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Search words: Tara

Response from the IAI regarding recent meeja coverage on Tara, Lismullan etc.

category national | history and heritage | press release author Monday May 14, 2007 20:31author by anarchyvist - IAI (ML) Report this post to the editors

For what it's worth...

Information and Misinformation: a challenge for the Irish Archaeological Profession

The recent media coverage about the prehistoric hengifrom enclosure and other sites revealed on the M3 Dushaughlin – Navan motorway route, illustrates an alarming degree of public misunderstanding about the nature of buried archaeological sites and remains, and how these sites are identified and revealed.
The current media scrum does not recognise the professionalism with which Ireland’s archaeologists conduct their work; our members do so with great skill, technical sophistication and unrivalled professional commitment.. The output of the Irish profession is recognised internationally as being of the highest standard.
The current scale of archaeological fieldwork, discovery and excavation activity is a response to the great scale of Ireland’s very dynamic construction industry which was valued at €36billion (23% of GDP) and with over 260,000 employed in 2006 (Construction Industry Federation Annual Report 2006). This is completely ignored.
In the urgent need to respond to development pressure and resource the demand created over the past 20 years, and particularly in the past 10 years, archaeology has had to move and develop from the intellectual endeavour of academic research to far greater levels of diverse professional activity. That professional activity now ranges from policy formulation, the development of legal definitions and protective provisions, state regulation and heritage management. It extends into development control and the provision for appropriate cultural responses to the impact on heritage of very significant economic development. All of these professional developments have, in very large measure, successfully supported the case for Irish archaeological heritage in the face of enormous development pressure.
What has been missing, with some notable exceptions, is a strong articulate voice for archaeology, which supports all this activity and explains and presents to the public and politicians alike what riches have been revealed over the past twenty years and how this been successfully achieved through the technical and professional development of archaeologists. Public presentation has not kept pace.
In recent debate the profession has accepted that without greater dissemination and presentation, the public cannot be adequately informed about the great richness of the archaeological resource, how that is studied, or how important the rcent scale of archaeological excavation activity has been for the cultural life of modern Ireland.
The discovery on the M3 route at Lismullin is important, but recent media reports have been worryingly inaccurate and misleading. That inaccuracy has unfortunately extended to ill-conceived criticism and gross misunderstanding of archaeological professional practice, its standards and the context within which it is carried out.
The Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland, on behalf of its members and colleagues, upholds the profession's standards of practice and supports the quality of the work undertaken by its practitioners. While individual archaeologists may be unhappy with due process and its outcome in some instances there is little doubt that Irish archaeology has never been so professional, adept and or successful.
While there is always room for improvement - as in any scientific discipline - Irish professional archaeologists, institutions, companies and researchers are recognized for their very high standards on an international level. It can be no accident that the European Association of Archaeologists held their annual meeting in Cork in 2006 and that World Archaeological Congress will meet in Dublin in June 2008, an event that will showcase all that is best about modern Irish archaeology. The showcasing, however, must also be extended to Irish society at large.

Margaret Gowen
Acting Chairperson
Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland

Related Link: http://www.iai.ie
author by cheebapublication date Mon May 14, 2007 20:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps Margaret Gowan (& Co. Ltd.) would give us an indication as to why and under what circumstances her company strongly advised against the current proposed route of the M3 during the original route selection phase, only to turn around afterwards and stand four square behind the NRA during the planning process??

author by TaraWatchpublication date Wed May 16, 2007 03:20author email info at tarawatch dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors



11 May 2007

'Response to Statement by Institute of Archaeolgists of Ireland, Criticising Media Coverage of M3 Disovery'

Today, the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland (IAI) issued a statement criticising media coverage of the new discovery of a national
monument at Lismullen, Tara, along the pathway of the M3 motorway.

TaraWatch wishes to rebut the accusations in this statement, and challenge the good faith of the AIA.

The IAI states; "The discovery on the M3 route at Lismullin isimportant, but recent media reports have been worryingly inaccurate and

However, the statement does not give on single example of an inaccurate statement in the media.

Ironicially, the statement is released by IAI Chairperson, Margaret Gowan, whose company Margaret Gowan and Co. Ltd were responsible for the archaeological testing that and reporting in the Navan to Dunshaughlin Route Selection report for the M3 motorway. That report has been shown to be completely flawed by subsequent testing performed by the NRA which increased the number of sites identified by Margaret Gowan by almost tenfold, to 38 sites. Like the NRA report, it also failed to recognise the new discovery.

However, the Mags Gowan & Co report did contain the following statement:

‘The monuments around Tara cannot be viewed in isolation, or as individual sites, but must be seen in the context of an intact
archaeological landscape, which should not under any circumstances be disturbed, in terms of visual or direct impact on the monuments themselves.’ (Margaret Gowan and Co. Ltd, Navan to Dunshaughlan Route Selection, August 2000, paragraph 7.3)

TaraWatch asks, why the IAI has been content to let the M3 proceed through the middle of the above landscape, without a shred of
professional public opposition?

