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Search words: Tara

WAC Press Release On Tara

category international | history and heritage | press release author Friday July 11, 2008 12:13author by Tara Tara Tara Report this post to the editors

WAC Press Release Via Maggie Ronayne

Dear all,

WAC press release on Tara below, sent to me by the senior rep on the WAC executive for northern europe. Please forward to all the Tara campaigns and others who may not have access to email.


Maggie Ronayne
Lecturer in Archaeology
National University of Ireland, Galway
Tel: +353 (0)91 493701

Media Release

For Immediate Release - 11th July, 2008


Following the largest ever international gathering of archaeologists in Dublin, Ireland, the World Archaeological Congress has released a statement expressing its opposition to any further development alongside the new stretch of motorway in the wider landscape zone surrounding the historical site of Tara in Co Meath, Ireland."Tara has significance far beyond Ireland itself," said Professor Claire Smith, President of the World Archaeological Congress. "Its iconic significance derives from its unique cultural character, as situated in a broader landscape. The World Archaeological Congress strongly encourages the Irish Government to instigate formal protection measures for this area, and to consider nominating Tara for inscription as a World Heritage site.""Prior to the holding of the Sixth World Archaeological Congress here in Ireland, we sent two senior representatives to look at the issue of the motorway, " said Professor Claire Smith. "They found that all the archaeological work had been done to the highest professional standards." However, during the Congress a number of competing and often contradictory claims were made and the World Archaeological Congress has now commissioned a report on the Tara discussions. The World Archaeological Congress stressed that its report would not interfere with the legal and consultative planning process already completed in Ireland. "We do not question the validity of the planning process undertaken in Ireland. Our purpose is to learn lessons for the future and for other countries with issues surrounding development archaeology," said Professor Smith. "There are many strong opinions about Tara and it is important that valid claims receive due attention, and that misinformation be sifted out. This can only be done through a considered study," Professor Smith said.Recognising that the reburial of ancient remains in Ireland is subject to the provisions of the National Monuments Act and the agreement of the National Museum of Ireland, the World Archaeological Congress also draws attention to the Vermillion Accord on human remains and suggests that any human remains excavated from the cultural landscape of Tara should be re-interred with due respect as close as possible to their original locations, as this is where these people would have wished to be buried. The World Archaeological Congress notes the significant adverse impact that motorways and other forms of development can have on valuable cultural landscapes."Throughout the world, developments such as motorways can have significant adverse impact on cultural landscapes," said Professor Smith. "Cultural heritage needs to be factored into the planning process from the beginning.""In order to address these issues from a global perspective the World Archaeological Congress will be holding an Inter-Congress with the theme "Rethinking relations of Archaeology and Development."The Inter-Congress on archaeology and development is likely to be held in Lund, Sweden, in 2009.

Further Information: Professor Claire Smith

Mobile: 0872 698 353 (Ireland)


Dr Jon Price

Executive member



The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and is the only elected international body of practising archaeologists. WAC holds an international congress every four years to promote the exchange of the results of archaeological research; professional training and public education for disadvantaged nations, groups and communities; the empowerment and betterment of Indigenous groups and First Nations peoples; and the conservation of archaeological sites.

The Sixth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-6) was held from 29th June-4th July at the University College Dublin. This was the first World Archaeological Congress to be held in Ireland. It was attended by over 1,800 archaeologists, native peoples and international scholars from 74 nations. Motions from the Plenary session of the Congress were considered by subsequent meetings of the World Archaeological Congress Council and Executive.

The Congress Patron for WAC-6 was President Mary McAleese. Previous Congress Patrons include Harriet Mayor Fulbright, Prince Charles and Nelson Mandela.

author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 12:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As an addition to the welcomed WAC Press Release , there will be an online Petition here to Reinter The Bodies of the Ancestors later today. This has been in the works for some time now and those organising it are very grateful for the recognition given by WAC to the importance of this goal. You will be invited to sign and pass it on. Thank you.

author by Emma Sharm-Hayespublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 13:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The procedure for submissions as a follows.

Submissions had to be in writing and placed in a special box in the O Riley building, UCD by 1pm on the day of the plenary session, which was on the last day of the WAC, Friday, July 4th.

Each submission was typed and presented to the congress starting at 4 30pm on the last day of WAC.
There was in total, 20 proposals submitted to the plenary congress on the final day. Of those 20, 5 proposals regarding Tara were submitted.

Maggie Ronayne submitted 3 proposals. Of which 2 focused on Tara the third one indirectly related to Tara; in that it centered on the ethics of archeology in Ireland.

Debbie submitted 1 proposal

Emma Sharma-Hayes submitted 1 proposal

Due to of lack of information available to the majority of the 1800 Archaeologists from 75 countries, the plenary congress assembly was unable to give a definite vote for or against the proposals submitted by Debbie and Emma. In other words, the majority of the floor abstained on voting on these proposals.

However one proposal of Maggie's which indirectly related to Tara was passed in favour.

A woman member present at the plenary congress said she was not satisfied at the lack of information on the Hill of Tara in relation to the M3motorway. This woman proposed that WAC investigate Tara. Her proposal in favour was past by a huge majority.

The plenary session started at 4 30pm ended around 8pm. At which time the executive committee of WAC then had a further meeting to discuss among other issues, our submissions on Tara.
the outcome of this meeting will be made known in the press release by WAC, which was due to be released yesterday, according to Clair Smith, president of WAC. On checking WAC website and asking Emma Rua to double check, which she did, that press release was not released yesterday and until it is( in the interests of accuracy) the WAC five, which includes, Debbie, Lou, Emily Robert from Dublin and Emma would be unwise to put out a press release.

Tara Watch was not represented at WAC plenary session. In other words, in order to have ones submission proposed at the plenary session, one had to have that submission seconded by a person, who was either invited by WAC to the debate on Tara the day before; as in the case of Debbie, Sean Gilmartin and Julita Clancy, who were guests at the Thursday debate on Tara: Or be a member of WAC.

