'Lismullin National Monument in Top Ten Most Important Archaeological Discoveries of 2007'
The Lismullin national monument, discovered in March 2007 in the pathway of the M3 motorway at Tara, has been awarded a place in the Top Ten Most Important Archaeological Discoveries of 2007, in the Jan/Feb issue of Archaeology magazine, a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America.
TaraWatch will celebrate this, as well as the inclusion of Tara in the 2008 List of 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund, by engaging in a sponsored walk along the pathway of the disused Navan to Dublin railway line on New Years Day, to highlight the alternatives that are still available.
Other important sites in the Top Ten Discoveries 2007 are the Solar Observatory at Chankillo, Peru; Urbanization at Tell Brak, Syria; Homo habilis & Homo erectus remains in Kenya and new discoveries at Greater Angkor, Cambodia.
The Lismullin entry, written by Jarrett A. Lobell states:
"Early last year, archaeologists working on the route of a controversial highway near the village of Lismullin, Ireland, stumbled across a vast Iron Age ceremonial enclosure, or henge, surrounded by two concentric walls. The 2,000-year-old site is just over a mile from the Hill of Tara, traditional seat of the ancient Irish kings and site of St. Patrick's conversion of the Irish to Christianity in the fifth century A.D. The discovery of the massive henge, measuring more than 260 feet in diameter, confirms the long-held belief that the area around the hill contains a rich complex of monuments.
"The extraordinary amount of archaeological remains on the Hill of Tara--burial mounds, religious enclosures, stone structures, and rock art dating from the third millennium b.c. to the twelfth century A.D.--makes it Ireland's most spiritually and archaeologically significant site. Construction of the new M3 highway, meant to ease traffic congestion around Dublin, threatens not only the Hill of Tara's timeless quality, but also newly discovered archaeological sites in the surrounding valley.
"Although archaeologists and concerned Irish politicians are rallying support worldwide for the protection of the Hill of Tara, the iconic site remains in great peril. At press time, the European Commission had initiated legal action against the Irish government over the M3, charging Ireland with failing to protect its own heritage.
Vincent Salafia of TaraWatch said:
"2007 has been a very successful year for the Tara campaign, with Tara being recognised as being one of the world's 100 most endangered sites, and now Lismullin making it into the top ten most important discoveries in 2007.
"Numerous important Irish celebrities have also voiced their opposition to the M3, including Bono, Gabriel Byrne, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Paddy Moloney, Seamus Heaney and Louis le Brocquy."
"We have also been vindicated by the litigation initiated by the European Commission, which argues that Dick Roche should have required a new Environmental Impact Assessment before making the decision to demolish the Lismullin national monument.
"Sadly, Minister Gormley has refused to comply with the demands of the European Commission, and has not conducted a new Environmental Impact Assessment, before allowing the national monument to be handed over to the construction company.
"There is still a small window of time for the Minister to take action, before the works become irreversible. Hopefully, the designation of Lismullin in this Top Ten will trigger a re-examination of the issue by the Minister.