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Ancient Lismullen site

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Irish History Forum Discussion:     Ancient Lismullen site

The recently discovered 2000-year-old site at the ancient Hill of Tara must be fully preserved because of their unique size and character, a US academic today said.
Ireland's state archaeologists began excavation work on the prehistoric Lismullen structure earlier this month claiming it was under threat from adverse weather.
But now Dr Ronald Hicks of Ball State University, Indiana, is appealing for Lismullen to be preserved in full and in situ.
The American academic argues Lismullen is part of a larger ancient ritual complex and unique.
Dr Hicks had previously endorsed the nomination of Tara to the World Monuments Fund List and issued an earlier report about the area’s archaeological significance.
In this latest report, he argues Lismullen is comparable to ceremonial enclosures found at Tara and other royal sites in Ireland, but is twice as large as any other.
He added the structure was part of a larger complex.

Irish Archaeologists working at Lismullen, also believe it was probably an important ceremonial site, and that it may have been made of 'wattle and daub', similar to the way baskets are weaved together. The site consists of two circular enclosures, the largest 80m in diameter, the smaller one inside just 16m in diameter. The larger outer wall could have been reasonably small, with the wall of the inside enclosure probably taller.
As the site is in a small hollow, archaeologists believe it would have allowed others to stand on the nearby ridges to watch the ceremonies taking place inside the enclosures.
Mary Deevy, Chief Archaeologist with the National Roads Authority, said the structure dated from somewhere between 1000BC to 400AD. Lismullen Samples have been taken and are being sent away for radio carbon dating. That will give a more precise period.

“This independent report proves the national monument is much more significant and substantial than the National Roads Authority have reported,” campaigner Vincent Salafia said.
“In light of this report, the minister should halt the demolition works until An Bord Pleanála concludes its current deliberative process.”

The site’s discovery came just a day after the then Minister for Transport Martin Cullen turned the sod on the €850m road project.
The semicircular enclosure, which lies across the northbound lane of the proposed motorway, is 80 metres in diameter and dates from between 380BC and 520BC.
It is thought to have been some kind of ceremonial site.
The discovery was granted National Monument status and all works were halted at the site.
But in one of his final acts of office, former Minister for the Environment Dick Roche used the National Monuments Act 2004 and signed an order of preservation by record, meaning the prehistoric henge would be photographed, sketched and measured before being razed to make way for the motorway.
Mr Gormley maintains he does not have the authority to revoke his predecessor’s decision without a material change in circumstance.

TaraWatch has sent a solicitor’s letter to Mr Gormley demanding the excavation work be stopped, to which it claims no reply has been received.
It argues the 2004 National Monuments Act is contrary to EU law because it did not require a new environmental impact assessment following the Lismullen discovery.
An Bord Pleanála is currently reviewing this matter and a decision is expected within weeks.
If the board rules the road scheme is now different to the one approved in September 2003, it could require a fresh planning application to be lodged, which would lead to huge delays in delivering the motorway.
“The board is deciding whether demolition of Lismullen is a material change to a motorway scheme, and whether it will have a significant effect on the environment,” added Mr Salafia.
“They should consider this independent report in reaching their findings.”

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