There was no one from Tara Watch at the plenary session, hence there were no written submissions proposed by Tara Watch at the plenary session; there by the resolutions to the plenary session or the outcome of the WAC executive meeting which followed the plenary session has no input from Tara Watch.

The Tara five are ex-members of the Campaign to Save Tara. Ex-members of the Campaign to Save Tara continue to work together as concerned friends of the Tara/Gabhra Valley Landscape.

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author by Mise Tara 3publication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 13:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So basically if ye hadnt been there, that would've been the end of the story with WAC!!!!

Congrats, maybe they will uncover more lies and corruption, one hopes!

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author by Laura - TaraWatchpublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 13:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just to clarify, the TaraWatch submission was given to WAC on Friday, albeit on a cd-rom, and not a written document.

Well done to all who spoke at the Plenary, WAC probably wouldn't have touched it at all otherwise.

It is unfortunate, but not surprising that WAC have issued such a weak response. Unsurprising, considering their sponsors are those facilitating the destruction

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author by AntiCorruptionpublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 14:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The extremely important matter of corruption (which you have raised) has gently been brought to the attention of Claire Smith (President of World Archaeological Congress) today, and to the WAC Executive as well -- please see at

Though the WAC people cannot of course help us with our corruption problem, it can't do any harm to make them aware of it.

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author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 14:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why didnt Tarawatch follow the procedure? From what I have read, TW were the recognised stakeholders and submissions had to go throught them?

So, why did it take 5 non TW members of the public to walk in there and raise what should have been raised by ye?????

What if they hadnt been there to highlight the very relevant issues that would have been completely ignored otherwise?

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author by Tara Supporterpublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 14:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hopefully this will have an impact. It's bound to show up Deevy and co. I'm sure that when they dig a bit more(no pun intended) they'll find out what's really been going on. It's only the beginning.Good stuff lads!

author by Ainepublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 15:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So, where do we go from here?
Are there more submissions to be made, to the WAC report?
Or do we wait and see what they have to say?
Will they be looking into Maggie's and Jo's claims? It seems that they are quite happy with the way things have been done so far. Still, it's great that they recommend the reinternment of the bones of our ancestors. I think we really need to fight for this. The Sacred Valley is scarred, but hopefully these spirits may yet be allowed to lie in peace.

author by Beware the watcherspublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 16:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Emma > "There was no one from Tara Watch at the plenary session"

Disgracefull ! Unbrelieveable !

Tarawatch reply >"Well done to all who spoke at the Plenary, WAC probably wouldn't have touched it at all otherwise"

There you have it ,Tarawatch are a waste of cyberspace !

RIP Tarawatch you are ineffective

author by Beware the watcherspublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 16:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Emma > "There was no one from Tara Watch at the plenary session"

Disgracefull ! Unbrelieveable !

Tarawatch reply >"Well done to all who spoke at the Plenary, WAC probably wouldn't have touched it at all otherwise"

There you have it ,Tarawatch are a waste of cyberspace !

author by TaraWatchpublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors


11 July 2008

'Director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre Proposes Hill of Tara Round Table'

Mr Francesco Bandarin, Director of the World Heritage Centre of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, (UNESCO) proposed yesterday that a workshop on the Hill of Tara cultural landscape would take place. He made the proposal in discussions with TaraWatch at the closing of the 32nd Session of the World Heritage Committee, in Quebec, Canada last night.

The idea for a round table examination of the Hill of Tara cultural landscape was welcomed by TaraWatch, who had sent a delegation to attend the week long event. A formal submission was also made, regarding the proposal by the Minister for the Environment to make Tara a World Heritage Site. The submission is currently being examined by the UNESCO Legal Advisor.

Workshops are used by UNESCO and its Advisory Bodies, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to explore, educate and train on cultural and scientific matters, relating to the implementation of the 1972 Convention on World Heritage.

The Convention was signed by Ireland in 1991, and it was amended in 1992 to include cultural landscapes. According to UNESCO, cultural landscapes are "combined works of nature and humankind, which express a long and intimate relationship between peoples and their natural environment. " The birth of the Tara cultural landscape took place at least 5,000 years ago, with the construction of the Mound of the Hostages, a passage tomb on the summit of the hill.

Various international bodies, such as the UNESCO Advisory Bodies and the World Monuments Fund, Sacred Sites International, and the Archaeological Institute of America are being invited to attend. In addition, State Parties to the Convention, such as Egypt, Bahrain, and Kenya, who expressed strong interest in Tara at the Committee meeting, are being invited to participate.

Seamus Heaney, who donated works for auction to fund the TaraWatch delegation, has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the workshop opening. It is expected to be co-hosted by the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Trinity College Dublin, who have partnered with TaraWatch on past events. A date will be announced shorty.

The impact on the integrity of Tara cultural landscape by the proposed M3 motorway will form a part of the workshop. At the Quebec meeting, the Committee voted to retain the Dresden Elbe Valley on UNESCO World Heritage List, but urged an end to building of a bridge.

The Committee also expressed regret at the decision by English Heritage to cancel plans for the proposed tunnel, to remove the A344 road and close the A303 road adjacent to Stonehenge, due to estimated costs of USD 975 million. It urged the State Party to submit a report on the closure of the road by 1 February 2009, or risk losing UNESCO listing.

Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, recently said on the occasion of the Round Table on Science, the Information Society and the Millennium Development Goals during the World Summit on the Information society:

"One of UNESCOs core missions is to promote the free exchange of ideas and scientific knowledge. Another is to maintain, increase and diffuse scientific knowledge. These missions have never been more relevant than today.

Vincent Salafia, who attended the Quebec UNESCO meeting said:

"The round table on Tara will finally provide an opportunity for all of the stakeholders with an interest in the Hill of Tara to share their knowledge, and explore the all of possibilities for the future of the site.