The AIA would be familiar with the guidelines for examining monuments discovered during roadbuilding, released by the Chief State
Archaeologist. They would also be aware that under the headings, entitled, 'Historical Importance' and 'Cultural Importance', all of the
38 sites previously discovered between Navan and Dunshaughlin, examined by the National Roads Authority, were deemed to have "none". This shows the complete lack of profesionalism and indeed downright misinformation being perpetrated by the NRA and condoned by the IAI.

Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch said:

"The IAI statement is an exercise in damage control, that really only shows up the profession here in Ireland even more.

"The archaeological profession is completely developer driven in Ireland, and professionalism is being compromised at every level by the lucrative contracts that these companies are bidding for.

"The IAI should hang their heads in shame for not condeming years ago the M3 proposal to put a motorway through the Tara landscape.


NRA photo from National Geographic article
NRA photo from National Geographic article

Artefact found at temple site
Artefact found at temple site

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by anarchaeologist - IAI (pc)publication date Wed May 16, 2007 11:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Firstly, we read here the continuation of a tendency on the part of TaraWatch to avoid all critical thought on Tara. This is surprising as the group is led by a trained lawyer (albeit one trained in the US, that bastion of jurisprudence), indeed one with a knowledge of Brehon Law.

Can we expect a press release from TaraWatch after the election, demanding that the incumbent taoiseach be inaugurated on a wet hillside in Cavan after publicly copulating with a horse and afterwards bathing in its blood? Brehon Law doesn’t run in these parts any more. But hey, on one level nothing’s changed really; the law is still very much on the side of the rich.

But getting back to TaraWatch’s dysfunctional engagement with the facts. Margaret Gowen & Co. undertook the initial Environmental Impact Assessment prior to the selection of a route. The recommendations contained in the EIS are well known and quoted in TaraWatch’s press release above. Those recommendations were ignored and the present route was chosen through the valley. Margaret Gowen & Co. took no part in the physical test excavations undertaken along the entire extent of the proposed M3. For ethical reasons, companies that undertake the initial studies are ineligible to tender for what’s called the resolution phase, the testing and excavation.

It is disingenuous and wrong of TaraWatch to say that ‘…Margaret Gowan and Co. Ltd were responsible for the archaeological testing and reporting in the Navan to Dunshaughlin Route Selection report for the M3 motorway’. Because they weren’t.

But TaraWatch has to go on: ‘That report has been shown to be completely flawed by subsequent testing performed by the NRA which increased the number of sites identified by Margaret Gowan by almost tenfold, to 38 sites. Like the NRA report, it also failed to recognise the new discovery’.

What archaeologists actually do appears to be of little interest to this lot. We can’t really see under the ground: we can look at maps though and walk the landscape, carry out various types of non-destructive geo-physical exploration, collect flints and pottery after a field’s been ploughed etc. and amalgamate the information into a report. It would have been impossible to identify the Lismullan monument in the field using these techniques and even herringbone test trenching won’t necessarily pick these things up. TaraWatch knows this.

The gist of the IAI statement related to the government-sponsored disinformation being leaked to a compliant press, as well as to the inaccuracies being posted by the likes of TaraWatch on Indy. To my mind the statement positioned archaeology too snugly in the armpit of the construction industry, but why ignore the truth?

The IAI is a funny old bird. It’s quite non-representative of the profession as a whole with several prominent archaeologists who are vociferous non-members remaining outside, along with the vast majority of diggers who’d qualify for some level of membership. It’s certainly not a trade union; unfortunately attempts to unionise archaeological workers over the years have failed miserably. Margaret Gowen is certainly the acting chair at the moment (nobody else wanted the job…) and hey, Conor Newman is also on the central committee and gave the press release his imperator. There are members of the IAI employed by the NRA and other members opposed to the motorway for sound landscape conservation reasons. There has been some (if not enough) internal debate on the matter. But to be honest, it’s not exactly a powerful lobby group and certainly articulates the views of those in its upper echelons better than those towards the bottom. Hopefully though, this will change.

Finally though Vincent reckons that ‘the archaeological profession is completely developer driven in Ireland, and professionalism is being compromised at every level by the lucrative contracts that these companies are bidding for’. Yet Vincent doesn’t offer any examples of such compromise. Where the IAI didn’t offer any examples of inaccurate reporting, it was only because many of us have seen nothing in print which reflects the whole truth and indeed the complexities of the whole affair. What has Vincent seen then?

From my own point of view, the road is a disaster in the context of peak oil and the waking nightmare of the commuter. The route was selected to serve the best interests of politically connected landowners, just like a certain roundabout in Carrickmines, if memory serves me correctly. The people and their landscape will suffer. This is class war by any definition. I’m afraid the archaeology is a secondary issue.

If TaraWatch spent less time spinning against archaeologists and engaging more with the fundamental issues they might actually get somewhere.

author by Vincent - TaraWatchpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 04:36author email info at tarawatch dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hello archaeologist anonymous,

I think its sad that you begin your rebuttal in a serious discussion about important national issues by launching an ad hominem attack.

It is even sadder is that you show such juvenile contempt for the native legal system of this country; Brehon Law. For an Irish archaeologist to express such an opinion epitmoises the cultural void that has been replaced by materialsm and greed in this country.

