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Clergyman told to move cross
From the Oxford Times, 12 May 2006
A clergyman has been told to move his cross or the council will move it for him.
Rev Edwin Clements, the parish priest for Hagbourne, Upton and Blewbury, erected the wooden cross at Churn Knob, an Iron Age burial mound, six years ago.
The 16ft cross marks the spot, high above Blewbury, where St Birinus gave his first sermon in 634AD, converting pagans to Christianity.
But the Vale of White Horse District Council has told Rev Clements to move it or face enforcement action despite the fact that he has planning permission for the structure.
The row surrounding the cross started in 2003 when English Heritage objected to it being placed on a scheduled ancient monument.
Mr Clements maintained it was not on the mound but had been erected next to it.
Read whole article here:
Blaze destroys stone circle's hut
The visitor hut at a prehistoric stone circle has been burnt to the ground in what police say was an arson attack.
The hut, at the Rollright Stones on the border of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, was completely destroyed in the blaze on Sunday.
It had been used to store visitor guides and merchandise.
Police said the fire was unrelated to an incident in March 2004 when 70 of the Neolithic stones were splashed with yellow paint.
Flames were spotted by a passing motorist in the early hours.
PC Tony Auden said the fire had "caused a significant amount of damage".
He said arsonists had forced their way through a door and set the hut alight.
Dohn Prout, site manager, said he could not believe the Rollright Stones had suffered further "bad luck".
Read whole story on the BBC website here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/4644482.stm
Ancient artists who made their mark on our landscape
From Yorkshire Post today
9th January 2006
Stone Age rock carvings in Yorkshire have provided a fascinating glimpse into life 4,000 years ago
Whether their intricate designs are maps, religious symbols or simply an early form of graffiti, Stone Age rock carvings are seen as invaluable to unlocking secrets of civilisations dating back 4,000 years.
Archaeologists have become fascinated with the work of prehistoric sculptors, studying the mysterious carvings created with flint tools which have survived the passage of time throughout the intervening centuries.
And the North York Moors has emerged as a hidden gem for the phenomenon of rock art after a painstaking investigation spanning a decade has unearthed hundreds of examples buried under heather and gorse across the bleak landscape.
Rock art researchers Paul Brown and Graeme Chappell have compiled the most comprehensive study yet of the artistry which they have discovered across the moors and published their findings in a book, Prehistoric Rock Art in the North York Moors.
Excitement at Neolithic site find
From BBC online, Wednesday, 2 November 2005:
Archaeologists have unearthed what is thought to be one of the largest Neolithic settlements in Britain. The discovery, which includes buildings, a human burial pit, tools, pottery and ritual objects, was uncovered at a Northumberland quarry.
It is hoped it will boost understanding of the period, which dates back thousands of years.
The discovery was made during routine archaeological investigation of the quarry, which is run by Tarmac.
The settlement, near Milfield Village, Northumberland, includes at least three buildings dating to the 4000 BC Early Neolithic period and three buildings from the 3000 BC Later Neolithic period.
Archaeologists said the find was highly important because remains of buildings are rarely found on Neolithic settlements in England.
Dr Jonathan Last, from English Heritage, said: "To find the remains of so many buildings from the Neolithic period grouped together is incredibly important.
"This exciting discovery offers huge potential to improve our understanding of Neolithic ways of life in the north-east of England.
"We hope that analysis and scientific dating of finds from the site will reveal much more about the date and function of these structures and establish whether they were homes or ceremonial buildings."
The remains have been found over an area the size of two football pitches.
Archaeological site director Dr Clive Waddington said: "This is one of the most important sites of its kind to be discovered.
"It provides an exciting opportunity to further understanding of Britain first farmers, their way of life and beliefs about the world."
Ancient roadway unearthed
from www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk 15 October 2005
A team of archaeologists from Sheffield University have revealed significant new insights into the role of Stonehenge after discovering a prehistoric ceremonial road. The team, also from four other universities, discovered the avenue.
It proves there was a walkway between a henge (a circular momument) at Durrington Walls, and the River Avon, three miles away, blowing a hole in the theory the standing stones at Stonehenge were a one-off feature.