"This will bring together the worlds leading conservation bodies in a constructive and educational manner, where there will be a complete evaluation of the cultural, scientific, historical and legal aspects relating to the conservation of the proposed Hill of Tara World Heritage Site."

author by john waynepublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 23:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting that they are congratulating themselves on their (lack of ) action

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author by Ronald Reaganpublication date Fri Jul 11, 2008 23:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

TaraWatch and (former) Campaign to Save Tara are two ditinguishly different organizations. TaraWatch handed in their submission as they saw fit, and these CST people made their presentation in their own way. Two different organizations, two different voices. So what's the problem here????

author by Observerpublication date Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From what I can gather from reading the previous posts and their website, Tarawatch were the recognised stakeholders and all submissions to WAC had to go through them following certain guidelines and procedures.

However, no submissions were made at the plenary by TW in accordance with the guidelines and had the WAC5 not arrived and pushed their cases as they did, then there would have been a serious misrepresentation of the facts doctored by pro NRA people present at the conference. So I would see that as a serious dereliction of duty by TW as they were entrusted with putting forward the best case possible .

It would seem that those left behind to deal with WAC by Vincent Salafia who us away in Quebec did not do their job properly and the day was only saved by the WAC5 - as they are calling themselves. Lets hope Vincent is more on top of his game and good luck to him!

That's how I see it anyway.

author by Observer 2publication date Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was no one from Tara Watch at the plenary session, hence there were no written submissions proposed by Tara Watch at the plenary session; there by the resolutions to the plenary session or the outcome of the WAC executive meeting which followed the plenary session has no input from Tara Watch.

Quote from Emma Sharma-Hayes above.

And then this ....

A resolution on Tara and the M3 motorway will be announced today by The Sixth World Archaeological Congress (WAC6), held in Dublin last week.

"We called for a WAC resolution and we hope they will send representatives to this UNESCO workshop to help implement that resolution".

Quote from TW Press Release from their website which is omitted from the PR above.

That seem strange to you? I dont care what squabbles have occurred between groups the fact is this, TW let us down at WAC. No other subject- just this.

author by A Friend of Tarapublication date Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

TaraWatch made their submission as planned. Tara campaigners not affiliated to TaraWatch were invited to add their views to the TaraWatch submission. But they decided not to accept the TaraWatch invitation and instead do their own thing.. The problem is that one cannot make a submission within the framework created by WAC, but at the same time get your people to shout in from the public galleries.. If the WAC5' think they have been let down by TaraWatch, then they should have approached us before the event to form a common strategy. But they didn't, in spite of an invitation from TaraWatch well in advance of the conference.

author by AKA-47publication date Sat Jul 12, 2008 13:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No serious Tara campaigner would filter their submissions through Tarawatch. Chances are that they would disappear in cyberspace and float away in oblivion. No right-minded campaigner would trust that their submissions would actually reach the people it was intended for.

author by Botchwatchpublication date Sat Jul 12, 2008 21:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"TaraWatch made their submission as planned"

Crap, no written submission was made by Tarawatch.It would seem they could not be arsed attending.
Now "friend of Tara" makes this stupid statement.

author by IshtarCeltpublication date Sun Jul 13, 2008 13:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I must confess to being disappointed with the press release - WAC are playing it safe and trying not to piss off the Irish govt. It seems that they have a different set of rules for 'first world' countries (which have no poor or disadvantaged or indigenous people or sociioeconomic inequalities or corrupt goverments etc. - its a brave new world!)

What I see as the greater work done at WAC was the raising of awareness about the real story at Tara - the NRA didn't get away with their whitewash. The international archaeological community is much more aware now of the fact that things are not as rosy as the picture that was being officially painted. It's not just the fact that WAC will investigate Tara, but now, a lot of other archaeologists and anthropologists are interested - Tara is being talked about, and hotly debated now, within those circles
We don't know who will be appointed to investigate and research, or which people they will talk to, or what they will investigate, or who will 'edit' the results, or how that will pass through the inevitable committees etc...but a lot of information was spread around - e.g Emma Sharma Hayes gave out 500 leaflets about the Meath Master Plan.Both Friday and Saturday, we hung around the conference until very late, talking to people. Hopefully, enough people are alerted and watching to monitor and question the process at all stages.

I don't think anyone told Laura the procedure for submitting resolutions - she ended her presentation with a plea to WAC to support TW in Quebec, but I don't think anyone stepped forward. I'm sure the procedure is documented somewhere, on the website and in the programme - a case of not doing the homework...but then, the organisers could have been helpful enough, knowing that TW wished to submit a resolution, to tell Laura the procedure.

The Panel was arranged at the last minute, there was security at all doors with only badge holders allowed in (last year, in Australia, there was a session relating to Aboriginal issues that was open to the public, which is usually WAC's ethos in these situations), the woman organising it was not given access to a landline by UCD, instead told to go buy a mobile phone. She used a callcard to ring and invite people to the panel. There was only an hour and a half allocated to Tara, which didn't allow time for questions from the floor.

There's a familiar smell here...

it is important to expect this, and negotiate around it....So many thanks to the 'WAC5' for having the guts to push the Tara issue into the limelight, and keep it there. And, many thanks to Maggie for her help and support also...

I'd like to also inform people that the chief state archaeologist, Brian Duffy, said three times during his presentation at the panel (though it was more of a rant)- "... I just dig where I'm told to - I don't care where the money comes from!" Another case of not doing the homework - he seemed to unaware of his audience, a lot of whom work in the area of ehtics!!! Perhaps WAC are playing it carefully because they realise that the issues are much bigger here in Ireland - but I do think they should be more aware of the travesty of a Monuments Act we have, that gives one person the power to decide the fate of National Monuments, and creates a huge conflict of interest, where the developer (i.e. the NRA) decides if a site is a National Monument.

author by M. Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Tue Jul 15, 2008 10:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish Times, July 15 2008
Archaeology needs to recover its core principles and ethics

