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Announcement :: Environment
National Monument Discovered at Tara in Path of M3 Motorway
by tara foundation
Email: thetarafoundation (nospam) yahoo.ie
23 May 2007
Featuring a press conference given by TaraWatch, the video (see link below) gives details of the M3 Motorway, what lies in its path, what has been destroyed, and what is being now being threatened with destruction.
A massive prehistoric ‘henge’ site has been discovered in Lismullen, beside the Hill of Tara on the route of the planned M3 Motorway. The circular enclosure is the size of more than three football fields, and is without doubt a national monument because of the rarity of henges in Ireland, as well as its importance to the Hill of Tara archaeological complex.
The video may be accessed here:
Archaeological experts believe this find could be one of the most significant archaeological discoveries unearthed in Ireland, and might be the site of a structure similar to Stonehenge but made with wood.
Archaeologists state that the site is most likely a wooden ‘henge’ used for ritual ceremonies. It is also understood that a burial mound has been discovered, which was the final resting place of a woman of high status. If confirmed, this is the first example of such a site found in Ireland.
“It’s very ancient and is a wooden equivalent of Stonehenge,” archaeologist with NUI Galway Joe Fenwick said. “It consists of a large enclosure, and a high-status burial chamber seems to have come to light. It’s several hectares in size, you’re talking about a massive complex. “Because of their nature, these timber henges are very rare. You could count them on the finger of one hand. The timber rotted away a long time ago, but the features would be dug into the subsoil. It would take a large team digging for several months to excavate the site.”
The Government insists no decision has been taken on its future. The discovery was made public just 24 hours after Transport Minister Martin Cullen turned the sod on the €850m motorway project.
Minister for the Environment Dick Roche knew a month before the henge was discovered that the site of a possible pre-historic ‘temple’ had been unearthed on the route of the controversial M3 motorway.
The Minister has already issued draft directions that would allow for the destruction of the recently discovered “henge” along the route of the M3 in Co Meath, it has been claimed.
The discovery was kept secret by the authorities, and it is understood that the National Roads Authority (NRA) has heavily pressurised the archaeologists (Archaeological Consultancy Services) to rush to complete excavations, so the site can be demolished. Large numbers of archaeologists have been paid overtime to complete the work, and the site is under 24-hour security.
TaraWatch has written solicitors’ letters to the Minister for the Envrionment, Minister for Transport Meath County Council and the National Roads Authority and demanded that all works on the site cease immediately, as is required by section 14 A of the National Monuments Act, 2004, which states:
(4) Where a national monument has been discovered…then —
(a) the road authority carrying out the road development shall report the discovery to the Minister,
(b) … no works which would interfere with the monument shall be carried out, except works urgently required to secure its preservation carried out in accordance with such measures as may be specified by the Minister.
The Minister, Dick Roche, is then required to consult with the Director of the National Museum, Pat Wallace. This has not occurred, and the Museum is currently investigating the site. TaraWatch has stated that Mr. Roche has sent draft directions to the National Museum to preserve the henge “by record”, a process that would facilitate photographs and written records being made before the henge is removed.
In this case, instead of stopping work on the site and consulting with the Minister, the NRA have accelerated works which will destroy this national monument.
TaraWatch spokesman Vincent Salafia said the group had “well-placed sources within the National Museum” who were aware of draft directions that had been sent, which instructed that the monument be preserved by record. Dr Mark Clinton, chairman of An Taisce’s national monuments and antiquities committee, said: “The discovery of what could be called a temple, after the fashion of a comparable discovery at Emain Macha, seat of the kings of Ulster, is of obvious major significance. Such sites are extremely rare.” He called for full scientific excavation to be followed by reconstruction. 
This video features a press conference recently given by TaraWatch. This video gives details of the M3 Motorway project, and demonstrates thst destruction of the built heritage around Tara was well underway before the motorway started construction.
The video may be accessed here:
From the Tara Foundation:
thetarafoundation (at) yahoo.ie
This work is in the public domain