What have Broadband and Mobile Phones got do with Archaeology?

What have Broadband and Mobile Phones got do with Archaeology?

People have lived their lives on and around the island of Ireland for 10,000 years, and as a consequence few places remain where they have not left their mark. Our heritage is protected by the law and developers must give due consideration to the historic environment.

The impact of communications infrastructure on archaeology can be wide ranging and profound. Often fragile and irreplaceable archaeological remains can lie hidden beneath the surface in the most unpredictable places. This delicate resource is non-renewable and unique, and provides important evidence for the activities of our ancestors. Similarly such developments can impact on the visual amenity of some of our most important upstanding archaeological sites; important views to or from monuments which have escaped obstruction for millennia may suddenly be obscured.

Telecommunication masts for broadband and mobile phone providers, together with the required supporting infrastructure tend to be located in areas of high archaeological potential on upland sites. These environments were also often favoured by our ancestors due to their prominent positions in the landscape.

Headland Archaeology Ltd. is currently experiencing an increased demand in services relating to planning advice required in advance of telecommunications developments. This is ‘bucking the trend’ as other sectors of the business have shown a decline in line with the construction industry during the recession.

Colm Moloney, Managing Director of Headland Archaeology says “Interestingly, the increase in demand for telecommunications is providing us with an opportunity to explore site types which were not commonly uncovered during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ period. Whereas the archaeology in advance of infrastructural and residential development over the last few years has tended to concentrate on the lowlands and valley floors, telecommunication masts provide us with an opportunity to explore upland environments which may potentially lead us to new and exciting discoveries. As such it is important to remember the value of the archaeology present in these locations.”

Headland Archaeology Ltd provides two main services to the telecommunications sector:

1. Consultancy – During the planning stages of a telecommunications development, the applicant is required to produce an Archaeological Impact Assessment on the effects of the proposed development on the receiving environment. This work involves searching through documentary sources and collating relevant information and non-intrusive fieldwork including a site inspection and survey and, in some cases, geophysical prospection.

2. Archaeological Monitoring and Excavation – Once planning permission has been granted and development commences, Headland provide a team of field archaeologists to work alongside the development team. Topsoil stripping is monitored and, where archaeology is identified it is recorded and excavated.

Headland Archaeology Ltd is currently involved in broadband and telecommunication developments throughout Ireland and also in Scotland, England and Wales. Their experience in the sector is second to none.  Such developments are quickly becoming a prominent area of new business for the company, and the majority of such developments are located in upland areas. Because of its remoteness, a lot of upland archaeology is well preserved and frequently hidden by peat.

Colm says “Wherever the archaeology is, it represents a substantial risk to development. The risk can vary from unexpected delay to complete abandonment of a development. The consultancy wing at Headland Archaeology Ltd. is expanding to deal with this niche sector which is providing the potential for the company’s first global market.”


Share the News:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Aenean commodo ligula eget dolor. Aenean massa. Cum sociis ultricies nec