Spatial distribution and hazard assessment of soil lead in the mining site of Silvermines, Ireland, were investigated using statistics, geostatistics and geographic information system (GIS) techniques. Positively skewed distribution and possible outlying values of Pb and other heavy metals were observed. Box Cox transformation was applied in order to achieve normality in the data set and to reduce the effect of outliers. Geostatistical analyses were carried out, including calculation of experimental variograms and model fitting. The ordinary point kriging estimates of Pb concentration were mapped. Kriging standard deviations were regarded as the standard deviations of the interpolated pixel values, and a second map was produced, that quantified the probability of Pb concentration higher than a threshold value of 1000 mg/kg. These maps provide valuable information for hazard assessment and for decision support. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.