How can you say you value archaeological heritage and show such distain for legal heritage? Brehon Law is hugely relevant to Tara, because Tara offers a site that we can use to check and see if our literary heritage matches up with the phyical remains. In turn, the literature can open doors to understanding the remains themselves. Mathew Stout is the first to really tackle this issue head on and is finding that there is a great consistency between the two.

I'm not going to go down all the dead end arguments you make. But Mags Gowan's name is on the Route Selection Report is it not?

Let's take a step back for a second. Take a look at this document, prepared by the NRA and the Chief State Archaeologist, Brian Duffy:

It shows the 38 sites between Navan and Dunshaughlin in the left column, and various headings along the top. The document is meant to represent the application of the definition of a national monument. This is a key document in the whole Tara saga, and one that if you or the IAI had any interest in the affair, would have seen.

In addition, this is obviously a template, designed by the Chief State Archaeologist, that is used in all road developments around the country. So, it has the tacit approval of the IAI, and it must be familiar to you.

There are two major problems with this document:

1. All 38 sites are said to have no Historical, Cultural or Architectural value at all..."none". The sites, many of which sit barely yards apart, are all said to have no relationship to eachother or 'group value'. The conclusion then is that none of the sites are national monuments. So, here we have blatantly nonsensical conclusions being accepted as fact. How can any site in the Gabhra Valley have no historical, cultural or architectural value? How can they be unrelated, all sitting side by side in the shadow of Tara, an overall site that is in fact an ancient CITY; a city that straddled the two hills of Tara and Skryne and spilled into the surrounding countryside. The conslusions are nothing short of moronic.

2. The categories along the top do not correspond to the definition of a national monument:

"national monument" means a monument or the remains of a monument the preservation of which is a matter of national importance by reason of the historical, architectural, traditional, artistic, or archaeological interest attaching thereto...

That's five headings:
1. Historical
2. Architectural
3. Traditional
4. Artistic
5 Archaeological

Now, when we look at the Chief's document we see:

1. Historical
2. Architectural
3. Cultural
4. Landscape setting
5. Visual prominence
6. Group value/Relationship with other monuments

In addition, if look at Roestown, for example, you will see no mention of triple- beehive souterrains. Was there any followup re-evaluation of whether a national monument had been discovered?

Why are the IAI suddenly jumping out of the trenches they've had their heads buried in for the last seven years? They have had plenty of opportunities to correct the record. Would it have anything to do with the following letter that recently appeared in the Irish TImes last week?:


The Irish Times
Thursday, May 10, 2007

Madam, - We the undersigned would like to add our voices to those who
are concerned about the recent discovery of an ancient Celtic structure
along the path of the M3 motorway as it passes close to the Hill of

From the description that has been circulated, it is clearly of
singular importance, documenting the ancient ritual life of the people
who lived around Tara, and also the connections between those people
and others who celebrated in similar structures in Leinster, Ulster,
and Connacht.

Not only does it add to the vision of Tara, where people have been
celebrating their lives and burying their dead for 5,000 years, but it
also shows how much Ireland was one people, with similar rites
happening throughout the island during all that time. As such, it
rivals places in the New World such as Tikal, Monte Alban, Machu
Picchu, Pueblo Bonito, the Great Serpent Mound, Cahokia, or indeed
Stonehenge, in both cultural and spiritual importance.

The National Roads Authority was told that such sites would be
encountered but seemingly refused to listen, secure in the apparent
knowledge that all could be taken care of with prior survey. But this
site shows that they were wrong. They were told that Tara wasn't just a
site, but a landscape, a complex of monuments that, in combination with
the topography, placenames, mythology, and history make this a uniquely
well-preserved place of truly international importance.

It will suffer irrevocable damage if this road continues. It is
bitterly ironic that this landscape has survived to the present due to
careful custodianship in the past, based on thorough-going
understanding and sensitivity, and it seems short-sighted,
ill-conceived, and indeed arrogant to think that we will be doing less
than our predecessors.

Now is the time to re-think the path of this motorway. Is it really the
only path that it can take? We join Irish archaeologists and the public
in asking the Irish Government to halt what is tantamount to the
destruction of Ireland's archaeological heritage. An archaeological
site of this importance warrants the re-routing of a motorway and some
sort of guarantee for its continued survival in the future. - Yours,

Dr SUSAN A. JOHNSTON, Department of Anthropology, George Washington
University, Washington DC; Dr EMILY J. WEGLIAN, Department of
Anthropology, Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

(Also signed by: Dr Genevieve Fisher, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and
Ethnology, Harvard University; Dr David Valentine, Dr Martha J. Tappen,
Andrea J. Torgerson, Jeffery L. Adams, Matthew Hunstiger, Alexandra
Moyer, Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota; Dr Velana
Huntington, Department of Anthropology, University of Iowa; Dr Carol S.
Franklin, Dean of Social Science, Cuyahoga Community College; Dr Clare
Wilkinson-Weber, Department of Anthropology, Washington State
University, Vancouver; Greg Bailey, University of Bristol; Gretchen
Anderson, Science Museum of Minnesota; Stacey Camp, Department of
Social and Cultural Anthropology, Stanford University; Dr Ronald Hicks,
Ball State University; Dr Charles E. Orser, Jr, Department of
Anthropology, Illinois State University; Dr Melanie Fillios, University
of Sydney; Dr Bettina Arnold, Department of Anthropology, University of
Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Wendy J. Bacon, Department of Anthropology,
University of Pennsylvania.)