The new find supports the team's theory that Stonehenge was in fact just one part of a much larger complex of stone and timber circles linked by ceremonial avenues to the river.
Radiocarbon dates indicate the henge was in use at the same time as the sarsen stones were erected at Stonehenge. The newly-discovered roadway, with its rammed flint surface, is wider than most modern roads and more substantial than any other Neolithic track in Europe.
It runs for about 100 metres (328ft) from the timber circle within the great henge to the river. Analysis has shown that the avenue was heavily trampled by prehistoric feet, and archaeologists have unearthed numerous finds along its edge.
Prof Mike Parker Pearson, from the University of Sheffield's Department of Archaeology, believes Stonehenge and Durrington Walls, together with its adjacent site of Woodhenge, were linked by the river to form a single complex.
He has suggested the entire complex was a funerary monument. The work was filmed for a Channel 4 Time Team special, to be screened next year.
New audio tour at the Rollrights
From Heritage Action's Heritage Journal, 24 August 2005
The Rollright Trust, guardians of the Rollright stones on the Warwickshire/Oxfordshrie border has just launched an innovative audio tour facility.
From their website, you can download a sound file for your iPod or MP3 player. But if you haven't got the technology you can buy a CD with the tour on when you arrive at the stones and they will even lend you a CD player to listen to it on while you are there.
The audio tour is split into three tracks, one for each of the monuments at the site: the King's Men stone circle, the Whispering Knights burial chamber and the King Stone standing stone.
The audio tour is given by George Lambrick, chair of the Rollright Trust and the leading expert on the site, its history and archaeology.
The Rollright are an excellent example of how ancient monuments can be run to the benefit of all without turning them into a Disneyland-style tourist attraction. It is one of the first heritage sites in the world to offer a guided tour as an MP3 download and earlier this year, access for visitors who are wheelchair users was improved at the site.
The £600,000 plan to shore up Silbury Hill
EXPERTS have come up with a plan to save ancient landmark Silbury Hill from collapsing in on itself but they need up to £600,000 to carry it out.
English Heritage has reached a decision on which option to take to stabilise the ancient monument, the largest prehistoric man-made construction in Europe, and guarantee its continued existence for centuries to come.
It has chosen to re-enter Silbury Hill through the tunnel dug to its centre in 1968, the subject of a BBC film made by Magnus Magnusson at the time.
The existing material that has been used to backfill the various excavations that have taken place over the last 200 years or so will be removed and replaced with chalk to the same density as the surrounding mound material. The temporary capping at the top of the shaft dug into the hill in the 18th century, which is composed of expanded polystyrene, will be removed and it, too, replaced with chalk.
Bob Bewley, south west regional director for English Heritage, said: "The tunnels have never presented the major problem. Most of the subsidence is as a result of the shaft that was dug by the Duke of Northumberland's men in 1776 straight down through the centre of the monument in the search for gold.
"They found no gold at the base but it has left us with major headaches as it has never been satisfactorily filled in and is the cause of all the major subsidence that has threatened Silbury Hill."
Mr Bewley and his colleagues are confident that recent work to stabilise the monument will keep it safe in the short term while arrangements are made to undertake the massive effort to complete the repairs.
It has already been five years since a massive hole opened up at the top of Silbury Hill, which was exclusively reported by the Gazette at the time.
But Mr Bewley explained that rescuing a 4,700-year-old construction from dereliction is no short-term matter.
He said: "We have not taken the quick and easy fix but have tried to understand what is happening inside the hill, which is why is has taken so long to come up with our decision.
"When we are finished the hill will hopefully not require any further attentions for hundreds of years, although we will be monitoring it regularly."
A project board meeting is due to be held in October when a decision will be taken to put the work out to tender.
Mr Bewley said: "We hope to find the right contractor in this financial year and the work will be started in either the next financial year or the following one.
"The biggest thing will be finding the money for the work. We reckon it is going to cost in the region of £500,000 or £600,000 and we are going to have to find that money from somewhere.
"Some of that may come from commercial sponsorship. Large companies and other organisations may be pleased to be involved with this kind of project.
"It is a World Heritage Site and will attract publicity from all over the world."
