The Discovery Programme


The Discovery Programme (DP) is a public institution set up to pursue advanced research in Irish Archaeology. The organisation has two additional associated functions:

• to communicate the results of its work to the general public as well as to the academic community

• to promote the introduction of new technologies and new techniques into the operation of the wider Irish Archaeological community.

The Discovery Programme is also required to communicate the results of its projects to the scientific community and to the general public. This task is achieved mainly through the publication of its scientific books and papers but also through a variety of outreach publications and lectures, and also by organising community events. DP was set up originally in 1991 on the personal initiative of the then Taoiseach (Prime Minister), Charles J. Haughey, and was funded in its initial phases directly by the government. Now, as an independent body, it is mainly funded by an annual core grant from the Heritage Council (a statutory body that receives it funding directly from the Irish government).

DP sets up long term investigative research projects designed to answer relevant and changing questions that arise from time to time in Irish archaeology. Those questions are identified and agreed by the Irish governing bodies - the Council and Directorate (Board of Directors). The membership of those bodies is made up of leading Irish archaeologists from the whole of Ireland (north and south). They are from the principal museums, the universities that teach archaeology, the monuments and Archaeology sections of government departments, various learned and representative bodies, the private Archaeological sector and international experts.

Over the past 20 years the Discovery Programme has developed a wide range of experience and knowledge in the application of new technology in the digital recording, analysis and collection of Archaeological data. Techniques employed by the Discovery Programme as part of their integrated research projects includes: 3D documentation of Archaeological objects and monuments using laser scanning and photogrammetry; photogrammetric recording of monuments and archaeological landscapes and provision of orthoimagry; archaeological database development; digitisation of archaeological content including imagery and documentation; research and development of online applications for the standardised recording of scientific archaeological data including palaeoenvironemental and human remains; research and construction of Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) for the sharing and reuse of cultural heritage geodata, including web-services, INSPIRE and geoportal software; website design and development, including the integration of open source software for research project tools; archaeological and geophysical survey and the efficient Archiving of generated data sets; development of services for the archiving, sharing and reuse of cultural heritage data including the development of trusted digital repositories (TDR).

Tasks in LoCloud: providing local content including metadata creation/harmonization, assisting and aggregating content for smaller institutions and organisations with the aim of making content available via Europeana, dissemination and awareness raising activities within cultural heritage sector in Ireland (WP6), testing applications developed in WP3, jointly carrying out a study of the benefits and costs to small and medium sized institutions, supporting development of spatial component of LoCloud their aggregators and Europeana itself of providing services through the cloud (WP5).