Archaeology is the study of the past through the examination of material remains left by human activity.
Under the Heritage Act, 1995 monuments are defined as:
Includes the following, whether above or below the surface of the ground or the water and whether affixed or not affixed to the ground:
(a) any artificial or partly artificial building, structure or erection or group of such buildings, structures or erections,
(b) any cave, stone, or other natural product, whether or not forming part of the ground, that has been artificially carved, sculpted or worked upon or which (where it does not form part of the place where it is) appears to have been purposely put or arranged in position,
(c) any, or any part of any, prehistoric or ancient -
(i) tomb, grave or burial deposit, or
(ii) ritual, industrial or habitation site,
(d) any place comprising the remains or traces of any such building, structure or erection, any such cave, stone or natural product or any such tomb, grave, burial deposit or ritual, industrial or habitation site,
situated on land or in the territorial waters of the State, but dies not include any building, or part of any building, that is habitually used for ecclesiastical purposes.
Under the Heritage Act, 1995 Archaeological objects are defined as:
Any chattel whether in a manufactured or partly manufactured or an unmanufactured state which by reason of the archaeological interest attaching thereto or of its association with any Irish historical event or person has a value substantially greater than its intrinsic (including artistic) value, and the said expression includes ancient human, animal or plant remains.
Where can I find out about sites and monuments in my locality?
All known sites and monuments are identified and listed for protection by the National Monuments and Historic Properties Service, in the Record of Monuments and Places, a statutory inventory of sites protected under the National Monuments Acts.
The Record of Monuments and Places is a set of 6" maps of County Meath with an accompanying index which shows all the sites, monuments and zones of archaeological potential, recorded to date in the county. The inventory concentrates on pre 1700 AD sites.
The Record of Monuments and Places is available to the public at the Planning Office of Meath County Council, Teagasc Offices and Town Councils.
What does inclusion on the Record of Monuments and Places mean?
Under Section 12 (3) of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act 1994 monuments and places included in the record are protected as follows:
"When the owner or occupier (not being the commissioners) of a monuments or place which have been recorded under subsection (1) of this section or any person proposes to carry out, or to cause or permit the carrying out of, any work at or in relation to such monument or place, he shall give notice in writing of his proposal to carry out the work to the Commissioners , commence the work for a period of two months after having given the notice"
This notice shall be sent to the National Monuments and Historic Properties Service, Dún Sceine, Harcourt Lane, Dublin 2. Telephone 01-4117100.
Who owns the sites and monuments?
Only a small section of our ancient monuments are in state ownership. The remainder are protected by the state under the National Monuments Acts but the care and preservation of these features depends largely on the interests and respect of the individual landowner.