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Recent releases below.

Tomb unearthed by Kerry farmer has no known parallels.

Archaeological Management Solutions (AMS), on behalf of the National Monuments Service, recently excavated a unique megalithic tomb, one of the few archaeologically investigated in County Kerry and the first on the Dingle Peninsula.

Located near the town of Dingle, the tomb was unearthed by chance in April 2021 by a local landowner. Radiocarbon dates indicate that it was a focus of burial and ritual from at least the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age transition, about 4,500 years ago. Its use spanned approximately five centuries, and the human remains inside included at least two or possibly three adults and three juveniles. Both inhumation and cremation burial practices were conducted.

Remarkably, the tomb lay undisturbed since its last known use approximately 4,000 years ago.

Built mostly underground, the tomb is keyhole shaped with a large oval chamber in the east and an adjoining square smaller chamber in the west, where the sealed entrance is located. The eastern chamber consists of two distinct levels comprising a floor made up of four stone slabs which sit on side stones and over a cavity beneath. The maximum internal dimensions are 3.55m in length by 1.7m in width and a maximum depth of 1.15m.

Tony Bartlett, Senior Archaeologist at AMS, comments: “An interesting feature of the western chamber is a freestanding upright stone known as a pillar stone, which has known parallels in a small number of wedge tombs recorded in the Southwest of Ireland.”

However, the tomb itself appears to have no known parallel.

Tony adds: “Current evidence suggests this is a regional variation of the megalithic tomb tradition, making it a highly significant monument and a wonderful addition to the archaeological record of the area.”

At the time of discovery, no mound or cairn was present over the tomb and the only visible element was the largest of the three capstones that sealed the tomb. After the completion of the excavation, the tomb was reinstated and sealed again. This included the return of the displaced capstone to its original position overlying the eastern chamber to ensure its future preservation.


Interview and article in the @businessposthq about AMS 28 November 2021—

Making it Work: Archaeological consultancy digs deep to find success

Archaeological Management Solutions Ltd (AMS) is proud to announce we now have ISO certification in three standards.

Following a rigorous accreditation process, the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has certified AMS for ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management, ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health & Safety Management and ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management.

These accreditations confirm that our systems and procedures are formalised and standardised to an internationally recognised standard. Obtaining these accreditations also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to continual improvement in the areas of customer service, health and safety, and the environment.

Quality Management System ISO 9001:2015 

Since the company’s founding in 2011, our mission has been to excel in terms of the quality of the service we deliver to our clients. Our Quality Management System (QMS) forms the bedrock of our operations. The success of our quality systems, which are designed to ensure we deliver best practice, is recognised by our ISO accreditation.

As part of our commitment to quality, AMS is also actively engaged in the development of best practice guidance and standards in the delivery of archaeological services. Standards and guidance that we have recently prepared or are currently working on include:

  • Guidance Note on Archaeology and Trunk Roads for Transport Scotland.
  • Guidelines and Standards for the assessment of Cultural Heritage Impacts of National Road Schemes for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).
  • Guidelines for the archaeological assessment of Flood Relief Schemes for Ireland’s National Monuments Service (Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage).
  • Guidance manual and toolkit for the interpretation of archaeological features on wind farms for Coillte.

Occupational Health and Safety Management System ISO 45001:2018

At AMS, health and safety are a number one priority. We work closely with our clients and their health and safety teams to ensure that the projects we manage are always carried out in accordance with health and safety legislation, regulations, and best practice. We also prepare site-specific health and safety risk assessments and plans for all major projects for use by our own staff and, in our capacity as Project Archaeologists, for any contractors we are overseeing.

Environmental Management System ISO 14001:2015

Environmental awareness and sustainability are key components of everything we do at AMS and this is demonstrated at all our workplaces.

We constantly aim to reduce our carbon footprint and to improve our sustainability by:

  • Reviewing legislative and regulatory requirements.
  • Identifying and considering significant environmental risks.
  • Examining existing environmental practices and procedures.
  • Evaluating previous environmental incidents.


Clare-based archaeology company, Archeological Management Solutions Ltd (AMS), is excited to announce our new east coast presence in Kilkenny.

For over twenty years, Kilkenny Archaeology has built a strong reputation as a quality provider of archaeological services to the city and county it is named for. AMS and Kilkenny Archaeology share similar values, with highly experienced and passionate people at the core of their organisations.

The company will trade as AMS Ltd moving forward.

Existing clients of Kilkenny Archaeology will benefit from access to the wider range of professional services offered by AMS. Details at:

Cóilín Ó Drisceoil, managing director of Kilkenny Archaeology, comments: “Over twenty years ago myself and my late wife Emma set up Kilkenny Archaeology with the main aim of providing archaeological services that enriched our understanding of this wonderful city and county’s past. Over the past two decades the company we founded has been lucky enough to have been able to work on some of the extraordinary archaeological heritage that we are surrounded by. As I move on to an exciting new chapter with the National Monuments Service, I’m delighted my clients’ needs will continue to be met by Archaeological Management Solutions.”

