Lismullin site handed over- to road contractors;;By - Unknown.
The Lismullin archaeological site in Co. Meath has been handed over to the contractor building the M3 motorway, the National Roads Authority (NRA) has confirmed. The move means the controversial roadworks may begin on site immediately.NRA archaeologists have already studied the site, which includes a number of stake holes forming an enclosure. Carbon dating suggested they were likely to be at least 2,000 years old.A souterrain from about the 10th. century was also discovered on the site. Archaeologists said it was possibly used for defence during the Viking invasion.The archaeology had also been the subject of a study by an expert group set up by Minister for the Environment John Gormley to determine how best to proceed, once the prehistoric nature of the site had been determined.The expert group which included Conor Newman, the State's foremost archaeological expert on Tara, and Dr. Pat Wallace, director of the National Museum, advised that the archaeological remains were in a "very vulnerable condition". This meant they could not withstand preservation in situ and, therefore, "excavation is desirable and in the best interests of the archaeological remains".Efforts to contact Mr. Newman and Dr. Wallace were not successful yesterday, but the department's website noted the 2,000- year-old remains were "too fragile to remain in situ and must be recorded and removed".It added that "preservation in situ of Lismullin is not an option".