OPINION: There was lively debate on the M3 motorway at the recent World
Archaeological Congress in Dublin but also disturbing developments about
the congress itself, writes Maggie Ronayne .
The World Archaeological Congress (WAC) was founded in 1986 when
archaeologists decided to implement the UN-sanctioned cultural boycott
of apartheid South Africa.
Yet at the congress that concluded in Dublin on July 4th, there was an
attempt to co-opt the profession to serve development by multinationals.
The presence of the US military shocked many, as did sponsorship by Rio
Tinto, the mining and exploration company.
The programme for the Dublin congress intended to ignore Tara and the
M3, the biggest controversy in Irish archaeology since Wood Quay in 1979
- not surprising given that the National Roads Authority (NRA) was one
of its sponsors. I pressed for debate and campaigners urged me on.
A Tara panel, scene of stormy presentations from various sides, did
eventually occur. A good precedent was set: campaigners participated and
proposed resolutions. Voting on resolutions opposing cultural
destruction by the M3 was too close to call more than once and they were
forwarded to the WAC's assembly for discussion. On July 11th, the WAC
issued a press release on Tara and the M3 which said: "We do not
question the validity of the planning process undertaken in Ireland."
Many of us clearly do.
My article in Public Archaeology about road development in Ireland and
corruption in development planning processes was widely circulated. Most
archaeologists are now employed by private companies on temporary,
short-term contracts. As in other countries, this has gone in tandem
with increasingly bureaucratic, corporate control of universities and
pressure on academics to orient our teaching to prioritise the needs of
Crucial questions of professional ethics and standards, particularly our
accountability to the community, are sidelined. Colleagues in the
private sector give regular reports of bad practice and cutting corners
on roads projects, including the M3. I quoted an archaeologist who
directed test-trenching on the M3 route: "A number of times, I was told
to change an interpretation which served to lessen the potential or
numbers of sites."
Reports from this fieldwork informed the Minister for the Environment's
decision on salvage excavation licences for the M3.
The article provoked international debate and an outpouring via e-mail
and phone; people seemed to need to get out of their system what they
had swallowed for years.
Field colleagues contacted me to confirm they also had experienced bad
practices on the road projects but, for the most part, those on
precarious, temporary contracts don't come forward; they fear being
sacked, blacklisted or bullied out of their profession.
There is lip service to heritage but the Government tends to protect the
roads industry while archaeologists are used to destroy archaeology -
not only physical remains but also our profession's core principles.
There are new structures in place that invite us to contravene basic
standards and enable bad practice. For example, a developer's
archaeologists oversee those doing the testing for potential archaeology
on a road route; they have sight of, and admit they may comment on or
edit, test-trenching reports. Notwithstanding the best intentions of the
NRA's archaeologists, the developer employs them and there is a built-in
conflict of interest. This needs changing.
Much is made of whether archaeology could stop projects like the M3. My
experience working with communities in campaigns against cultural
destruction in various countries is that archaeology alone rarely stops
Problems with archaeology on the M3 should surely be investigated but by
a people's inquiry (facilitated by academia perhaps) also looking at
reported land speculation and toll profits, failure to consider cheaper
and more effective public transport or energy provision, the
circumstances surrounding the sale of national resources to the private
sector, attempts to divide local communities and failure to properly
consult and inform them, involvement of multinationals with links to
corrupt development elsewhere or profiteering in war zones, and an
investigation of all the professional structures and the often strange
planning decisions that permit disputed developments.
These are issues that communities all over Ireland and worldwide
struggle with as they fight for their lives, livelihoods, land and
culture. The M3 construction and indeed other disputed developments such
as Shell's pipeline and refinery in Mayo, must stop while this inquiry
happens; we have won the battle to halt far bigger developments - it is
never too late.
The Tara debate was the talk of the congress; many international
colleagues expressed shock at the remarks of Brian Duffy, the State's
chief archaeologist: "I don't care where the money comes from if it pays
for good archaeological work."
Many felt that the partisan nature of the State sector indicated that
few field colleagues in the private sector would consider reporting
instances of bad practice. Following the debate on Tara and several
similar cases from other countries, WAC's final plenary passed the
following resolution: "Noting the increasing role of the private
sector/cultural resource management in the profession, the World
Archaeological Congress expresses serious concern at the potential for
erosion of standards and professional ethics. The congress calls for
explicit inclusion of these concerns in its Code of Ethics. The congress
calls on all colleagues to support those field archaeologists working in
the private sector, who are striving to maintain professional standards
in difficult conditions."
There have been recent reports on the reversal of privatisation in New
Zealand, reflecting a growing trend. There is a similar feeling in
archaeology that independent regulation of this sector is needed with
some advocating a return to archaeology as a wholly public sector
service. Others besides me think that Ireland might provide a model.
As recession hits and the corporations seek others who will do the work
for less, who will defend our standards and values based on the autonomy
of professions? What will remain of our cultural roots, so vital to
sustaining this island's communities?
Those defending our heritage are not opposing development; rather, we
support communities pressing for development which meets their needs.
One thing is sure: embedding ourselves with destroyers of culture and
communities, with its brown envelope culture, supports neither
professions, nor communities, nor cultural heritage nor this island's
future. Ireland and the wider world are in a "state of chassis" once
again, and it is time to speak out.
• Maggie Ronayne is a lecturer in archaeology at NUI Galway

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author by M. Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Wed Jul 16, 2008 00:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Top archaeologists urge protection of iconic Tara
By Paul Melia
Tuesday July 15 2008
THE World Archaeological Congress (WAC) has urged the Government to
ensure that no large commercial or residential development is allowed
along the route of the controversial M3 motorway.
And the forum, made up of practising archaeologists, has said that
excavations carried out along the motorway route in Co Meath -- which
runs near the hill of Tara -- were performed to the "highest
professional standards".
Last week it was claimed that archaeologists were told to alter their
reports to minimise the importance of ancient sites found during
excavations, a claim denied by the National Roads Authority (NRA).
Yesterday the WAC said it would carry out a report to "sift out" any
"misinformation" in relation to the controversial road project.
In a statement issued yesterday, following a week-long gathering at UCD,
the organisation said it was opposed to any further development along
the stretch of motorway in the Tara/Skryne Valley, and called on the
Government to develop protection measures for the site.
"Tara has significance far beyond Ireland itself," President of the WAC,
Professor Claire Smith said.
"Its iconic significance derives from its unique cultural character . .
. The WAC strongly encourages the Irish Government to instigate formal
protection measures for this area and to consider nominating Tara for
inscription as a World Heritage Site.
"Prior to the holding of the sixth World Archaeological Congress we sent
two senior representatives to look at the issue of the motorway.
"They found that all the archaeological work has been done to the
highest professional standards."
A stakeholders' meeting held to discuss the motorway heard "competing
and often contradictory claims", and the WAC had decided to commission a
report on the Tara discussions so that lessons could be learned.
- Paul Melia

