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Applying for an Archaeology Research Excavation Grant

The Royal Irish Academy, together with the National Monuments Service runs an annual grant scheme for Archaeological Research Excavations.  This is the only fund in Ireland which supports independent research excavations in the Republic of Ireland, and welcomes applications for new excavations, continuing excavations and post excavation work. This longstanding fund has financed more than 100 excavations in Ireland, thus enabling scholars to make a substantial contribution to our knowledge of the past.

Information required to apply for 2023

In order to make an application for funding you will need to familiarise yourself with the ‘Guidelines for applicants’ document which you can view here

How to apply

A completed application form including:

  • A letter from the landowner stating that the applicant has discussed the application with them and that there is permission in principle for the excavation

  • A letter verifying relevant competencies from one named referee who is independent of the project

  • A copy of the relevant section of the Ordnance Survey map with the site or sites marked

  • An adequate site plan with the site or sites marked

  • Detailed costings of proposed excavation (using template form provided)

  • Where relevant a copy of a quote received from proposed specialist/s

  • Applicants are required to inform the RIA of any potential conflicts of interests. In this regard applicants proposing to employ family members or spouses during the course of a funded excavation are required to disclose this to the RIA in advance of the drawdown of funds

  • In cases where the proposed excavation is a National Monument or in close proximity to same, letters from both National Monuments Service Senior Archaeologist, OPW Senior Architect responsible stating that the applicant has discussed the application and there is permission in principle for the excavation are required


In both above circumstances regarding a National Monument in State Care the following apply:

The proposal may need to be modified to take account of:

  • safety considerations

  • continued public access to the monument

  • the stability of the monument

  • the need to preserve archaeological deposits for future research

In certain cases, excavation may require follow-up conservation work and if this cannot be planned for within a reasonable time the proposal may have to be modified or the Committee may choose not to fund the project.

Funding available:

The scheme will be competitive, and the average grant awarded has previously been in the region of €20,000. 

The following stages of a project will be considered for funding:

  • Topographical / building survey or geophysical survey which may include archaeological excavation in the same or subsequent field season depending on results of the survey work

  • Post-excavation analysis and preparation of a final excavation report of projects funded within the last five years by the RIA AREG grant scheme (priority is given to post-excavation funding following the final season of fieldwork, but applications may be considered after one or more seasons work)

  • Archaeological excavation (to include post-excavation obligations for each season)

  • Further post-excavation of projects funded within the last five years by the RIA AREG grant scheme, to lead to completion of a final excavation report as per licence/consent and grant condition

  • Publication of RIA-funded projects funded in the last five year by the RIA AREG grant scheme (distinct from final excavation report as per licence/consent condition)

Costs and activities which are eligible:

  • Monies may be made available for continuing excavation projects but no more than three seasons of excavation will be funded, unless exceptional circumstances are demonstrated

  • Further additional post-excavation work will be funded, where exceptional circumstances are demonstrated

  • In cases of continuing projects each subsequent application should consider a specific research question or questions, which should be capable of being addressed in that season (this is in case no further funding is forthcoming for further seasons).

  • Applications will be considered for further research emanating from what were originally developer-led projects, provided all licensing requirements have been met in full.

Costs and activities which are ineligible:

  • Applications for the funding of developer-led or commercial excavations

  • Applications for projects directly connected to postgraduate studies in a third level institution

  • Applications from any applicant with one or more excavation reports outstanding to the Licensing Authority.

  • institutional overheads, or any element that should properly be ascribed to institutional overheads; computer hardware including laptops, electronic notebooks, digital cameras, etc; lab / bench fees, books and other permanent resources

  • Applications from any applicant who has been previously funded by the Academy for projects which have not completed post-excavation analysis to the standard required by licence criteria unless they have agreed a submission date for outstanding licenses and have official Compliance Letter from NMS agreeing to this

  • Applicants are not allowed to claim a directorial salary from funds awarded. The grant, upon the submission of vouched expenses, may be used to pay out of pocket directorial expenses accrued as a result of working on the excavation e.g. travel, accommodation, subsistence etc.

  • Applicants are reminded that research excavations offer an opportunity for students of archaeology to gain practical experience. Applicants should note however that activities peripheral to the research excavation, e.g. offsite training, fieldtrips etc, are ineligible

  • An application will be deemed ineligible if it does not include all required supporting documentation and confirmations listed 

Who can apply

  • This scheme is open to archaeological researchers/archaeologists for work in Ireland (not including Northern Ireland). It is not open to undergraduate or postgraduate students, or PhD candidates

  • The Committee does not normally consider projects where the applicant will not be the excavation licence holder (unless there are exceptional circumstances which will be examined on a case-by-case basis).

Submission deadline

The Archaeology Research Excavation Grants scheme 2022 opens on 9th September and closes on 21st October 2022.

All queries can be sent to



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