New Archive offers fascinating record of what lies beneath Dublin’s streets

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Researchers and anyone with an interest in archaeology or history can now access a fascinating new resource. Dublin’s Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn will open the Dublin City Archaeological Archive (DCAA) at 6pm on Wednesday 18th September in the Reading Room, Dublin City Library and Archive, 138-144 Pearse St, Dublin 2. It offers a unique record of some of the amazing excavations made under Dublin’s streets between 1990 and 2009. 

“Dublin City Archaeological Archive is a rich resource of 32 collections which catalogues the records created by archaeologists during excavations carried out in the historic heart of Dublin city over a period of almost 20 years. It includes excavations carried out at Spencer Dock, Christchurch Place and Moore Street. These excavations uncovered material ranging from Mesolithic fish-traps to the medieval Geneval's Tower, and also an 18th century toy boat.   It’s a fascinating resource I commend the archaeology community and Dublin City Council for making it available to academics and the general public” says the Lord Mayor.

DCAA is jointly managed by Dublin City Archaeology, Dublin City Archives and Dublin City Council’s Heritage Office. The DCAA’s remit is to preserve records arising from archaeological investigations conducted in Dublin City by archaeologists working in the private sector. The Archive includes items such as photographs, reports, drawings of sites and finds, and finds sheets which provide the basis for researching important historical and cultural narratives in relation to Dublin’s past, its citizens and their lives.  The DCAA specifically excludes archaeological finds (artefacts) and ecofacts (environmental samples) as responsibility for the collection and long-term curation of these rests with the National Museum of Ireland.

Guest speaker at the launch will be archaeologist Franc Myles, who has deposited six collections with DCAA, including records relating to Smithfield and Iveagh Markets excavations.


Notes to Editors

The opening of the DCAA represents the next step in a series of imaginative and far-reaching innovations by Dublin City Council to ensure the ‘preservation by record’ of in-depth site-specific knowledge of the development of the city.  In 2008, Dublin City Council became the first local authority in Ireland to incorporate a requirement for archaeologists to deposit records into its Archive as part of planning guidelines, and also published the Dublin City Archaeological Archive Guidelines.   This work has been supported by the Heritage Council, the National Museum of Ireland, The National Monuments Service, and members of the DCAA Steering Group.

On display at Dublin City Library and Archive for the launch and entire month of September will be the exhibition Digging the Monto: tenement archaeology and the 1913 Dublin Lockout. This photographic exhibition by Dr Thomas Kador in association with Terry Fagan and Martin Coffey, includes images from the Railway Street and James Joyce Street excavations which have been preserved at the DCAA

Following the formal opening of the DCAA, collections will be available to view by the public in the Dublin City Library and Archive Reading Room, 138-144 Pearse Street, D2.  Collection Level information about each collection will also be available at and via a fully searchable database in the Reading Room.