Pembrokeshire is 'dig destination' for archaeology students
Pembrokeshire is one of the 'dig destinations' for archaeology students this summer.
Dozens of students from all over the world are working in the county at a number of excavation sites, a major one being at Castell Henllys Iron Age Fort, which is owned and run by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority. For over 25 years, students, led by Dr. Harold Mytum, of the University of York, have been returning to Castell Henllys to help unlock more of the secrets of this unique award-winning heritage site.
Phil Bennett, archaeological heritage manager for the National Park, has worked closely with the York University team for many years. "Each year brings new excitements and findings," he said. "Gradually the fascinating history of the site is pieced together from evidence recovered from the excavation which gives us an insight to life here over 2,000 years ago."
"The hillfort is brought to life using information based on the many discoveries made by archaeologists during the on-going dig which is now in its 26th year. This is the only Iron Age hillfort in Britain where roundhouses have been reconstructed on their original foundations."
Dozens of family events are taking place during the summer at Castell Henllys, bringing the past to life and finding out how our ancestors lived. "It is really nice to see children enjoying themselves and learning about the past in such a vibrant way," added Phil. "At events at Castell Henllys children dress up in Iron Age cloaks and experience daily life in prehistoric times. Older children can actually go and see how archaeological excavations work." Further details are available from Castell Henllys on 01239 891319 or by checking out the website www.castellhenllys.com
Protesters to form a mile long chain chain
Tim Cunningham, 27th July 2005
A mile-long human chain will be formed to protest at new plans for a Stanton Moor quarry.
Residents of Stanton-in-Peak were devastated to learn Matlock quarrying firm Stancliffe Stone plans to extend a pre-existing quarry at nearby Dale View.
The news came as residents were celebrating after a recent decision by the Court of Appeal ruled that Lees Cross and Endcliffe quarries are dormant.
Local people and eco-warriors have been fighting to protect the landscape for the last five years.
Julie Kidd, of the action group Stanton Against the Destruction of our Environment (SADE) said: "Everyone thinks the war is won, but it's not for us.
"Stancliffe Stone are abandoning Lees Cross and Endcliffe to focus on a greenfield extension to Dale View quarry instead.
"But Dale View is already Britain's largest dimensional stone quarry. It's closer than ever to the stone circle, and much, much closer to the village."
The campaigners say that the extension will ruin the most popular approach to the Nine Ladies site and that environmental damage will be much more visible.
Ms Kidd said: "We're completely mystified as to why the National Park Authority is even entertaining the idea. They seem to think this glorious piece of English countryside has no value.
"We believe when Stancliffe Stone and the National Park Authority see the size of this protest – when they realise we mean business in a big, big way – they'll understand they have to think again."
SADE's chairman Nick Moor said: "We're not anti-quarrying, we're anti-greed. The proposed extension is just too big – it's over a mile round.
"Poor Stanton Moor just can't take another massive onslaught."
A spokesperson for the Park Authority said: "The situation remains unchanged – we have received no planning application to extend Dale View quarry.
"If we do, it will be subject to an open and transparent public planning process, entailing a full environmental assessment and scrutiny by the Authority. It would be a completely new full application that would be subject to the highest standards of scrutiny."
Stancliffe Stone General Manager Mike Jones said: "We held a pre-consultation event for local residents and interested groups so that we could listen to their feedback and use it constructively to help us develop our plans.
"And that's exactly what we've done, revising the boundary of the proposed extension to ensure no quarrying will take place near the woodland which forms a natural buffer between the proposed quarry extension and the village."
Stancliffe – a subsidiary of building-supplies giant Marshalls Plc – says it will be applying for a reduced number of lorry movements as part of its extension application.
SADE are encouraging people to join the chain on Saturday, July 30, between Stanton-in-Peak and Stanton Lees from 11am.
Better access at the Rollrights unveiled
From Heritage Action, 22 June 2005
Access to the three ancient monuments that make up the Rollright stones has been greatly improved. It is now easier than ever for wheelchair users and families with pushchairs to enjoy the spectacle of the The King's men stone circle, the Whispering Knights burial chamber and the King Stone standing stone in the beautiful north Oxfordshire countryside.
