Treasures on Irish roadside

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The Irish economic boom may be over, but its flurry of road building has uncovered a wealth of archaeological finds with lasting value. In particular, digs along proposed routes have shed light on 'unknown' archaeology that may not have otherwise been examined, according to Rónán Swan, acting head of archaeology at the National Roads Authority. The scale of road-related archaeological digs has increased massively in recent years - in 1993 there was one road excavation, in 2007 there were 579 - and they usually turn up something of interest, says Swan."Most places that we start doing investigations around the country we will find archaeology there," he says."It's a testament to the wealth of archaeology that we have in this country, and that we have incredible levels of preservation. It's not just the actual site that's important. There can be a tremendous amount of results from post-excavation work, looking at the samples and reports and records."

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