Related Link:
author by IshtarCeltpublication date Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would just like to point out that I worked on behalf of the Tara Solidarity Vigil Flame, and I worked with Maggie to get other Tara groups represented at the panel. After all, otherwise it would have been Tarawatch against the NRA, Brian Duffy, etc. Maggie was concerned with highlighting the broader issues, and giving ALL campaigns against cultural destruction a voice at WAC. But then, when the field became more limited, we were concerned with representing the multiplicity of the Tara issue, i.e. as many of those involved as possible.

Personally, I think it was wonderful that Julitta Clancy was able to attend - she was magnificent! Thank you Julitta

I only found out the submission procedure after the panel, so there was no way I could have told Laura. I wasn't criticising her anyway - there are some comments above that are much more directly critical of TW.

author by M. Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Wed Jul 16, 2008 13:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps this might help and clarify:
There was a lot of confusion regarding the procedures for WAC-6. There was no real realization of the depth of feeling on the issue of Tara
when they decided to include the topic.
It was only considered because Maggie Ronayne was contacted by some of her students, some of them writing here, to see if Tara could be mentioned at the Congress.
Personally, I was away, I was on the list of invitees but could not attend.
I have contacted WAC and have been told that I am welcome to make a submission for the group/committee that will be looking further at the issue. I have been in touch with the woman who was trying to ring me when I was away. Her job was not made easy by WAC either apparently.
If it were not for the 5 people who managed to get into that session the seriousness of the issue might never have come to light.
The invitations were issued to people at the last minute, in one case the night before.
If we had been told in time there would have been a lot more than 5 people there.
Anyway, the number of people present is not important it is the message that is important.
Remember that 70% of people surveyed were against the route.
Remember that 350 academics, including most eminent Celtic archaeologists, signed the statement to the Government. Most organisations in Ireland such as the Discovery Programme etc. are against this route.
The fact that WAC was sponsored by the NRA and Meath Co Co would ensure that any debate would be prejudiced anyway.
But Maggie has put all that in the Opinion piece above.
The message that came from TaraWatch was that all submissions should be sent through them - this is hardly the case if I, and probably others, can now make submissions in our own right.

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author by AKA-47publication date Wed Jul 16, 2008 14:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Has anyone heard any more about the information in the UNESCO press release by TW above? This could be very important - is anyone following this up?
And where has Vincent Salafia gone? Did he come back from UNESCO?

author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Rath Lugh- high impact pic taken Sunday .

Rath Lugh 13-7-08
Rath Lugh 13-7-08

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author by M. Ni Bhrolchainpublication date Fri Jul 18, 2008 00:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What are those cracks/lines? Looks as if they have been filled with concrete.
Thanks to the person who took the photo.

Close up of Rath Lugh Sunday
Close up of Rath Lugh Sunday

Related Link:
author by TaraWatchpublication date Fri Jul 18, 2008 23:14author email info at tarawatch dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

We would like to respond to the multiple false claims made in this thread by Emma Sharma Hayes., Muireann Ni Bhrolchain and others.

Despite the fact that Maggie Ronayne knew for months prior to the WAC event, that it was happening, and wrote her paper, she never informed anyone of the upcoming event. The first the public heard of it was on June 11, when TaraWatch posted a news feature, having received notice from WAC that there was to be a Tara debate, and that we were identified as stakeholders. We were not chosen by Gabriel Cooney, but by WAC Ethics Committee members in the US, at University of Massachussets. We are reprinting correspondence below, to show this, and also to show that we made our submission well in advance, and that it was considered by WAC. We are not publishing email addesses but if someone wants to contact us privately, to verify these mails, we will pass them along. We never said people HAD to go through us, to make submissions. We simply offered a vehicle for people to do so, if they wanted to participate in the process. We did participate in the process fully, and followed all instructions. We were never invited to the Plenary, and were never told anything about having to make written submissions. :aura showed up at the Plenary anwyay, but was refused admission. However, it is clear that our submissions, which were over 100 megs in size, were considered by those in the plenary, and our request for a resolution iin our oral presentation to WAC was answered.




We are writing to you as the co-organisers of the WAC Ethics Forum, to
be held at the Sixth World Archaeological Congress 29th June – 4th
July, 2008 (in Dublin), as part of the "Exploring WAC's Approach(es)
to Ethics Theme" sponsored by the WAC Standing Committee on Ethics.
We have conceived of the WAC Ethics Forum as a round table discussion
of real case studies, intended to promote examination and
understanding of the ethical complexities inherent in all
archaeological work. We have selected two particular cases to frame
and discuss, and we have identified you as a potential stakeholder for
one of the cases, the M3 Motorway/Hill of Tara "debate". We wish to
inform you of the forum and to invite you to contribute a written
position statement if desired.

The forum will bring together participants from around the world, with
particular emphasis on early-career archaeologists and their mentors,
who have no specific ties to the ethical cases, to work together to
articulate and negotiate different cultural views in order to think
through ethical dilemmas. These participants have been exploring these
cases in a private (password protected) online forum and will be
presenting the cases in a public forum at the Congress. Our goal is
not to adjudicate any single case, but to provide a forum for careful
consideration and discussion about complex cases. Therefore, the
forum will lay out the many dimensions of the cases and promote
discussion of possible consequences, decision points, and unresolvable
issues that we all can learn from. We are exploring ethical frameworks
and their potential practical use, broadening and deepening knowledge
of international laws and local relations with regard to
archaeological practice and history, Increasing the pervasiveness of
the consideration of ethics within our profession, and Practicing and
teaching a model of confronting ethical dilemmas that takes
participants and listeners beyond cultural comfort zones.

