This site—which, as far as we are aware is unique in Europe and possibly the world—contains summary accounts of all the excavations carried out in Ireland – North and South – from 1970 to 2023. It has been compiled from the published Excavations Bulletins from the years 1970–2010 and will include additional online-only material from 2011 onwards, with a similar format, but will contain an interactive section for excavators to upload their own reports.

The Excavations Bulletin was started by Tom Delaney in the early 1970s and was revived by Claire Cotter in 1985. Since the 1987 issue it has been compiled and edited  by Isabel Bennett and published by Wordwell, with initial support from the Office of Public Works and for the last number of years from the National Monuments Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (and its departmental predecessors) and now from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage. For the years from 1977 to 1984 the Excavation Bulletin was incorporated in the Journal of Irish Archaeology (Vols IV and V, for 1987/8 and 1989/90 respectively).

The number of excavations carried out annually in Ireland has fluctuated during the 40-year period. To illustrate, Excavations 1970 has 41 reports, while Excavations 2006 and 2007 contain over 2000. But by 2010 it had dropped back to 846. Overall the database gives access to over 31,000 reports and can be browsed or searched using multiple fields, including Year, County, Site Type, Period/Dating, Grid Reference, Licence No., Sites and Monuments Record No. and Author/Excavator.

Guidelines for authors submitting reports to the Excavations Bulletin are also provided.

Applying for a licence
Applications for excavation licences for Ireland should be emailed to licensingsection@ahg.gov.ie or posted to National Monuments Service, Custom House (G50), Dublin, D01 W6X0.

Applications for excavation licences for Northern Ireland should be made to the Department for Communities, DOE Historic Environment Division Causeway Exchange, Level 6, 1–7 Bedford Street Belfast BT2 7EG. Alternatively, email ExcavationsandReports@communities-ni.gov.uk

Related online information
Information on Monuments in State Care, the Sites and Monuments Record and the Record of Monuments and Places is available from the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage on www.archaeology.ie. Information on Natural Heritage Areas, Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas (Birds’ Directive) and Nature Reserves and National Parks is also available from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs on www.npws.ie.

The Historic Environment Division website holds the Northern Ireland Sites and Monuments Database and the Northern Ireland Buildings Database.

A limited supply of hard copies of the published Excavations Bulletin for some of the years between 1985 and 2010 can be ordered from Wordwell. The Excavations Bulletin will only be published online from 2011 onwards.

Detailed  site reports
Reports submitted to the National Monuments Service, Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, on foot of licenses issued for excavations in the Republic of Ireland are housed in its archive. An application form to view unpublished reports is available to download from the National Monuments Service website. Queries in relation to the archive should be addressed to the Archive Unit by telephone (01) 8883922 (from Ireland) / +353 1 8883922 (from outside Ireland) or by email nmarchive@ahg.gov.ie.