This is in effect an international indictment of the archaeological profession in Ireland. Why has it been left up to the two or three same Irish archaeologists, Newman and Fenwick and Eogan to defend Tara alone? Why has it been left up to citizens to take legal actions, make submission, write letters, fundraise, do legal work, lobby, endure meeting after meeting? And why are international scholars having to write letters like this? Because Irish archaeologists simply aren't. Maybe because all the archaeologists are too busy making money...and they want to keep it that way... Is there really any other explanation?

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by Siobhan Rice - TaraWatchpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 08:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is pathetic to see such vested interests in play here. Run back to the NRA and as ask for more cash. It is clear to any right minded person that that is the only motivation for you archeologists. It is very unfortunate that not only have you sold your souls to the NRA. You prostituted one of the Worlds most most valued archeological heritage sites in your own self interest.

Vincent is right: You should be hanging your heads in SHAME.

author by Vincent was not therepublication date Thu May 17, 2007 09:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Margaret Gowen module of the NRA conference was covered on the newswire
by C Murray. Tarawatch did nothing about it.
Tarawatch is led by an ineptitude which is baffling to see:

The full text of the Planning and construction Guidelines is available from the NRA website,
it contains the module on the EIS- it ststes in writing that a route will not be altered after the
EIS is completed, this subverts two pieces of legislation and makes a mockery of the
tri-partite PPP and the nDP.

Vincent's focus has been devide and conquer and a blatant refusal to accept that
expertise is not alone grounded in a campaign which he directs. He has divided the
campaign to such an extent and pisssed off so many of the eco-community that no-one will
deal with him.

Now, his impetus seems to be self-publicity and having a public record of
his identification with Tara, and the group persists in attacking everything
that does not fit with the monlithic ambition of the man.

Tarawatch has failed to contextualise tara within a political or global cultural
context and suffices itself with an attack on both expert and community opinion.

This either indicates deep ignorance of the seriousness of the matter or
a very deliberate attempt to work within the system which we recognise as
corrupt. Again- where are the links to Rossport, to Pallaskenry, to the community in

Suggest that the whole crew get loaded in Glastonbury and don't come back.
Less of the soul stuff too, people are working long hours to re-unite a campaign
damaged by the ego demands of that recalcitrant little brat!

author by anarchaeologistpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 09:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'll engage with TaraWatch when they start getting their facts right, rather than deliberately distorting them. My 'dead end' arguments, as you put them, are actually the truth of the matter. It's all documented. But for the last time...

Does anyone really believe that there's a huge conspiracy among archaeologists to push a motorway through a historical landscape of such fundamental importance? Most of us are at the front line when it comes to trying to establish a day to day critique and record of how this island is 'developing' while formulating an appropriate and sustainable response. And all this for shit wages and shit working conditions.

Why doesn't TaraWatch engage with those who are really going to run to the bank when the road gets built, the developers and speculators who have been influencing the route selection from the very beginning?

It just looks to me like we're the easier target.

Unless something mad happens in the next few days, the state will have won and the road will go through the Tara landscape. Maybe TaraWatch should consider the implications of this and the usefulness or otherwise of the law and legal procedure to defend what's worth defending. They could write it all down in a book and learn a few lessons for the next time around.

The trouble with TaraWatch though, is that it is a small (but undeniably vocal) organisation with a self-obsessed figure to the front, who has his own way of doing things. And if I've taken something from my 24 years working in archaeology it's that some people never learn.

Apologies though for the ad hominem attack. No apologies for my 'juvenile contempt for the native legal system of this country; Brehon Law'. I don't have much truck with the law in any of its historical manifestations.

Siobhan has as difficult a relationship to the facts as she appears to have with basic grammar. I don't have a soul to sell to the NRA.

author by Michael Martin - TaraWatchpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 09:26author email Wicklowwolf at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just one question, Ms Gowen. Is dumping human bones on spoil-heaps where they get crushed by diggers part of the IAI's "high professional standards" you support and defend so strongly?

Related Link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hilloftara
author by Vincent - TaraWatchpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 09:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

TaraWatch brought the new discovery to the attention of the media and the public. Not that IAI, not Chris Murray, and not my anonymous friend here. The intelligent remarks above are actually a perfect example of what has really plagued the Tara campaign from the beginning. They say a lot more about the writer than they do the target.

Anyway, while they carry on driveling, we will carry on working...