Ed Danaher, managing director of Archaeological Management Solutions, comments: “I’m thrilled to integrate and continue the outstanding archaeological offerings Cóilín and his team have built over the past two decades into AMS. I’m looking forward to building on the strengths of Kilkenny Archaeology with the full range of services that AMS has to offer clients.”

Background on AMS:

AMS was founded in 2011 to manage the archaeological components of developments on behalf of government agencies. Services expanded to include archaeological excavations across numerous road projects throughout UK and Ireland from project inception through planning, procurement, contractual operations to close out. AMS has developed a reputation as the ‘go-to’ company in Ireland for the delivery of quality, value-for-money cultural heritage services. It also has a strong community outreach focus, including school visits and site open days, as well as a dedicated YouTube channel. Many of its staff regularly produce academic articles, as well as presenting at professional and academic conferences and seminars. AMS has recently been certified by the NSAI for ISO 9001 Quality Management, ISO 45001 Occupational Health & Safety Management and ISO 14001 Environmental Management, further evidence of the company’s quality focus.


On Saturday 28th August the archaeologists who excavated the site where the Gortnacrannagh Idol was found, along with experimental archaeology specialists from UCC (Pallasboy Vessel Project) and UCD (CEAMC), will be carving a replica of the Gortnacrannagh Idol outdoors at Craggaunowen, Co. Clare.

Work on the replica will start at 10am and continue throughout the day.

Media are invited to attend.

The Excavation Director, Dr Eve Campbell, along with ancient wood-working specialist Cathy Moore and other specialists will be on site and available for interview.

The park is open to the public for the normal admission fee and visitors will be able to watch progress. To be sure of admission, members of the public should book ahead through the Craggaunowen website

The Gortnacrannagh Idol is a 2.5m long oak carving over 1600 years old, recently found on an excavation in Co. Roscommon. The discovery of the idol was widely reported in newspapers (e.g. and

online (e.g.

According to Dr Campbell, the archaeologist who directed the excavation on which it was found,
“The Gortnacrannagh Idol was carved just over 100 years before St Patrick came to Ireland, and is likely to be the image of a pagan deity. Our ancestors saw wetlands as mystical places where they could connect with their gods and the Otherworld. The discovery of animal bone alongside a ritual dagger suggests that animal sacrifice was carried out at the site and the idol is likely to have been part of these ceremonies.”


Irish archaeologists have unearthed a wooden pagan idol in the west of Ireland from the pre-Christian era.

This rare artefact, made over 1600 years ago, was retrieved from a bog in the townland of Gortnacrannagh, 6km northeast of the prehistoric royal site of Rathcroghan, County Roscommon. The wooden carving was discovered by a team from Archaeological Management Solutions (AMS) working in advance of the N5 Ballaghaderreen to Scramoge Road Project, funded by the Government of Ireland, administered by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) through Roscommon County Council.

The idol was made in the Iron Age from a split oak trunk. It has a small human-shaped head at one end and a series of horizontal notches carved along its body. Only a dozen such idols are known from Ireland. At over two-and-a-half metres long, the Gortnacrannagh Idol is the largest found here to date.

AMS archaeologist Dr Eve Campbell, who directed the excavation of the site, commented: “The Gortnacrannagh Idol was carved just over 100 years before St Patrick came to Ireland; it is likely to be the image of a pagan deity. Our ancestors saw wetlands as mystical places where they could connect with their gods and the Otherworld. The discovery of animal bone alongside a ritual dagger suggests that animal sacrifice was carried out at the site and the idol is likely to have been part of these ceremonies.”

Wooden idols are known from bogs across northern Europe where waterlogged conditions allow for the preservation of ancient wood. The Gortnacrannagh Idol is currently in University College Dublin, where conservator Susannah Kelly is undertaking a three-year process to preserve the ancient object. Once conserved, the idol will be given into the care of the National Museum of Ireland.

Wood Specialist, Cathy Moore commented: “The lower ends of several figures were also worked to a point suggesting that they may once have stood upright. Their meaning is open to interpretation, but they may have marked special places in the landscape, have represented particular individuals or deities or perhaps have functioned as wooden bog bodies, sacrificed in lieu of humans.”

Dr Ros Ó Maoldúin of AMS commented: “Since the Gortnacrannagh Idol is such a unique and significant find, we are making a replica to help us understand the idol better and appreciate how it was made. It will be possible for people to see this in action at the Craggaunowen Archaeology Park in Co. Clare during the last weekend of August.”

The replica idol will be made by AMS staff in collaboration with members of the UCC Pallasboy Project and the UCD Centre for Experimental Archaeology and Material Culture. The replica will then go on display at the Rathcroghan Centre in Tulsk, Co. Roscommon.

The find at Gortnacrannagh will have no impact on the progress of the N5 Ballaghaderreen to Scramoge Road Project. Analysis of the artefact and the site it was found in are ongoing, and the results of the excavation will be published in a book to be produced by TII.

Roscommon County Council Resident Archaeologist Deirdre McCarthy commented: “Road projects such as the N5 provide a significant opportunity for the investigation of our archaeological heritage. Gortnacrannagh is an excellent example. Were it not for the road, we would never have known about this extraordinary site.”


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