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The Discovery Programme

The Discovery Programme is a state-funded archaeological research institution devoted to the enhancement of our knowledge of Ireland's past. It was established in 1991 and since then has organised several wide-ranging, innovative and influential research projects on Irish archaeology.

The Discovery Programme's research is generally carried out through a series of projects, typically consisting of a team of director and research archaeologists, supported by our own administrative, survey and IT staff. The overall policies and strategies of the Discovery Programme are formulated by a Directorate and Council, the members of which are drawn from important archaeological institutions in Ireland and abroad.

In recent years, the Discovery Programme has concentrated on the archaeology and environment of later prehistoric Ireland and it is currently carrying out major research projects on the Hill of Tara, the Western Stone Forts, the North Munster region and the Ballyhoura Hills. A new phase of projects has recently begun, on Lake Settlement archaeology and on Medieval Rural Settlement in Ireland. Other significant studies have been carried out on palynological investigations in counties Louth, Clare and Tipperary, and there is also an ongoing study of the literary and historical evidence relating to the Hill of Tara.

The Discovery Programme has a brief to communicate the results of its projects to both academic and public audiences, and it produces its own monographs, reports and booklets. Its staff publish in popular and academic journals, and lecture extensively on Irish archaeology at local, national and international venues.


design: Kai M. Wurm
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