'The Hill of Tara: The Historical and Cultural Significance'

Trinity College Dublin

Swift Theatre

11.00 am to 3.00 pm - Monday 21st May 2007

Hosted by the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, TCD

- The event will be filmed by BBC Scotland for the Europa program

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by stop the clockspublication date Thu May 17, 2007 09:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wow! What a declaration! Tarawatch discovered Lismullin - what else will this megalomaniac claim. Give us the time line then. Did they know before the NRA, before the National Museum, before the visit of the National Museum?
Come on ... we're dying to know the details. Was it January, February, March, April or May? 2004, 2005, 2006 or 2007

author by Siobhan - TaraWatchpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 12:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thats not what was said. If you had read the thing properly ,instead of being so quick to spew out bitchy venomous remarks, you would know that.


author by TaraWatchpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 13:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Archaeological Issues :

The impacts on Archaeology were raised mainly in the Dunshaughlin to Navan section where the possible impact of the motorway on the archaeological landscape associated with the Hills of Tara and Skreen were the subject of many of the submissions both to An Bord and at the Hearing from objectors in that locality. There were some concerns expressed about the effects of movement of routes for the Dunboyne By-pass R 157 (on the Henshaw property, Plot 326) and for the R125 Link at Dunshaughlin ( on the Kieran property, Plot 172) but these were clarified in cross-examination of the Council's witnesses. Some queries about the Nugentstown site near Kells were raised at the Hearing by Mr. Sweetman relating to the use of geophysical prospecting there and why no further site investigations had, as yet, been carried out on that site which is adjacent to but clear of the route. Ms Deery for the Council had replied that site investigations would be done in advance of construction. While there had been some references to archaeological sites in submissions made prior to the Hearing from the Ardbraccan area, these were not subsequently pursued at the Hearing.

Ms Gowan, who was the Council's Archaeological Consultant for the Dunshaughlin to Navan section in the EIS, gave evidence that the proposed route passed between the Hills of Tara and of Skreen on the eastern side of the valley floor and sought to avoid the important core zone around Tara with the route being some 1.5 kms. east of the limit of the designated area and also east of the existing N3. She said that the route had succeeded in avoiding all standing ( above ground) archaeological sites, it had sought to avoid all known sites and sought to minimise the physical and visual impacts on the archaeological landscapearound Tara. Ms Gowan referred to the geophysical survey that had been carried out by the Council (detailed in Vol. 4C of the EIS) which provided them with a good understanding of what might be located when excavation work commenced and said that there were 5 areas identified by that survey which would be directly affected by the road, one of which -- Area 19-- lies between Tara and Skreen, see Section 61 of this Report.

Ms Gowan was subjected to strong cross-examination by Mr. O'Donnell and Mr. Sweetman as well as cross-examination by the Bellinter Residents Association (BRA) and the Meath Road Action Group (MRAG), much of which centered on the comments she had made in the route selection process when a route to the east of Skreen was said to be more suitable from an archaeological perspective. When Mr. O'Donnell suggested that the proposed motorway route would have a profound effect on one of the most famous archaeological complexes in the world, Ms Gowan disagreed and said the route would not have a profound effect on the complex of the Hill of Tara since the chosen route alignment was 1.5 kms from the outer edge of the designated zone of Tara as a complex of monuments and not just one monument. In response to cross-examination by Mr. Park of the BRA Ms Gowan pointed to the archaeological study having formed a strong input to the engineering design of the route, a point which had been the cause of some concerns expressed by other objectors who found the initial route had been moved closer to their property as a consequence of the avoidance of sites of potential archaeological interest.

A detailed submission was made to the Hearing by Ms Clancy of the Meath Archaelogical and Historical Society which had five parts to their section on cultural heritage, se Section 81 of this Report. Their five concerns were:- the M3 traversing an archaelogically sensitive landscape; the lack of a fullscale investigation of each alternative route considered; that "cultural heritage" should extend to much more than archaeologoy and buildings and include folklore, local history, old field names etc etc; that the non-technical summary was very short with no details of what would be done if more discoveries canme to light during construction and they questioned why a route bewtween Tara and Skreen was being chosen. She also had some suggestions to make about changes that should be made to the EIA procedure to give a greater role in this for voluntary groups to participate.

A submission was made by Mr. Lumley for An Taisce, see Section 80 of this Report, in which he referred to the aims of the Valletta Convention of 1992 as a means of protecting the archaeological heritage and referred to what he saw a fundamental flaw in the way archaeology was being dealt with on major projects in Ireland and not only on road projects and pointed to the need for the broader archaeological landscape to be considered and not just confined to the immediate vicinity of the proposed development site. Mr. Lumley also referred to the Carrickmines issue as an example of what could occur where inadequate proper on-site assessment procedures were not followed and he criticised the absence of a representative of Duchas at the Hearing.

Mr. Conor Newman, the former Director of the Discovery Program who had made a submission to An Bord also made a submission to the Hearing, see Section 82 of this Report, in which he expressed his concerns about the impact of the motorway on the archaeological and historical landscape of the Hill of Tara, and he criticised the absence of the geophysical images from the EIS saying that the interpretative drawings without the images compromised the archaeological analysis and assessment of the EIS. He suggested that "resolving" archaeological sites that were found to be in the way of "development" was a current expediency and said that the imperative began with preservation and not just in excavating sites, and that in considering the archaeological landscape of Tara the point of convergence between moral and cultural imperatives had been reached that required Tara to be preserved.