The improvements were unveiled in a ceremony last weekend when George Lambrick, chair of trustees of The Rollright Trust who cares for the monuments welcomed visitors and guests to inspect the new facilities for themselves.
A portion of land to the south of the King's Men stone circle has been acquired to allow visitors to enter the circle through the portal that the bronze age builders of the circle originally intended. An all-weather anti-mud path suitable for wheelchairs now leads down from the King's men stone circle to the Whispering Knights burial chamber. Access to the King stone has been improved and information boards have been erected.
US campaigners join henges battle
From BBCi, 16 June 2005
A New York-based conservation group has joined the battle to prevent further quarrying near an ancient monument known as the Stonehenge of the North.
The Landmarks Foundation said plans by Tarmac to extend its sand and gravel quarry close to Thornborough Henges, near Ripon, would be a "tragedy".
North Yorkshire County Council is due to consider the application to extend the quarry later in the year.
The foundation said: "We strongly urge the council to reject the application."
Tarmac already has a quarry at Nosterfield, close to the ancient henges.
The new site at Ladybridge Farm is also near the henges, which consist of three earthworks built in a line running north-south for about a mile.
Residents fear further quarrying could destroy clues about why the 5,000-year-old earthworks were built.
Their fears have come to the attention of the Landmarks Foundation, which says its mission is to conserve sacred sites and landscapes around the world.
Threat to Flag Fen
From PeterboroughNow 16 June 2005
In a clash between ancient history and new technology, fears have been raised that Peterborough's renowned Flag Fen site could be forced to close if a giant waste plant is built.
Each year, more than 20,000 people visit the celebrated site in Fourth Drove, Fengate, which is recognised as one of the most important Bronze Age sites in Europe.
It was discovered by Dr Francis Pryor in 1982 when a piece of timber was spotted sticking out of the peat by archaeologists looking for a Roman road.
Since then, hundreds of relics have been discovered, including Britain's oldest wheel, and Dr Pryor has gone on to find television fame as part of the BBC's Time Team.
Today, the last day for public objections to be lodged, he said he had "serious reservations" about the controversial plans to build the Global Olivine energy-from-waste recycling site, which will cover 29 acres and dwarf Flag Fen.
He said: "The proposal as it currently stands gives me serious worries that it will adversely affect the undisturbed archaeological deposits on the site.
I also have concerns about the visual impact of the scheme and the way this will affect how visitors experience our Flag Fen."
Iron Age remains found at castle
A team of university archaeologists has uncovered the remains of an Iron Age settlement in the grounds of a Gloucestershire castle.
The group, from the University of Bristol, found fragments of human bones and prehistoric flint tools in the gardens of Berkeley castle.
The discoveries were made by students taking part in a training excavation.
Mark Horton, head of archaeology, said: "To find prehistoric remains is an exciting and unexpected discovery."
Parts of a ring ditch, which may have circled a house, were also uncovered in an area below the castle's Victorian flowerbeds and greenhouses.
Berkeley castle has been owned and inhabited by the same family since 1156, but little is known about the early history of the site.
"It is possible this settlement was located on a small ridge of high ground, to be visible from the River Severn, and might even had been located to help prehistoric navigation," Dr Horton said.
The excavations are due to be filled in, but it is hoped the artefacts will be put on display for visitors to the castle.
From BBCi, 7 June 2005
'No evidence' of historic remains
A company which wants to quarry near an ancient monument has dismissed suggestions that the site contains items of archaeological importance.
Tarmac wants to extend its sand and gravel operations next to Thornborough Henges near Ripon, North Yorks.
Residents fear further quarrying could destroy clues about why the 5,000-year-old earthworks were built.
But archaeologists working for Tarmac say there is only "thin and scattered" evidence of prehistoric activity.
Tarmac commissioned York-based Mike Griffiths and Associates (MGA) to carry out a visual survey as part of its application to the county council to extend its present quarry at Nosterfield.
The new site at Ladybridge Farm would bring quarrying much nearer the henges which consist of three earthworks built in a line running north-south for about a mile.
