When the Discovery Programme was identifying its initial research objectives, it identified Tara as one of its priorities. Two projects were launched in 1992, to run in tandem, one would examine the documentary evidence for Tara and the other would undertake a detailed archaeological survey. Both these strands of research produced well received scholarly publications, Tara: a Select bibliography by Edel Bhreathnach and Tara: An archaeological Survey by Conor Newman.
At the time of its completion, the Discovery Programme’s archaeological survey of the Hill of Tara was the largest and most intensive of its type carried out in Ireland and provided a foundation for all future archaeological work on Tara. It also began provided a model for the multi-disciplinary approach that the Discovery Programme continues to adopt and promote, using topographical, geophysical aerial, geochemical and paper surveys. Using this approach the survey not only increased the number of known monuments but it demonstrated how effectively non-invasive archaeological techniques can be in identifying new sites and answering research questions.
One of the successes of this Tara Project was the development of a preliminary sequence of monument construction on the Hill of Tara, which revealed not just the spatial development of the complex but also provided evidence for the continued importance of the site from the Neolithic to the later Iron Age.