In their submission to An Bord of 22 April 2002 Duchas said they agreed with the recommendations for mitigating impacts on archaeology set out in Volumes 3 to 7, both A & C, of the EIS and recommended that pre-construction archaeological investigations where recommended in the EIS should be carried out as early as possible. They made a number of recommendations from an underwater archaeological perspective almost al of which were already included in the EIS or in the Council's Archaeology direct evidence. These comments by Duchas support the comments made by the Councils archaeologists that the route proposed had the support of Duchas and while documents submitted by the BRA from the Ombudsmans Office ( see Day 17 at Appendix 4 of this Report and Section 70) might suggest that Duchas saw the Pink route as the preferred route at one time, the references to both A & C volumes of the EIS in the letter of 22/04/02 discounts, in my opinion, that suggestion by the BRA.

In the evidence presented by the Council and in the submissions made by Ms Clancy and Mr. Newman there are references to the rich archaeological landscape in Co. Meath and to the numerous finds in recent major projects that involve excavation, the M1 and Gas pipelie projects being recent examples. It is common case that any route for a major road across Co. Meath will inevitably result in some previously unknown archaeological sites. The Council contend that by their investigations and, particularly, by the use of geopophysical prospecting surveying they have sufficiently identified the potential for underground archaelogical remains to be able to avoid a substantial number in the route alignment now proposed. They also contend that the information gained would, as Ms Gowan said, mean a greatly reduced risk of unexpected negative impact on unknown archaeological sites. Essentially the objectors case is that a different route to the east of Skreen should have been selected for the Section between Dunshaughlin and Navan and that would have "removed" the potential impact from the Hill of Tara archaeological landscape. In this regard it has to be noted that no similar geophysical survey was carried out on a potential route to the east of Skreen so that an exact comparison of "apples with apples " can not be drawn.

The proposed route between Dunshaughlin and Navan would impact directly on five sites of archaeological potential, all of which were identified by the geophysical survey, three of these-- Areas 26, 28 & 29-- are at the Gerrardstown Stud/ Roestown area, one -- Area 19-- lies between Tara and Skreen near Baronstown and the other site -- Area 4-- is in Dowdstown. The route lies to the east of the existing N3 and is some 1.5 kms from the Hill of Tara Record of Monuments and Places (RMP) " core zone" as shown on the map SK 500 handed in by Ms Gowan on Day 17 during her cross-examination by the BRA. At the Blundelstown Interchange the route is some 1.1 kms from that core zone. While the proposed route comes close to the site known as Rath Lugh which is close to its eastern edge, Ms Gowan said that they had avoided impacting directly on that site by careful selection of the route. Mr. Lumley referred to the potential impact on a site at Lismullin, which appears to be the site for which an adjustment was made to the route, as described in Section 1.2 of Vol. 4A of the EIS where some changes to the geometric design as mitigation measures are listed.

Having regard to all of the evidence given at the Hearing and the cross-examination on the archaeology impacts in the Tara / Skreen area presented at the Hearing and to the details set out in the EIS, I am satisfied that the route as proposed would not have a significant impact on the archaelogical landscape associated with the Hill of Tara, as indicated by the area designated as the core zone on the RMP Map SK 500. I also consider that the route proposed will not impact significantly on the archeaological landscape associated with the Hill of Skreen.

In the submisssions by Ms Clancy of the Meath Archaeological & Historical Society, that of the Dunboyne Historical Society and in one of Mr. Laurence Ward's submissions it was suggested that there should be a record made of features of interset such as local place names, old field and road names, trees and bushes that were part of local or traditional customs and similar items of local folklore or local customs, all of which formed part of the cultural heritage and which would be lost when the road excavation commenced. Having regard to the extent of the proposed road development across almost the entire length of County Meath, it seems reasonable that a "local cultural heritage survey" would be undertaken as a part of the preparatory work for the motorway scheme. It should be possible to complete such a survey in a 9 to 12 month period which could be undertaken under the direction of the Project Archaelogist, in consultation with those who made the suggestion.

A number of references were made to the Carrickmines archaeology issue which was on-going during the early part of the Hearing and the Council were asked for their suggestions on how they would deal with an unexpected " Carrickmines" type of discovery being made. Towards the end of the Hearing the Council handed in their response, which is listed at Day 25 in Appendix 4 of this Report. In this the Council pointed to the Code of Practice agreed between the NRA, on behalf of itself and Local Authorities, and Duchas and to the appointment of a Project Archaeologist and to the undertaking given during the Hearing in response to a query by Ms Clancy that sufficient funds and time would be allocated for thorough archaeological investigatrion before any construction work commenced. The Council indicated that contracts for test excavation would shortly be awarded and that groundwork for the next stage of archaeological investigation would commence before the end of 2002. The Council said that this early investigation strategy, with further geophysical surveying and test excavation, would allow for early mitigation of impacts on any existing archaeology in advance of construction.

I am satisfied from the evidence presented at the Hearing that the archaelogical impacts from the proposed Motorway Scheme have been adequately identified in the EIS and that appropriate mitigation measures have also been identified which would minimise these impacts.

