“from the point of view of best archaeological practice..”

In the Irish Times[subs req], a spokesman for Tarawatch has claimed that the Irish government Minister for Environment Dick Roche has already issued “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.” The discovery of what is believed to be an ancient wooden henge halted work on the controversial M3 motorway on Tuesday.
From the Irish Times report

The environmental group TaraWatch said Mr Roche had 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.

Under Section 14A of the National Monuments Act 2004, if a national monument is discovered, the Minister is required to consult the director of the National Museum before deciding on what action to take.

Mr Roche told The Irish Times yesterday that he was in consultation with the National Museum, but he declined to elaborate on the nature of that consultation. Asked if he had sent draft directions to the museum to preserve the monument by record, as claimed by TaraWatch, Mr Roche repeated that he was “in consultation with the National Museum” and referred to his department’s previously issued comments on the discovery.

On Tuesday the department said: “The Minister has consulted with the director of the museum on the directions that would be most appropriate in this instance from the point of view of best archaeological practice. Directions will issue as soon as possible after the Minister receives the director’s response.

“The Minister is advised that the surviving elements of the monument are extremely fragile, underlining the need for an early decision on how to proceed.”

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.

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  • Plum Duff

    Tara and its history are in most Irish peoples’ consciousness. We’ve all grown up with it in stories and legends. It is part of the national identity and is as important to the Irish as is Stonehenge to the English. The idea of ploughing a road through its environs was, from the very start, iffy to say the least. But now, after a major find *ON THE FIRST DAY* work commenced we are told of a major find.If the Fianna Fail government were insensitive initially to the fears of the conservationists I can’t believe the present bull-in-china-shop actions of Minister Roche right in the middle of an election campaign. If Bertie wants ‘events’ to throw his equilibrium out of kilter, he couldn’t do better.

  • Ulster McNulty

    Yes indeed, bear this one in mind everytime you hear someone going on at length about how sophisticated the Irish have become in past few decades.

    The Irish of 2007 remain as unsophisticated, short-sighted, naive and just plain daft as they were when they destroyed Wood Quay.

    Preserving the monument “by record” – wonderful euphemism for destroying the monument.

  • Plum Duff

    After I wrote the first piece, I found out, courtesy of the Indo, that Roche had been informed of the find three weeks before it was made public. Roll on doomsday, yiz shaggin’ shower of philistines!