Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Tearin' Up Tara

The Hill of Tara in Ireland is being excavated in parts because of work on the M3 Highway. The good part of this is that exciting finds are being made.

For instance, the remains of a NINE THOUSAND YEAR OLD fishing basket was found in Clowanstown, County Meath, the Irish Times reported last week. They can date the basket because it was made of alder saplings, which are radio-carbon datable. . . possibly to the Mesolithic. I'm getting verklempt. Read more about it at the National Road folks' commissioned report or at TaraWatch while I compose myself.

Nine thousand years old. A small wooden dugout, possibly a toy, was found nearby, along with axes and stakes and cherts and stuff.

This was revealed at an archaeological conference last week. Other finds include:

  • "3,335 lithic finds or stone tools, including 144 polished stone axeheads and fragments"

  • "a portion of an unfinished block wheel which has been dated to the late Bronze Age (2200 BC-600 BC)"--the oldest ever found in Ireland

  • Pottery--some grooved--and beakers, a few pieces dating back to 2900 B.C.

  • Spindle whorls (weights) that may be nearly as old

  • In Tipperary, remnants of a palisade enclose a natural mound, deliberately enlarged with layers of glacial soil. “The first known major Neolithic landscaping project” an archaeologist said

  • Remains of wooden trackways and platforms built over wetlands during the Neolithic, over four thousand years. (This was County Longford, where an N4 bypass was under construction.

So what's the bad part of these wondrous finds?

They're tearing up the richest, most ancient heart of the country to put in a frickin' road!

The EU filed a lawsuit in 2007. The Smithsonian and other organizations have expressed their condemnation over the possible loss of historical site of interest to all. A petition asking the United Nations to declare the Hill of Tara a World Heritage Site is stalled because Ireland must first approve it, and Ireland is playing the bad guy in this skit.

If you'd like to sign a petition asking the UN to take action, go here. The goal is to gather a million signatures by the end of 2009, and present them to the UN in NYC, urging them to take action. The tally is not even close, so far. So go sign, tell your friends.

This area was occupied by people over nine thousand years ago. No one should go tearing it up for a stupid road!

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