Related Link: http://www.hilloftara.info/docs/Rms2004-Part%205.doc
author by Irish-American - Humanitypublication date Thu May 17, 2007 16:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It doesn't take a brain surgeon, or an archeologist, to realize that: When a National and Historical Site such as TARA has existed for a couple thousand years, there has to be layers and layers of treasures buried within and under the area, and should not be disturbed except by archeological digs! How anyone could put their stamp-of-approval to build an extensive roadway on this Site is beyond historical thinking...unless...greed for power and money distorted one's sight! The DEVISTATION of TARA and SKYRNE VALLEY IS NOT RIGHT!

"anarchaeologist", you belittle yourself with the comment to Siobhan. There is more passion in her care for Tara by her few words than all of yours, methinks!


author by Michael Martin - TaraWatchpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 20:16author email Wicklowwolf at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The henge was discovered by NRA archaeologists in late March, but they tried to keep the discovery a secret.. But rumours of the discovery have been circulating since April 1st. Sunday two weeks ago I headed out there myself to take a few photos. At 2 am the next morning I put the pics on TaraWatch's public message board and also forwarded them to another campaign group. A few hours later my pics were part of a press release issued by TaraWatch, and the NRA was no longer able to keep the lid on the discovery of yet another national monument in the Gabhra valley. A few days later the other campaign group unfolded a massive banner over the the barbwire fence nearest to the henge, in full view of Irish Times reporters and an RTE (or was it TV3? - not sure.) camera team, with me taking photos again which can be viewed on their public E-group. At this stage the NRA and their archaeologists had to bite the bullet. There was no way of return for them, and they were forced to admit that a new national monument had been discovered in the Gabhra valley.
Without TaraWatch informing the media about the discovery, the NRA archaeologists would have dismantled and destroyed the henge as they have done to various other important archaeological sites on route of the approved M3.

Related Link: http://tarawatch.org
author by other threadpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 20:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

the aerial shots are attributed to Paula Geraghty.

This is what has been referred to , not the publicity campaign and glastonbury party machine.

author by British Bulldogpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 21:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You Irish would argue with your own reflection. Why can't you all just get together and fight your corrupt Govt as you are all fighting to Save Tara. It is not about who is doing more to Save Tara and who is doing more than the other person. So, you're going to demonstrate tomorrow; everyone does their own things to help with the cause, whether it be demonstrating on the site waving banners around or getting the media involved. This campaign seems to be going on for an awful long time - is it time for peaceful demonstrations to come to an end?..........

And as for the 'Glastonbury Party Machine' they are raising awareness to people who are not fully aware of the situation, whilst raising funds for an Archaeologist that you Irish are not able to get. Do you have a problem with us Brits helping you fight the battle of Corruption or do you still hold a deep routed grudge against us?

Brightest Blessings to you all, British Bulldog.

author by Michael Martin - Tara Watchpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 22:59author email Wicklowwolf at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I never claimed to have taken the aerial shots.

Related Link: http://tarawatch.org
author by TaraWatchpublication date Thu May 17, 2007 23:22author email info at tarawatch dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

The aerial photos had nothing to do with Lismullen being exposed.

Building a real organisation is always hard, but TaraWatch is growing rapidly, after withdrawing from CST in February.
Our mailing lists have over 1,000 members, v. CST which has circa 150.

We have over 5,000 myspace friends in our network, while CST has 50 bebo friends.

We have already raised 1,000s towards the cost of an independent archaeological assessment, which will be under way soon.

On the Net we have run successful letter writing campaigns (see US Irish Times letter above) In the media we have spread the story world wide; see National Geographic, BBC, etc...

And TaraWatch takes action:

- TaraWatch supports legal action, and is actively preparing for that eventuality, having retained a legal team

- We made the World Monuments Fund - List of 100 Most Endangered Sites nomination in January after others took it on and dropped tha ball.

- The only protests that occured since this whole campaign occured when TaraWatch, Vigil and STSV worked together. Then the group was immediately infiltrated, when the issue hit the papers. We withdrew and next thing you know ... no more protests.... Roestown gone without a whimper, while the fire burned brightly on the Hill.... You can expect more.

- We have put on several academic events, which include the public. The next one is on Monday, at TCD. Dr Sean Duffy and Dr Gerald Morgan to speak. CST have not ever put on one public event. Their greatest achivement so far has been a prize in the local St Patrick's Day parade float competition, where Micky Mouse also got a distingusihed merit award on their behalf.

Now that I think about it, CST have done absolutely nothing worth talking about since we left, besides print up a lot of pointless leaflets that ask people to vote for pro-Tara candidates and don't tell the voters who they are. Then hold two press conferences, two weeks in a row, with the same people saying the same things, ad nauseum. Oh yea, and jump in front of the TV cameras we sent up to Tara.

This weekend TaraWatch will be on the streets of Dublin and on the Internet mobilising the public, asking them to protest, make submissions, and attend a free public event. CST will be handing out flyers to people in Meath, asking voters to vote for Tara. Grand. But once the election is over, they really will be obsolete.

