IPMAG delivers underwater heritage CDP Course with IAI

IPMAG delivers CDP Course in collaboration with IAI:


Underwater Cultural Heritage in Ireland: Process, Practice and Preservation.


In October IPMAG was delighted to deliver a one-day course as part of the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland’s (IAI) Continuing Professional Development programme.  The topic of the course was underwater cultural heritage (UCH) with particular emphasis on post-medieval underwater archaeology in Ireland.


The course took place in the Metropole Hotel in Cork City, organized by IAI’s director of CPD programming, Dr Eoin Sullivan and was delivered by IPMAG committee member and secretary Dr Connie Kelleher. The course was well attended on the day with both terrestrial-based and underwater archaeologists registered, spanning the private, public and academic sectors.


The content of the CPD course, the title of which was Underwater Cultural Heritage in Ireland: Process, Practice and Preservation, was broad with six lectures given over the duration of the day, on a variety of relevant topics. These were supported by short video presentations.


IPMAG Underwater Archaeology CPD course in Cork (Image: IAI)

Lecture 1 - Introduction to UCH: This introduced the attendees to the underwater cultural heritage and its many subdivisions, from Maritime Archaeology to Lacustrine Archaeology to Submerged Archaeology. It traced the evolution of underwater investigations from ancient times to modern day, including detailing some of the seminal projects that have taken place in underwater archaeology over the years.


Lecture 2 - UCH and the Law: The history and development of maritime and later admiralty law was considered in order to contextualise current/modern heritage legislation. The various maritime jurisdictions were detailed, which determine what heritage or other legal protections govern each one. Ireland’s heritage legislation pertaining to the protection of UCH was discussed, certain legal cases considered and international conventions covered, specifically the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. This was assisted by a short video presentation.


Lecture 3 – Practice, Process & Preservation: An overview was provided of how UCH works within the planning and development process. The key bodies were described, ranging from Government departments, the EPA, Local Authorities, Port and Harbour Companies and private/individual developers. The EIA/EIAR process formed part of the discussion and the role of both the National Monuments Service and National Museum of Ireland as regulators was included. The discussion also provided information on the various types of underwater archaeological surveys and investigations that may be required as part of any planning or development project.


Lecture 4 – Doing UCH: The practicalities and logistics of being involved in UCH were prefaced by looking at the various types of environments that may be encountered when working in underwater archaeology. The need for competency, teamwork, pre-planning, proper equipment and an understanding of the needs of each environment were examined. The discussion was supported by specific case studies and the methodologies employed for certain sites and the lecture concluded with an overview of some of the technological advances now available to UCH for the mapping and recording of sites.


Lecture 5 – Ethics & Issues in UCH: The debate between professional underwater archaeologists, salvors and treasure hunters continues, particularly on the international stage, when considering how UCH should be investigated and protected. The lecture considered some of these issues, with the background to treasure hunting detailed and some of the more recent high profile cases relating to shipwreck salvage discussed.


Lecture 6 – New Discoveries in UCH in Ireland: The final talk looked at some of the more recent discoveries in underwater archaeology from riverine, lacustrine and marine environments. It drew on examples from private, public and academic sectors and included a wide range of sites types, including logboats, fishtraps, shipwrecks, bridges and individual artefacts. The lecture was again informed by video from several of the sites to enhance the viewer’s understanding and immersion in the discussion.


Group who attended IPMAG CPD course in October in Cork (Image: IAI)

IPMAG at Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland

IPMAG were recently invited to participate in a joint seminar with the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland at Society House in Merrion Square, Dublin. On Friday 8th November, IPMAG stalwarts Nick Brannon, Connie Kelleher, Wes Forsythe and Audrey Horning took to the stage to deliver four papers on various aspects of post-medieval archaeology in Ireland to the crowd gathered in the Helen Roe Theatre. Franc Myles introduced the session and speakers, after which Nick Brannon got the ball rolling with an excellent synthesis of IPMAG – from its origins and aims to promote greater awareness and appreciation of Irish post-medieval archaeology, through to the many successes IPMAG has achieved since its formation twenty years ago. Connie Kelleher (NMS) followed with a presentation on the state of Ireland’s post-medieval underwater cultural heritage, showcasing some terrific examples of early-modern shipwrecks and associated material culture that have been found around the Irish coast. Wes Forsythe (UU) delivered a great overview of the archaeology of salt production in post-medieval Ireland and the effects of marine exploitation on the coastal landscape, which prompted many questions from those gathered. The evening ended with Audrey Horning (QUB/ W&M) who treated us to a thought-provoking talk on the archaeology of identity in early-modern Ireland – using the enigmatic Dungiven Costume as her example, she demonstrated just how difficult it is to identify and assign cultural identities in the archaeological record.


With plenty of interested attendees and great talks highlighting the significance and necessity of post-medieval archaeology in Ireland, the event was a great success and certainly bodes well for future events with RSAI and other sister organizations!


Wes Forsythe discussing the archaeology of salt production in post-medieval Ireland


Nick Brannon highlighting the significance of IPMAG and Irish post-medieval archaeology. 

IPMAG at Irish Archaeological Institute conference

IPMAG recently were invited to take part in the IAI's conference in Cork. Our chairman, James Lyttleton, presented in the 'voices from the archaeology profession' session. He highlighted the aims of the Group, and its various activities and events. In addition James detailed our concerns on the status of post-medieval archaeology in current and future legislation within the Republic of Ireland, comparing it with the situation in Northern Ireland, and reminding all of the National Monuments obligations to protect this island's post-medieval archaeological heritage. 

Dr Lyttleton (IPMAG) addressing IAI
Dr James Bonsall presenting IAI partnerships



Prisons, asylums and workhouses conference

A 2-day conference at PRONI, Belfast 13th to 14th June 2019

Residential institutions in Ireland have a long history stretching back at least to the friaries, monasteries and abbeys of the medieval period. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, following enlightenment reformist movements, workhouses, asylums, prisons and other institutions were built in ever-greater numbers. As the numbers and types of residential institutions for the care, confinement and/or reform of various marginal groups proliferated, critics questioned their effectiveness, the living conditions prevailing within and their very humanity, questions that still loom large in Ireland today.

This conference seeks to bring together researchers at every level (postgraduate, early career and established) to assess the ‘state of the discipline’ in relation to research on the history of institutions in Ireland. The organisers (Dr Gillian Allmond and Max Meulendijks, QUB; Triona Waters, University of Limerick) would be particularly interested to receive papers on the following subject areas (papers to be 15 to 20 minutes in length), but all topics relating to institutions will be considered.

The call for papers closes on 31st March 2019. Abstracts not exceeding 250 words in length, together with a short biography should be sent to Dr Gillian Allmond at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Next Event


IPMAG XXII Conference

26 February 2022, Online


Irish Post-Medieval Archaeology Group

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