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24 August 2004
New archaeological sites discovered at Tara

Campaigners working to have the proposed M3 motorway re-routed away from the Tara-Skryne Valley (Ireland) claimed that they have discovered a 'significant' number of new archaeological sites through aerial reconnaissance. At least 10 new sites have been recorded as crop marks, according to researchers.
     Professor Conor Newman of NUI Galway said that the latest discoveries comprise a series of settlement enclosures and burial sites such as barrows. In some cases the sites were so close to one another that they must be contemporaneous and represented the remains of discrete neighbourhoods or family clusters, he said.
     Professor Newman said that burial mounds, by their very nature, were more durable and therefore easier to find than settlements. The close juxtaposition of both settlement enclosure and barrows confirmed the theory that small and ostensibly isolated burial sites were in fact embedded among the living communities, he said. "The settlement sites revealed on these new aerial photographs, therefore, mark a significant advance in our knowledge of settlement patterns in this area. These latest photographs show just how populated the landscape around Tara was throughout the past, which, of course, comes as no surprise." He said that the photographs also showed the track of the proposed M3 toll motorway as revealed by the scar of the test trenching.
     The first phase of the test excavations - 21 in all on the Dunshaughlin-Navan section of the proposed motorway - will be sent to Duchas. Statutory authorities to be notified include the Dept. of the Environment, the National Museum of Ireland and the National Roads Authority (NRA). Applications will then be made for full excavations.

Source: The Meath Chronicle (21 August 2004)

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