledge and increasing public awareness will be one of the touchstones of the wide-ranging review of archaeological policy and practice in Ireland, which I have initiated."

The Minister will be announcing details of the review process later this month.

This publication is viewed as, perhaps, the most significant in the history of the Royal Irish Academy. It is an important milestone in the New Survey of Clare Island series, commenced as part of a multi-disciplinary survey organised in the early part of last century by Robert Lloyd Praeger for the RIA.

Edited by eminent archaeologists - Paul Gosling of the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Conleth Manning of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Professor John Waddell of the National University of Ireland Galway - Volume 5 of the survey makes a major contribution to knowledge of the island's rich archaeological past.

In particular, it casts valuable new light on the common Bronze Age burnt mound phenomenon in terms of their rationale and dating.

The Minister acknowledged the work of the RIA, the editors, researchers and others - including the support provided by his own Department - as well as the co-operation of the local community on Clare Island, without whom the publication would not have been possible.

Minister Gormley noted the continuation of Praeger's multi-disciplinary scholarly tradition and looked forward to this volume being a trigger for additional archaeological research on the island into the future.

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