Archaeology is about people in the past, and Community is about people in the present. Community archaeology is about connecting people to their past in a unique and collaborative way.
There is no one accepted definition for community archaeology and the term can encompass building, geophysical, landscape and topographic surveys; oral history and school based projects; graveyard restoration; archive research; heritage trails and signage; citizen scientist projects, field schools and summer camps in addition to archaeological excavation.
Therefore community archaeology is a partnership between community members and professional archaeologists.
It is important to note that archaeological excavation, geophysical survey and the use of a metal detector require a licence issued (to those eligible) through the National Monuments Service.
Fingal County Council has recognised the value of community archaeology for a number of years and alongside the Heritage Council has supported various community archaeology initiatives in Fingal. These have allowed hundreds of people realise their ambition to take part in digs, learn new skills alongside professional archaeologists, and connect with their local archaeological sites and monuments. You can follow our ongoing projects on Fingal Cultural Heritage and Community Archaeology Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fingalculturalheritage/
The Community Archaeologist is based in the Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Department and works across the Council providing specialist advice and guidance on archaeological matters. The position is supported by the Heritage Council. One of the main functions of the Community Archaeologist is to engage the public with Fingal’s archaeological resource. This involves designing and undertaking community-based archaeological projects such as the Swords Castle Digging History project, Bremore Castle Big Dig and Digging Drumanagh. Providing support and advice to local groups with an interest in archaeology and history is a priority, both on an individual basis and by organizing seminar and information days. The Community Archaeologist is responsible for disseminating the results of community archaeological projects and for reaching new audiences through the production of accessible publications, heritage-based tourism products, public exhibitions and social media.
Who does community archaeology?
The short answer is everyone. Participants have been aged from 18 to 90 and have included locals, people from the wider Fingal area; people who have travelled from different parts of Ireland; tourists; members of the new communities; family groups; Fingal County Council staff members; members of other community archaeology groups, heritage professionals and students. If you have an idea for a project or your community group requires support, please contact Fingal’s Community Archaeologist.
Adopt a Monument Manual https://www.heritagecouncil.ie/content/files/Guidance_for_community_archaeology_projects.pdf
Drumanagh promontory fort is a nationally important archaeological site and is of international significance in terms of Ireland’s relationship with the Roman world. Under the Digging Drumanagh project the first scientific excavation ever has been undertaken at the site. The focus of Season I excavation was the nineteenth century Martello road and the effect of its construction on the layers below. Most of the evidence and finds related to that period but there were hints of what came before including two decorated long handled combs dating to the Iron Age. Season II uncovered evidence for prehistoric settlement and trading contact with the Roman world. Post-excavation analysis is ongoing.