Archaeological Involvement in A2 Road Redevelopment

Headland Archaeology Ltd., one of Europe’s largest commercial archaeology companies, which has an Irish subsidiary, has been awarded a £250k tender to provide archaeological investigations ahead of road improvement to the A2 in Northern Ireland.

The redevelopment of the Shore Road section of the A2 at Greenisland, Co. Antrim is being managed by Scott Wilson Group Plc, commissioned by the Northern Ireland Roads Service.  The widening of the 2.5km stretch from two lanes to four lanes, forms part of an overall £55m project to develop the link between Belfast and Carrickfergus.

This contract win builds upon Headland Archaeology’s reputation in Northern Ireland, following work on multi million pound road projects on the A1, Newry, and A4/5 at Dungannon; among the largest archaeological projects in Northern Ireland to date.  A Neolithic timber circle site near Ballygawley, dating back to 3,000BC, dubbed Ireland’s own ‘Stonehenge’, was among the most high profile finds in the joint project.

Colm Moloney, Managing Director, Headland Archaeology (Ireland) Ltd. said “We are very much looking forward to building upon our growing reputation in Northern Ireland.”  He added “Advance investigations are now underway at the A2 site.  We will be excavating sensitively as this is an environmentally important area, and we have commissioned ecologists to make sure we do not cause any harm, for example by disturbing badgers.”

Simon Stronach, Site Manager on the A2 project said “The area is thought to have been particularly prosperous during the Early Historic or Early Christian period and consequently we may find sites from this era.  The project will also take us close to the late medieval tower house, Castle Lug, on the shore of Belfast Lough, so there may be finds relating to the castle.”

The National Museums Northern Ireland will be the likely recipients of any finds.  If an interesting site is found, local school children will get the opportunity to see Headland’s work, as part of the A2 contract involves the archaeology firm facilitating a school visit. 

Simon added “Allowing children from the local community to see archaeology on their doorstep will, I’m sure, be very exciting for them and provide a window into the past.  It was through opportunities like this in the past that some of Headland’s current team discovered their passion for archaeology.”

Established in 1996, Headland Archaeology specialises in projects such as the A2 road redevelopment.  One of the largest archaeology firms in Europe, with a turnover of €13.6m in 2008, Headland Archaeology Ltd. supplies services to Ireland and the UK, with offices in Cork, Galway, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Hereford.  

Although Headland specialises in larger infrastructure and renewables projects, they also offer a comprehensive range of archaeological services, including specialist areas, such as field services, artefacts, environmental, geophysics, historic buildings, EIA, industrial, maritime, and military, to a broad spectrum of clients.  Their combined experience and expertise translates into a client-focused approach, minimizing risk, enabling development and delivering products and projects on time and to budget.  For further information on Headland Archaeology Ltd. visit


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