Let's all honestly support the Greens, Sinn Fein and Labour - along with the Independent candidates like Phil Cantwell and Martin Hogan...and pray they can deliver. Fair play to them, as they have been at this a lot longer than CST. But let's face it, they are doing their own campaigning on this matter, with or without CST. I have seen no CST event or inatiative where the political parties have been given a platform. But, thanks to the effective media campaign by TaraWatch of late, they now have something to talk about.

I am happy to give credit where credit is due. The 22 council members of TaraWatch deserve full credit for keeping this issue alive over the last 2 years...while all else fell into silence and secret meetings.

Let CST and others continue their anonymous smear campaign here all they like. That kind of strategy is simply doomed... It is going to take real work to win this, and we will do our best, with open doors, and a positive attitude. We do not attack fellow concerned citizens, who we don't even know, for political, religious, racial, academic or other illegal and discriminatory reasons.

A friend of Tara is a friend of ours. We are willing, ready and able to work with any group or individual, who act in good faith. But we getting on with it regardless.

Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by Stop all the clockspublication date Fri May 18, 2007 00:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i presume when its found at Tara Tarawatch and Co will have known for months, hidden it for months and then told the media

author by Vincentpublication date Fri May 18, 2007 00:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You mean that big box with golden wings on it? We were wondering what to do with it... I guess we'll have to give it back to the British Israelites at our Glastonbury ceremony...

As for Lismullen, as soon as we knew what it was, you did too. Certainly others did have prior knowledge of it, but they let Cullen have his day in the sod.

By the way, did you hear the story about how Shane McEntee hid a 50 cent piece under the sod? When Cullen turned it, and saw the coin he said; 'what's that'? McEntee said: 'its an archaeological find' and they both had a great laugh... for a few hours anyway ;-)

author by Ritapublication date Fri May 18, 2007 10:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The names and business interests of the '22 council members' should therefore
be published openly.

The reason for the failure of Tarawatch to contextualise the issue of Heritage destruction should
be replied to.

Books should be opened.

The refusal of Tarawatch to engage with other protest groups and to divide campaigns
by means of abuse and bullying should be referred to by the hard-working non-limited
companies and accumulation of citizens who have very clearly stated that Vincent's
direction is questionable and one does not achieve 'leadership' by pissing off the
entire eco-community.

Plus- The above comment by Mr Salafia is deeply offensive to those who possess
cultural memory.

A voiceferous campaign grounded in media seducation which avoids substantive topics
is not a bid to Save Tara , but a simplistic and ridiculous attempt to use an issue for
political advancement.

author by Vincent - TaraWatchpublication date Fri May 18, 2007 12:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi 'Rita',

I have spent the last hour writing a reply to your various criticisms and questions, But, why should I respond to your allegations of bad faith, when you yourself show no good faith at all, hiding behind Indymedia anonymity?

If you want to come to a TaraWatch meeting, you are welcome to join, and ask all the questions you like. We meet at 3.00 pm this Saturday in the Capel Building. Gather at the Spar coffee shop on the corner of Capel and Abbey St.



Related Link: http://www.tarawatch.org
author by R Kleinpublication date Fri May 18, 2007 13:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

but I am otherwise engaged with other endeavours on the weekends, including working on
my book on Heritage and Conservation. I will however drop my details to you when the
chapter on Tara comes up. I am currently trying to locate members of all groups involved
in Heritage struggle over the last decade.

The area of specific interest in Tara is how context was created and sustained by the two
main groups. Indymedia has proven a useful tool in deciminating varied forms of
information on the evolution of community protest.


Rita Klein.

author by Bettinapublication date Fri May 18, 2007 17:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Rita,

I would appreciate very much, if you could take a look at Grianan Aileach (hillfort), Inishowen, Co. Donegal.
What has been done to it by the Office of Public works over the last six and a half years has left this National monument defaced and structurally unsound.

Thank you.
Bettina Linke

Related Link: http://unknownswilly.orgfree.com/griananwalls.html
author by Terencepublication date Fri May 18, 2007 18:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Bettina, what you have done by documenting the neglect and destruction of Grianan Aileach (hillfort), Inishowen, Co. Donegal is of great public service.

I would just like to suggest that some way between all the people concerned, it would be a good idea to setup some kind of website, maybe along the lines of Wikipedia, that documents all the heritage sites in Ireland with photographs included by timeline so these things can be brought to wider attention.

Related Link: http://unknownswilly.orgfree.com/griananwalls.html
author by Bettinapublication date Fri May 18, 2007 18:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Terence,

Thank you for your response. And I agree completely.
At the beginning of this year the Tara Foundation included Grianan AIleach and since yesterday I try to get Grianan onto the list of the Heritage Protection Alliance of Ireland.
This alliance seems to me the very body so many have cried out for in the last years. An independent organisation including all heritage sites in Ireland.


author by Michael Martin - TaraWatchpublication date Fri May 18, 2007 22:27author email Wicklowwolf at yahoo dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi Terence,

websites like the one you are suggesting are already in existence Check
http://www.mythicalireland.com and

Best of luck

Related Link: http://tarawatch.org
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