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.