Archeological finds

Archeological Finds

Found an Archaeological Object?

All archaeological objects found, with no known owner are the property of the State. Report your find, or a potential find, to Carlow County Museum, the National Museum of Ireland or your local Garda Station.

If you find, or believe you found, and archaeological object, report it within 96 hours (4 days) to Carlow County Museum; the National Museum of Ireland or your local Garda Station. Reporting the object and cooperating with the above agencies may see the finder being paid a Finders Reward for good citizenship. These archaeological objects are normally then displayed in Carlow County Museum for everyone’s enjoyment and add to our knowledge of the history of County Carlow.



- Ballon Hill artefacts. This case was made in the 19th century to hold four artefacts: a bronze razor; white and black polished pebbles (supposed amulets); and a third green pebble (now missing). These had been discovered in Bronze Age (c.2,500 – 700BC) burials on Ballon Hill, Ballon, Co. Carlow. The case was found in an attic in England in 1997.

Owing to our rich and varied past this country has many objects that help to tell that story and evoke a sense of place, nostalgia and pride. Any of these objects that are archaeological in nature fall under the National Monuments Act 1930 and amendments up to 2004. In essence these Acts state that all archaeological objects found, with no known owner are the property of the State. The National Museum of Ireland and the National Monuments Service are, in the main, the Government sections that deal with this on a countrywide basis.

Under those National Monuments Acts and the National Cultural Institutions Act 1997, the Director of the National Museum of Ireland has Designated Carlow County Museum as a repository for archaeological finds from County Carlow. Under the same legislation Dermot Mulligan, Museum Curator, Carlow County Museum, is the Designated person for County Carlow. The Museum has this Designation since 2003.

Please download the brochure below for more information about ‘Designated Museums in Ireland’ by clicking HERE



- Dranagh Rock Art from the foot of the southern Blackstairs Mountains. This piece of Rock Art inspired our Museum logo! In 1993 there were only seven pieces of Rock Art in the county now there are thirty pieces. Their function is unknown, but they date from the early Bronze Age (c.2,500 – 700BC) and within County Carlow they are located mainly in south of the county. They consist of carved circles, cupmarks and lines.

Across the country all of the twelve members of the Local Authority Museums’ Network (LAMN) are Designated. Along with ourselves in Carlow the other museums are: Cavan County Museum; Clare Museum; Cork Public Museum; County Museum, Dundalk; Donegal County Museum; Galway City Museum; Kerry County Museum; Limerick Museum; Monaghan County Museum; Tipperary County Museum and Waterford Treasures. Failure to report an archaeological find may result in prosecution, which if found guilty of an offence under these Acts is subject to a fine of up to €111,100.00 and or five years imprisonment.



- a Flint Leaf-Shaped Arrowhead from Ballintemple, Ardattin, Co. Carlow. This arrowhead pre-form serves as a fine example of the technical and aesthetic expertise of stone craftmanship in the Early Neolithic period (c.4,000BC). The flint used in this arrowhead probably came from beach deposits on the eastern seaboard or from Co. Antrim.

The use of metal detectors at or near archaeological sites is also regulated by the National Monuments Acts 1930 – 2004. Unless you have made an application and received consent under the above Acts it is against the law to be in possession of a detection device in or near a site protected under the above Acts. It is also against the law to possess a detection device for the purpose of searching for archaeological objects or ‘treasure’. Under the National Monument Acts 1930 – 2004 there are provisions for a fine and imprisonment if found guilty of this offence. If you find an archaeological object while in contravention of these restrictions with a detection device additional offenses under the Acts may have been committed.

The National Museum of Ireland Advice on Metal Detecting: The Law on Metal Detecting in Ireland | National Museum of Ireland

National Monuments Service information on Sites Monuments Records (known archaeological sites): Archaeological Survey of Ireland | National Monuments Service ( 

Video of the pottery reconstruction by the Ballon Hill Archaeology Project. In conjunction with Carlow County Museum and Carlow Historical and Archaeological Society, the Ballon Hill Archaeology Project commissioned prehistoric pottery specialist Elaine Lynch to make replicas of eight of the vessels found on Ballon Hill. The pots were fired in an open pit.

Unless otherwise stated, all images are © copyright of Carlow County Museum.

Click the adjacent link to read about our permenant archaelogical exhibition ‘Journeys in Time – The Archaeology of the Carlow By-pass’

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