Monday, June 9, 2008

The Island of Ireland Archaeology Project

1. Executive Summary.
2. Promoters and other Information.
3. Proposal
4. Project and Realization.
5. Market and Marketing Strategy.
6. Management and Employment
7. Strategy for Future Development
8. Financing.

1. Executive Summary

The Project Co-ordinator Ed Staunton proposes to set up a cross border Co-operative Archaeology field school giving people from North and South of the border the opportunity to learn the basic skills involved in archaeological investigation and excavation.

Although this will be a people’s project, the project also intends enlisting the guidance of various people and organizations to ensure its success. Some of those organizations will be in a position to both fund the project and to advise on the direction it follows. This project is an opportunity to further build on the Good Friday agreement and the peace process in general.

The Project Co-ordinator considers this a worthwhile venture and opportunity for investment in people and a better future for the island of Ireland. Having grown up in times when the troubles dominated the news and like most was affected by the human cost. He strongly believes in the positives of the peacemakers and their efforts to quell the sterile negativity that robbed ordinary Northern Irish people of opportunity. His strongest belief is in action not words.

Some reasons why this project is important:

1. A vehicle to aid the re-conciliation process.

2. Cross border co-operation between Government departments.

3. An opportunity for people to develop an appreciation for archaeology and the social history of their landscape.

4. An entry point for people in to commercial archaeology, it is the projects intention to train people to a level of competence so they can take up positions at a general operative level with some of Irelands commercial Archaeology companies.

5. To allow people to see the benefits of working in a green environment.

6. An oppertunity for people to get to know each other.
2. Promoters and other Information

The project will be known as the Island of Ireland Archaeology Project, referred to hereafter as “the project”

Guidance and direction will be provided under the auspices of the Heritage Council of Ireland and possibly the Department of Northern Irelands built heritage section. It is envisaged that the Departments Assistant head John O’ Keefe will provide guidance in some capacity, whos initial scepticism was a key motivator in the production of this business plan (See Appendix 6). Further advisors are Paul Gosling B.A. Archaeology MIAI, Ivan MacPhillips, lecturer in Business enterprise Galway Mayo Institute of Technology.

The author was born in Mayo in 1981. He sat his Leaving Certificate in 2000 in Davitt College Secondary School, Castlebar, Mayo.

In 2008 he will have completed the final year of his studies for a B.A (Ord) in Humanities through Heritage studies at the Galway Mayo Institute of Technology. The principal subjects on the course were Archaeology, History, Information Technology, and Business and Enterprise Marketing.

Between 2005 and 2007 he worked on various archaeological projects in the UK and Ireland (see Appendix 2) returning in 2007 to complete his B.A (Ord) in Humanities through Heritage Studies. His hobbies are studying Irish History, Mythology and Culture, keeping fit. He speaks reasonable French and Irish and hopes to be fluent in several languages. He was a member of the G.M.I.T Heritage society during college and produced radio shows on Heritage related topics.
3. Proposal

The issue of funding was a common theme among all those who contributed advice (see Appendices 3 and 4)

There may be a possibility of outside equity in the form of venture capital from some of Irelands commercial Archaeology companies, some of their outsourced work potentially could be done by the projects trainees. Other potential sources of funding may be found on the etenders public procurement website [] e.g. soil sample sieving which under the correct supervision requires manual effort with minimum experience

The project adopts an intuitive approach to funding albeit without the high risk aspects, particularly in regard to secondary stage funding. It seeks funding primarily in the form of start up Grant aid from sources such as:

The Heritage Councils INSTAR Programme (see appendix 5)

Mr. John Gormley, T.D., Minister of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government announced the establishment of a new strategic archaeological research fund (entitled the Irish National Strategic Archaeological Research, or INSTAR, Programme). The fund for 2008 will be of the order of €1 million and will be administered by the Heritage Council. Funding will continue beyond the current year subject to review of the efficacy and impact of the new programme.

In keeping with its remit arising from The Heritage Act, 1995 and the implementation of its Strategic Plan 2007-2011, and specifically the promotion of awareness and accessibility to our National heritage, the Heritage Council in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, is seeking to increase the dissemination of knowledge through archaeological research. This follows on from recommendations in response to the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government made by Council on foot of his request that the Council report to him on research needs in Irish archaeology.

Private Investment:

The project will seek support from the private sector particularly those with vested interest North and South of the border in particular commercial archaeological companies of which there are several. A submission will be made to them outlining the merits of such an investment to their company and to the community. As most of these companies receive their tenders from the National Roads Authority (a statutory body) there is every possibility they will be looked on favourably in the tender process for supporting such a project.

The International Fund for Ireland, Co-Operation Ireland, and the B.E.S scheme are all further potential sources of start up equity.