Because our cases will be based upon real events, we are extremely
sensitive to the real people and organizations, such as you, involved
in these dilemmas. We understand that there is a lot at stake –
professionally and personally – for stakeholders in any situation. We
are fully committed to, as much as possible, avoiding any further pain
for anyone involved, while also meeting our goals stated above in a
caring and respectful manner. Because we think that a respectful
public forum with a bit of distance from the cases would best benefit
certain cases that are particularly tricky and unresolved, we are
asking you to recuse yourself from attending the public portion of the
forum (if you're planning on attending WAC-6). We also have
instructed our participants not to contact any stakeholder directly.
However, we acknowledge that stakeholders have real positions and
stakes that may best be communicated by the stakeholders themselves.
As such, we invite you to provide a position paper, if you wish, which
we will circulate among our participants as they prepare for the
forum. Additionally, we will be compiling a final report, assessing
the forum, for the WAC Standing Committee on Ethics and would like to
provide a copy of it to you if you desire.

If you'd like to read more details about the forum, you can access the
public areas of the forum website at (click the "About" option in
the menu).

Please let us know if you wish to contribute a statement via email,
post, or fax. We are also open to taking a statement by personal
communication if that is preferable. Again, this is completely
voluntary, and we respect any decision you make. We sincerely thank
you for your time and urge you to contact us with any questions or
concerns that you may have.

Best regards,

Angela Labrador, University of Massachusetts Amherst (USA)
Jaydeyn Thomas, University of Queensland (Australia)

Angela Labrador
Department of Anthropology
UMass Amherst
215 Machmer Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
Phone: 00+1 (413) 577-1651
Fax: 00+1 (413) 545-9494



Saturday June 07, 2008 00:18

Call for Tara/M3 submissions to Sixth World Archaeological Congress, UCD, 29 June-4 July

TaraWatch received notification on Thursday 5th June, from the World Archaeological Congress (WAC), Committee on Ethics, that it has been recognised as stakeholders in the ongoing Hill of Tara / M3 issue for purposes of a round table session at the upcoming Sixth World Archaeological Congress, (WAC-6) to be held at University College Dublin, from the 29th June to 4th July, which will be debating the ethics of the M3 / Hill of Tara issue.


Wed Jun 25, 2008 11:05 am

Muireann Ni Bhrolchain wrote:

Hi all,
I've just heard from Maggie that the WAC ethics forum have decided there
will not now be any public discussion of individual case studies such as
Tara and the M3 in the ethics forum on Thurs 3rd July.
But the organisers and participants have now 'revised the format of the
forum in response to dialogues with stakeholders, members of the WAC
Executive and the WAC Committee on Ethics, as well as in relation to
what information would be most beneficial to WAC.' There is no
indication as to who all the stakeholders were. So they now feel that
discussion of individual cases at the forum is not the best thing to do
but will instead discuss general recommendations to be used for future
What do people want to do about this most recent development? Censorship!


Wed, Jun 25, 2008 at 8:10 PM

Dear Professor Cooney,

I am writing in relation to WAC-6. TaraWatch was contacted on 5 June,
by the Standing Committee on Ethics, and informed we were identified
as potential stakeholders in a round table debate about the Hill of
Tara and the M3 motorway, to take place at WAC-6. A position statement
was requested, which we were preparing to submit, when we learned
today that the debate has been cancelled.

Can you please give us an update as to what the position is?

I am attaching a copy of the initial mail from WAC. Subsequent to
receiving the letter I registered with the online forum, as requested,
but my membership was never approved.

Kind regards,

Vincent Salafia


Thu, Jun 26, 2008 at 11:46 AM

Dear Mr Salafia,

Thanks for the email and inquiry. My apologies for not getting back to you earlier in the morning but unfortunately our email was down here in UCD.

I have no knowledge of the debate being cancelled. My clear understanding is that the Ethics Forum will take the format that was detailed to you in the email dated 5 June and in the Congress programme. My apologies for any confusion that has been caused and I will be getting out touch with the Standing Committee on Ethics today.

Yours sincerely,

Gabriel Cooney
Professor Gabriel Cooney

School of Archaeology
Newman Building
Belfield, UCD, Dublin 4
353 - 1- 7168163


Fri, Jun 27, 2008

Hi Vincent,
As stated in an earlier email from June 6th, I'd like to talk a bit more with Jaydeyn and our faculty mentors about how access should work for any non-participant on the site. Prior to the actual forum, we have kept the discussion board and resources private for our forum participants (who were registered on the site prior to the case studies being released). At WAC-6, these participants will be meeting in a private workshop before the public forum, and at that workshop we will determine what resources they'd feel comfortable sharing with a wider audience after the forum takes place. We can then shift the focus of the website to a post-conference communication point (at which stage I'll have different user roles/groups set up in accordance with their recommendations). At this point, our website isn't set up to have groups of users with differential access (there are either logged in or anonymous users) so your account has stayed pending (this is my own IT limitation for now, but I will be remedying this after the forum).

If you submit the position paper to me via email, I will bring a hard copy to Dublin and will post it on the website for the participants under my user account on your behalf, which is what I've been doing with all the other stakeholders I've been in contact with. I'm leaving later today for Dublin, so will be in transit, but should have consistent internet once I've arrived.

We look forward to receiving the statement and thank you for all your work!

All our best,
Angela (and on behalf of Jaydeyn)


Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 8:45 AM

Dear Vincent,
Well, the email box is back to normal levels now! Thanks again for all of the
documentation you sent on, we posted it to the participants as soon as it came
in. We're sorry to hear you won't be able to attend today, but we look forward
to hearing from your representative and others at this afternoon's plenary. I'm
not sure who was contacting folks since today's stakeholder plenary is outside
of our purview. But, I'll ask around and see what I dig up, as it were.

