Jun 11 2008 Posted: 00:00 IST
John Gormley, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, has announced the appointment of Conor Newman as Chairman of the Heritage Council. Conor is a lecturer with NUI Galway's Archaeology Department and will continue to teach there while undertaking the new chairing role. The Heritage Council is an advisory body to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. Minister Gormley congratulated Conor Newman, commenting that he has a "very considerable wealth of heritage experience and expertise which will greatly benefit the State in the role of Chairman of the Heritage Council". Newman's research interests include the archaeology of the 4th-6th century transition from Pagan to Christian Ireland and later prehistoric 'royal' centres, in particular the archaeology and landscape of Tara. He was director of the Discovery Programme Tara Survey and his work has been extensively published. According to Professor John Waddell, Head of NUI Galway's Department of Archaeology, "Conor Newman is a strong advocate of best practice and a dedicated professional archaeologist. His appointment to this important position is an acknowledgement of his undoubted expertise in heritage matters and is also recognition of the principled stand he and others took in opposing the present route of the M3 motorway and its incalculable damage to the landscape of Tara." Along with NUI Galway's Dr Mark Stansbury, Conor Newman is co-Director of a research project 'Columbanus: Life and Legacy'. Funded under the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI-4), this project is investigating the textual and visual evidence of the life and work of the medieval Irish missionary Columbanus, whose striking impact on European culture is still insufficiently documented and understood. The project will result, among other things, in the creation of new digital editions and archaeological surveys. Newman has pursued postgraduate research in Britain, France and Italy and was visiting professor of Celtic Archaeology at the University of Toronto. He is currently the editor of the Journal of Irish Archaeology. Conor Newman teaches late prehistoric and early medieval archaeology at NUI Galway. At the University, archaeology is offered as an option to undergraduate Bachelor of Arts students, covering theoretical aspects and including field trips and practical learning. Four postgraduate study programmes are available, as well as part-time diplomas for adult learners, taught in Galway and Roscommon.