Using the guidelines set out in the field school model provided by the Achill Archaeology field school [], 4-8 weeks is deemed to be ample time for trainees to gain an acceptable level of experience in Archaeological Investigation to take up jobs at General Operative level in the private Archaeology sector.
The following is a breakdown of estimated costs for a 3 month project (One Quarter)


Wages for licensed Archaeologist

Research and development, investigation in to feasibility of project for the future:

Costs associated with transport:

Cost of Post Excavation report and Project report compilation:


Track machine rental:

On site accommodation and amenities:

Procurement of a suitable site:

Photography Inc telescopic site photography: 1000

Unforeseen costs:


4. Project and Realization

“The majority of business people are incapable of having an original idea because they can not free themselves from the restraints of logic” Ogilvy, David

Some reasons why this project is unique are:

1. No archaeological investigation has been undertaken together by the relevant bodies North and South of the border.

2. There are no other field schools to the author’s knowledge which do not charge its students.

3. The project stands to make a positive contribution to the re-conciliation process. The project will aim to be completely non political and considers politics to be an obstacle to be negotiated (insofar as possible) for the sake of keeping it a peoples project.

Means of provision

The course will be provided by at least one qualified licensed archaeologist with the author acting in a Supervisor/Co-ordinator capacity.

Appeal will be made to both community leaders and community based projects for candidates they think are suitable and most likely to benefit from such a project. i.e Co-operation North, The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, (who also grant aid environmental awareness issues)

S.W.O.T analysis

Investment in the future, Positive contribution to the peace process.

Not being taken seriously by state bodies or having the backing of the Archaeological community.

The possibility for the project to become a private Archaeology company, and possibility of tendering for Archaeological excavation.

Potential for investors to direct a part of the project. This project could potentially be a catalyst for future reconciliation projects.

The Site
As pointed out by Mr John O Keefe (see appendix) archaeology is a finite resource, taking that in to consideration the projects intention is to find a site of suiatable non Aarchaeological importance which can be used for the purpose of training.
Re zoned land under arbitration lying dormant

5. Market and Marketing Strategy

The need for the project

Although below the UK average of 5.5 % Northern Irelands seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.6% for the period December February 2007 (the latest figures that were available). This is slightly higher than the rates of 4.2% and 4.1%, which were recorded in the previous quarter and previous year indicating a steady rise. The unemployment rate for the same period in the Republic was similar running at 4.4%. (United Kingdom unemployment statistics, 2008)

Before Archaeology became such a commercial entity in the Republic, there is a precedent for recruitment of general operatives who had been listed as long term unemployed. The unemployment authorities North and South of the border should be helpful in identifying suitable candidates for this project considering the personal information they hold. This also allieveiate the need to market the project to suitable candidates and will form the larger part of the recruitment process. The various back to work incentives offered by respective departments (e.g. the Republic of Irelands back to work allowance scheme in conjunction with FAS) can offer an attractive niche to those who are both interested in Archaeology and considering a return to mainstream employment.

In the future if the project was to be considered as part of Irelands commercial Archaeology industry, of which there are at least 6 private compaies with a budget from the NRA in the south in the region of €30 million. Such a substantial sum is indicative of a long term market for private Archaeology and archaeologists at all levels for the foreseeable future. Economic trends that could potentially affect such ventures are a slowdown in the construction industry, Archaeology traditionally being referred to as “the underbelly of the construction industry” however further potential for candidates exist in the Archaeology sector in the UK and abroad.

Using the Achill Archaeology field school as a model the project will (if necessary) market itself to potential paying trainees, on the back of publicity generated by the project. While the field school will always remain free to suitable candidates North and South, it may be necessary to take on paying students to sustain itself and ensure its survival.

Potential investors

The main external influences on the industry will be the need for a licensed archaeologist to be present, which could be provided under the auspices of the Heritage council of Ireland.
6. Management and Employment

The Projects aims to give its trainees a flexible working roster, with the only full time Employees being the project archaeologist and Project Co-ordinator. To ensure a manageable site a maximum of twenty trainees will be selected, with only ten on site at any time (Group A and Group B), this will be more suitable for people who have not been in full time employment long term, the roster will operate on a ten on ten off basis with two bus runs each day. The following tables show the employment and working day structures.
Full Time
Part Time
Project Archaeologist
Group A
(10 trainees)
Group B
(10 trainees)
1 pm - 5pm

9am - 10am

Daily induction for first week


Introduction to Archaeology


10am – 11:30 pm

Introduction to the Site

The methods used in Archaeology
Explanation of Site Features
Introduction to the tools used

11:30 pm-12pm

12pm – 1pm
Excavation Techniques
Practical Investigation
How to record Archaeology

1pm- 5pm
Repeat of above with Group B

As the project progress’s it will be flexible in the way in which it teaches its trainees, the above is a guideline which will be applied until a more informal approach can be applied depending the development of the trainees.