Angela and Jaydeyn


Wed, Jul 16, 2008 at 7:44 PM

Hi Vincent,
I can't speak to WAC in general - just our single session. So, if
there were multiple or parallel ways that you came up on the schedule,
I'm not aware of that chronology. For our forum Jaydeyn and I just
brainstormed many different, relatively well known, ethical cases or
open questions (looking at past hypothetical cases that drew from real
ones, reading current events, looking at past discussions or hot
topics in the press - both public and archaeological, etc.). Tara was
just one of the case studies culled at this point. We selected Tara
and Llullaillaco because they optimized the breadth and width of
issues that archaeologists may encounter in everyday practice as well
as provided variation in the types of communities that one may work
with (so Tara was incidental to the epistemological issues we wanted
to get at - it was a great example - it was not a topic for which any
of us had any sort of agenda already established). Also, both cases
had a lot of published material available, so we could rely upon
sources rather than hearsay (although we recognize how tenuous or
loaded published sources are). Finally, our stakeholders were
identified in two main ways: 1) reading through published material to
see who was saying what (i.e. staking a claim in some way) and 2)
asking other stakeholders who else should be included (like what you
were able to do for us).

Hopefully that helps clarify at least our part of the program (which
was just the WAC Ethics Forum and WAC Ethics forum workshop organized
by Jaydeyn and me).


Related Link:
author by J.C. Moorepublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 00:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thank you TaraWatch for clarifying the situation. By now people should know better than putting trust in anything Ni Brollchain, Sharma Hayes and others from the CST are saying.

author by Hanna Zdunskapublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Could Tarawatch confirm/deny whether they were asked to contact other interested parties with a view to making submissions to WAC 6 on Tara.

If they were asked to contact other interested parties who requested they do this and who/which interested parties did they contact?

author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 11:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How long is ok to have an Esker like Rath Lugh exposed like this?

Better Pic
Better Pic

Related Link:
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The following is from the Technical Memorandum- Review of Slope Stability of the Rath Lugh National Monument, Lismullin, Co. Meath by Golder Associates 11-Feb-08

There is silt exposed extensively on one of the slope faces. Silt by its nature is highly
susceptible to erosion and degradation with exposure to weather. Therefore its
condition can deteriorate fairly quickly with time. It is therefore recommended that
the completion works in this area be undertaken as quickly as possible so that the
exposed slope can be regarded, stabilised and protected. If final completion works
are to be delayed, then temporary protection measures should be instituted. Such
temporary protection works could comprise gravel sheeting over a suitable geotextile
filter fabric.

I might be worrying over nothing but...just in case!

Related Link:
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

 It is considered that the most critical stage for the stability of the slope and the
supported national monument structure is during the period of further construction in
the immediate area and especially during the construction of the soil nail slope.

( see top photo Rath Lugh 13-7-08 - further construction in the immediate area TTT)

sequencing of works during any excavation and construction phase should be
considered prior to the commencement of such works. The contractor should provide
a Method Statement addressing how these works will be undertaken and confirming
that such additional works will not cause any further disturbance to the slopes and
ancient structure. Independent monitoring of such works in the area may be
advisable. It is imperative that these works are carried out in recognition of the
proximity of the monument. As noted above, these completion works should be
expedited as a matter of urgency.
I trust that this information is in keeping with your expectations. If you have any additional
comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned.
Peter Corrigan BA BAI C.Eng. MIEI

I might have missed it of course! Maybe someone would fill us in - so to speak :) TTT

Related Link:
author by Tara Tara Tarapublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Peter Corrigen Chartered Geotechnical Engineer.

Apologies, I cut the last bit off from above mail by accident when copying and pasteing. TTT

Related Link:
author by Hanna Zdunskapublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 14:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So you are clearly stating that you were NOT asked to contact other interested Groups to advise WAC were seeking submissions?

As to your comments on those you did contact.
It was indeed sensible of you not to contact Groups who no longer exist!
I can also understand your reluctance to contact Groups and individuals you have been disparaging towards in the past.
It is clear from your statement released at the time that you wanted other Groups to make their submissions to you and you would then make a joint submission.

That was not what WAC intended and I believe you know that well.

author by TaraWatchpublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 15:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We have printed the June 5 letter we received from the Standing Committee on Ethics, in full, above. Please reread it. Nowhere does it say anything about us identifying other stakeholders. We correctly assumed that WAC were perfectly capable of identifying any other of the obvious stakeholders, though their own research, which is how they identified us.

However, we did offer to pass the word on to others we felt would have a positive impact, which we did, both publicly and privately, which is also detailed above. We contacted Joe Fenwick, Conor Newman and George Eogan.

In our news feature we added the link to WAC6, which has contact information, and people we thereby empowered to either give us their submission, which was gauranteed to be considered by WAC, or try and make their own submission, which may or may not have been considered. We were not at any time infomed what the criteria for being a stakeholder was, but as the only public representatives campaigning on this issue, we assumed we had met the criteria, and offered any member of the public a chance to have their submission considered.

You write:

"That was not what WAC intended and I believe you know that well."

It was not our job to identify other stakeholders, as you know well. It was all we could do to develop our own submission in the short time period given, and inform the public and other campaigners of what was happening. Further, we assumed that we would be given access to the internet forum, mentioned in the letter we were sent, but that never happened, and we didn't have a chance to communicate with WAC in the manner we hoped we would.

You are wrongfully trying to impute knowledge in us that we did not possess. You are also interpreting WAC's intent, without any supporting documentation or evidence of what that intent was.

If I were to hazard a guess at the intent of WAC Standing Committee on Ethics, it was to get reliable information from a wide range of sources. We did our best to facilitate that, with the information we were given.

