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2 December 2007
Megalithic art found at Lismullin souterrain

A decorated stone bearing megalithic art similar to that at Newgrange and Knowth (of Neolithic date c.3000 BCE) has been found incorporated into part of an Early Historic souterrain currently being dismantled as part of the M3 archaeological works in the vicinity of the henge at Lismullin, in the Gabhra Valley, County Meath (Ireland). The nearest example of megalithic art is to be found in the passage tomb of the Mound of the Hostages on the summit of the Hill of Tara.
     The decorated stone was noticed on 30 November by Save Tara campaigners who took a series photographs over the weekend (see here). It exhibits a series of motifs commonly found in passage tomb contexts - concentric circles, nested arcs and zig-zags. It is likely this stone was robbed from a nearby passage tomb during the construction of the souterrain in the early centuries CE. Indeed, it has been suggested that the large mound in the grounds of Lismullin house may be that of a passage tomb.
     The promontory fort of Rath Lugh (under temporary preservation order) overlooks the henge (a declared national monument) and the souterrain complex that have been unearthed at Lismullin and the
discovery of the stone is further evidence of the importance of this area and its continued use through the millennia of Irish history.
     The excavation of the henge and the souterrain continues and will probably be completed before Christmas. This will allow the NRA to begin the construction phase of the motorway in this delicate and sensitive area of the Gabhra Valley. Save Tara campaigners are asking the EU and the Commissioner to take an injunction against the Irish Government to stop all attempts at construction in the short disputed section of the M3 in the Gabhra Valley until the European Court of Justice has completed its deliberations on this case.

Source: Save Tara Campaign press release (2 December 2007)

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