The project Co-ordinator in conjunction with the project Archaeologist will employ the intuitive approach and use the above guide at their own discretion subject to change on joint agreement.

The project will make clear that this is a community project therefore welcoming constructive contributions from community leaders and members of the public on matters concerning local History, Archaeology, Geography or even just their thoughts on the direction of the project and/or if they believe it is constructive. Vital to the success of the project is the communication between the Project Archaeologist and Co-Ordinator. While the project is not profit orientated, there are various financial potentials as outlined in section three.
7. Strategy for Future Development

If the project is initially successful, the following Gant chart will be used as a blueprint for development.

Month 1
Month 2
Month 3
Start Up
Presentation of plan to Heritage Council and Northern Irish Department of Environment
Building on initial capital, research in to secondary stage financing
Secure the long term, look for future sources of investment
Generating a public interest
Research in to long term feasibility of project, getting public opinion behind project

Maintain the public interest, create links with community organizations
Marketing of project to potential paying trainees.
Development of links

Research in to entering in to main stream Commercial Archaeology
Employment of auxiliary staff i.e. accountant
New Technologies

Electronic Distance measuring equipment
Further investment in new Technologies
New markets

creation of links with commercial Archaeology companies

Research joint national and international ventures,
Possibility of creating a feeder school
Tender for sub contracted Archaeology i.e. etenders procurements.
New acquisitions

Research permanent transport and site accommodation

8. Financing
Can revenue rebate under the seed scheme?
9. Appendices

Appendix 1,

Response from John Gormleys office on possibility of funding
30 January 2008

Dear Mr. Staunton, I refer to your email of 01 December 2007 to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government regarding your proposed Co-operative Archaeology Project. Whilst your proposal would seem to have merit I regret the Department is not in a position to provide you with financial assistance for your proposed project. However, a new dedicated archaeological research fund is being established by my Department to come into operation this year. The fund will be administered by the Heritage Council. Proposals for such funding must have a research basis and you may wish to contact the Heritage Council in this regard.

Appendix 2

Mail from Paul Gosling B.A Archaeology, MIAI
06 December 2007

Dear Eddie,
I think your idea is a good one but may not be viable without ongoing state and grant support plus a very keen business acumen.Check out the Achill Field School which has been quite successful to date and runs numerous courses including surveying one. It may provide you with a model for your research,

Paul Gosling

Appendix 3

Mail from Theresa McDonald of the Achill Archaeology field school
12 December 2007

Dear Eddie,

An ambitious project and I wish you well with it.
I will try to answer your questions as best I can but please believe me when I say that marketing your idea will be time-consuming and expensive.
Do you think this is suitable enterprise to foster a cross community spirit?
It is certainly a novel idea but courses would have to be subsidised. Our experience is that Irish students are reluctant to pay fees for courses. Most get their training in Contract archaeology: whether that should be considered suitable or not is a matter of opinion.
Do you think they're would be an interest among younger people to learn field Archaeology?
A small percentage of young people are interested in archaeology
Do you think funding would be available? (I do not have a costing report yet as it's early stages)
Funding is difficult if not impossible to get but you could try the County Enterprise Boards for assistance, or maybe the cross-border organisations.
What in general do you think will be the issues I face?
Costs associated with establishment of company.
Revenue issues – Tax and Paye; Insurance; Administration etc. etc.
Marketing and recruitment of participants.
Theresa McDonald

Appendix 4
Relevant Section of Application to the Heritage Councils INSTAR Programme



1. Please complete in BLOCK LETTERS or type.

2. Applications may only be submitted under one of thematic areas (1, 5 or 6)

3. Please complete all sections.

4. Please copy and use additional pages where necessary

5. Please provide one original copy of your application and NINE copies (i.e 10) as well as an electronic copy of all the documents included in your submission (including Budget) in MS Word, PDF or Excel file.

6. Each proposal must be accompanied by:
- a Description as outlined in Section C
-b CVs
-c Budget information

7. Canvassing will disqualify.

8. Hard copy applications must be made using this form, online applications can be made via the Heritage Council website from 25th February.

Thematic Area[1]

1. Cultural Identity, Territories and Boundaries
2. Resources, Technology and Craft
3. Exchange and Trade
4. Religion and Ritual
5. Environment and Climate Change
6. Landscapes and Settlement
7. Archaeology and Contemporary Society

Please note in 2008 ONLY themes 1, 5 and 6 are open to research proposals.

Which research theme does your application relate to?

1 and 6..……………………………………………………………………………….