Related Link:
author by Hanna Zdunskapublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 16:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am Polish. I am an Archaeologist though I no longer practice. I worked on the early stages of the M3 Project. I quit because I could no longer morally justify to myself what we were doing in that valley.

I have not joined any Group but for obvious reasons I continue to follow this situation.

I am sorry but I have over time become very sceptical at the claims which often eminate from Tarawatch,
Court cases, Solicitors letters, speaking for the public etc, etc.

As a further example I quote;

"Director of UNESCO World Heritage Centre Proposes Hill of Tara Round Table'

Mr Francesco Bandarin, Director of the World Heritage Centre of the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, (UNESCO) proposed
yesterday that a workshop on the Hill of Tara cultural landscape would take
place. ............................ A formal submission was also made, regarding the proposal by the Minister
for the Environment to make Tara a World Heritage Site."

I can find no statement from UNESCO on Mr. Bandarin's alleged proposal nor anything on the Department of Environments Website regarding any formal presentation regarding Tara.
I cannot see what proposal the DoE could make to UNESCO as they have not even completed the first step in the process of having Tara inscribed on the List of World Heritage Sites. Do you have any information on what this proposal was about?

Finally. As I have used my given Name in these posts you might do me the courtesy of doing the same when you reply.

author by TaraWatchpublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 17:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Polish archaeologist,

We were only aware of one disenchanted Polish archaeologist, who worked on the M3, and quit for moral reasons. That person was a male, and sent us a written submission, which was submitted to WAC on his behalf. Are you in fact that person, or are you impersonating that person? This can be easily be confirmed by an email to, which will be kept private.

You write:

"I can find no statement from UNESCO on Mr. Bandarin's alleged proposal nor anything on the Department of Environments Website regarding any formal presentation regarding Tara."

The proposal made by Mr Bandarin was made outside of the UNESCO meeting agenda. There was a lot of other news to deal with, as they had just granted World Heritage status to 27 different sites, and made a large number of other decisions, including Skellig Michael and Stonehenge. More news will follow, once we have heard back from the various parties who have been invited, and date and venue have been confirmed. As you can imagine, it is a very big undertaking, especially since we predict the usual interference by the usual third parties who try and interfere in, or take credit for, anything we attempt to do in a public way.

As for the Minister's comments on UNESCO, you can find the link to them, and other relevant information at Incidentally, this is also evidence of how we do try to prepresent the public, and give them a say. The petition was submitted to both UNESCO and WAC.

Related Link:
author by TaraWatchpublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 17:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"A formal submission was also made, regarding the proposal by the Minister for the Environment to make Tara a World Heritage Site."

On rereading your post, I think you have misread our statement above. We did not say Gormley had made a formal proposal to UNESCO. We said the Minister had proposed to make Tara a World Heritage Site, which he did by press release, at the link above. We said that WE made a formal submission to UNESCO, which we did, while we were in attendance at the UNESCO meeting. I hope this clarifies things for you.

Related Link:
author by Hanna Zdunskapublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 17:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I to am aware of the gentleman you refer to and no I am not he.
Many Polish worked and continue to work on this and other similar projects in this country and many have left for the same or similar reasons as my own.

I have re-read your statement and apologise for my mis-interpretation.

But what you are saying I think is that you got some kind of personal wish from Mr. Francesco Bandarin for some kind of round-table discussion Group to be set up?

author by AKA-47publication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 18:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The above debate is typical of Salafia and Tarawatch, turn a great opportunity into a petty squabble and destroy a decent thread. It would be funny if it weren't so serious. No wonder the campaign collapsed. But Salafia insists

'TaraWatch has consistently asked for co-operation with other interested parties, over the last few years, and luckily that is happening more and more. However, there is still a small determined core of people, led by the little crew you see above, who refuse to see that divided we fail, and have effectively sabotaged many of our best efforts. Even now, we call for a dispute resolution process that will finally put all Tara campaigners on one side'

A dispute resolution process - wasnt that what happened before and look where that ended.
Cooperation of other interested parties? - But the real stakeholders, Newman and Fenwick will not even talk to Salafia - on his own admission above.

Could I suggest that everyone involved in the Tara campaign and the failed, doomed and dead Carrickmines campaign, who received abusive emails from Salafia now send them publicly to Indymedia so that the unconverted can see the what they are dealing with?
Add to that the abusive phone calls and messages from one of the three and half members of Tarawatch left - Ms Rice to be precise likes to leave from time to time, her language would shame any decent sailor.

No wonder they contacted no one else directly - there's no one left who will deal with this merry band of two and a half followers.
No wonder they will not speak in their own voices, then the supposed support would be shown for what it is -

Salafia also says
'We did not contact CST directly, because CST does not exist. It was disbanded approximately one year ago. While you see some of their ex-members carrying on certain activities, they are not a publicly organised body. Some ex-members have a private mailing list they use to continue their anti-TaraWatch activities, and spend more time trying to sabotage our efforts than they do trying to save Tara, just like they did when they did exist.'

So now private mailing lists are not allowed? Perhaps Salafia would like to tell us about his own internal mailing list where anyone who dares to contradict the teaching of the master "Tarawatch good, everyone else bad" are banned immediately. No wonder the Yahoo list has become a forum for anyone who wants to get a rant of their chests.

Well done Hanna and if you're wondering why I'm not giving my own name - I'll tell you. Its not worth the trouble when you see what follows anyone here who dares to give their own name and criticize the "leader" of the Tara campaign. No wonder its flushed down the toilet and the road well advanced. Pack it up and go home everyone ... thanks to the Salafians its over boys and girls.

author by Michaelpublication date Sat Jul 19, 2008 21:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Difficult to tell from just one picture. But it appears to be man-made. My guess is they are getting the ground ready for crib-walling and filling in the cracks is the first step in the process.

Related Link:
author by Hanna Zdunskapublication date Sun Jul 20, 2008 11:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Can you just finally confirm that you did not in fact get any commitment from UNESCO on Tara.
Rather you got a personal expression of support from Mr Bandarin for a round-table type forum on the issue.

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