Section A: Details of Project Participant(s)

Lead Organisation

G.M.I.T, Galway, in conjunction with its business innovation centre

Principal Investigator
Ed Staunton


G.M.I.T School of Humanities
Contact Person
Paul Gosling
Organisation Status
(please tick)
Renmore, Dublin R.d, Galway
Telephone No.
3rd Level Institute

State body/local authority


Contact Person

Organisation Status
(please tick)

Telephone No.

3rd Level Institute


State body/local authority

Fax No.

Private Sector

Section B: Project Overview

Project Details
Project Title
(the title should be kept concise)

Co-Operative Archaeology Project for Ireland

Grant Aid Requested (€)
Total Costs of Project (€)

Provide a short summary of the proposed research project (100 words max.)

The Project Co-ordinator Ed Staunton proposes to set up a cross border Co-operative Archaeology field school giving people from North and South of the border the opportunity to learn the basic skills involved in archaeological investigation and excavation.
The Project Co-ordinator considers this a worthwhile venture and opportunity for investment in people and a better future for the island of Ireland.

Some reasons why this project is important are:

1. A vehicle to aid the Re-conciliation process.

2. Cross border Co-operation between Government departments.

3. An opportunity for people to develop an appreciation for archaeology and the social history of their landscape.

4. An entry point for people in to commercial archaeology, it is the projects intention to train people to a level of competence so they can take up positions at a general operative level with some of Ireland’s commercial Archaeology companies.

5. To show people the benefits of working in a green environment.

6. A chance for people to get to know one another.

Provide a short statement on the expected outputs (i.e. peer-reviewed publications, digital resource, report for policy makers, research capacity building, public awareness etc…)
(100 words max.)

Post Excavation Report to be compiled by the Project Archaeologist.

Project Co-ordinator report on the ability of such a project to fulfil its 6 goals.

Section C: Composition and Experience of the Project Team

Provide a description of the research team detailing the role and relevant experience of each participant and each team member. Recent research track and project management records of the participants should be outlined.


Ivan McPhillips, Business advisor to the project, Business and Enterprise lecturer, G.M.I.T

Paul Gosling, Archaeological advisor to the project, previously licensed Archaeologist, MIAI

Ed Staunton, Project Co-Ordinator, Student of Humanities through Heritage Studies, G.M.I.T

Project Archaeologist, (TBA) Responsible for archaeological supervision and compilation of Post Excavation Report and on site archaeological supervision

Section D: Referees

Provide names and addresses of two experts that are not related to the proposed research team (personally or professionally) who could review your proposal.

The proposed referees should not:
Ø be directly or indirectly involved in any proposal submitted for evaluation under the present scheme,
Ø have collaborated with the proposal applicant within the last four years
Ø have any direct relationship with the Heritage Council or the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government

The Heritage Council may contact the referees if encountering difficulties in forming an expert panel in specific areas, for the evaluation process.

Appendix 5
Mail from Mr John O'Keeffe, Assistant Director Built Heritage/Principal Inspector of HistoricMonuments, Department of Environment, Northern Ireland.

05 December 2008
In terms of establishing a business plan for such a venture, either as a hypothetical or as a real endeavour, I would suggest that you consider how other archaeological field schools have operated to date in Ireland(north and south), and whether or not these have been successful enterprises. A key question, I suspect, is why your proposal should be successful. Why do you consider a cross-community, cross-borderarchaeological field school, targeting people from to be a worthwhile pursuit? I'm not making any judgement on the matter, but I suspect you would need to articulate very clearly the purpose of such a venture, why you think it is worthwhile or necessary, and why you think it would or could be successful. There is certainly an interested general public who follow archaeological matters in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. There are some Young Archaeologists' Clubs in Northern Ireland now (you may wish to contact Downpatrick Museum about these). It's not just younger people who are interested in archaeology, and you may wish to consider how different age groups relate to archaeology. As you are probably aware, there are a range of statutory provisions that relate to archaeological investigation in Ireland, with some differences in legislation between north and south. It should always beunderstood that archaeological remains, regardless of their location, are a finite, non-renewable resource, and need to be treated with care. I would suggest that, in the first instance, you discuss your proposal in greater detail with your supervisor/tutors at GMIT. I also have copied this e-mail to Paul Gosling for his information. If I can be of further assistance, please let me know, though it would be useful if you had some more details about your proposal. John O'KeeffeAssistant Director Built Heritage/Principal Inspector of HistoricMonuments, Environment and Heritage Service: Built HeritageDepartment of the EnvironmentWaterman House5-33 Hill StreetBelfastBT1 2LA

Appendix 6
(1) Wikipedia, Northern Ireland, Accessed 11, March, 2008
(2) Business Enterprise 2nd Edition…..

[1] See Review of Research Needs in Irish Archaeology (January 2007) for details of these research themes