Each henge consists of circular earth banks and ditches which may have been covered with gypsum.
Archaeologist Steve Timms from MGA said: "With the exception of just seven shallow pits which contained Neolithic finds, very little else has been found.
"Apart from two fragments of pottery we have no evidence for Roman or medieval activity at all and most of the prehistoric finds were collected from the surface of the fields during the field walking
"The evidence suggests that people were doing something on the site in the Neolithic period but there is not enough evidence to say what it was."
North Yorkshire County Council is due to consider the application to extend the quarry later in the year.
Mike Sanders from Friends of Thornborough Henges said the MGA survey was "quite inadequate".
"Less than 2% of the Ladybridge Farm site has been surveyed," he claimed.
Mr Sanders added that advances in archaeological techniques in future years might turn up more evidence and destroying the landscape now meant that opportunity would be lost.
from bbc.co.uk, 24 May 2005
Quarry site shows historic activity
From This is Richmond, 19 may 2005
A QUARRY firm's own archaeologists said a site chosen for excavation should not be disturbed, according to campaigners.
Pressure group Timewatch said finds from an archaeological study paid for by Tarmac Northern meant no further quarrying should be allowed at Nosterfield Quarry, near Masham, North Yorkshire.
Quarry bosses said the study of Ladybridge Farm found "thin and scattered evidence of activity dating back to the Mesolithic period that had been dispersed by thousands of years of farming".
But George Chaplin, chairman of Timewatch, said a site of even greater archaeological potential than even they had suspected had been uncovered.
Mr Chaplin said: "The little that is left must be protected from quarrying."
The study was conducted to accompany a planning application to extend the quarry, which will be looked at by North Yorkshire County Council later this year.
Tarmac estates manager Bob Nisholson said: "The survey and report were produced by professional archaeologists. The report has been submitted to North Yorkshire County Council and the county council will evaluate it as part of the planning application process."
Protecting Scotland's carved stones
A strategy document providing guidance for the care and protection of carved stones has been unveiled by Tourism Minister Patricia Ferguson.
Carved stones provide a very real link to more than 5000 years of human activity in Scotland and are an important and significantly large proportion of the monuments and artefacts that survive from past times. Carved stones help to define the character of our environment and present-day identities, both local and national.
Emphasising the cultural importance of carved stones, Ms Ferguson said:
Scotland's rich and varied resource of carved stones is an important cultural asset; they are a tangible connection to a very human element of our past. Carved stones have enormous and largely untapped potential, particularly for sustainable tourism and educational initiatives, but they require active conservation.
Effective protection of carved stones will continue to be achieved most effectively through better understanding of the issues involved and collective effort to address them. I hope that, with this policy and guidance, Historic Scotland and everyone else involved will be encouraged, and better placed, to identify priorities and implement strategies and action plans to respond to the needs of individual sites and categories of our important carved stones.Read more here
Norfolk: Bronze Age artefact found in garden
An article by Ben Kendall of the Eastern Daily Press online, 26th April 2005:
One of the biggest hauls of Bronze Age artefacts ever found in Norfolk has been uncovered in a garden - but it very nearly ended up in a skip.
The 145 items dating from circa 800BC were discovered in Norwich by gardener Simon Francis as he landscaped the grounds of a house on Poplar Avenue, near Newmarket Road.
Norfolk County Council archaeologists have described the haul as one of the largest and most significant they have known, providing a vital insight into the era.
But yesterday Mr Francis admitted he had not initially appreciated the importance of the find. He said: "I have been working as a gardener for years and I've often come across bits of pottery.
"At first I just thought these were bits of gate posts from Victorian times or something so I suppose I could have easily thrown them away. Fortunately there were some items like axe and spear heads which stood out."
Property owner Shane Target said he had delighted such a find had been made. He said: "I know a bit about archaeology and I am fascinated by it.
"When Simon told me what he had found I came down to the garden and we both realised we had found something pretty special."
Since the initial discovery of 135 items on Friday, archaeologists have revisited the site and found more items including a Viking broach.
The haul included axe heads, spear-heads, sword parts, tools and ingots.
Curator of archaeology Alan West said: "This is one of the biggest finds in Norfolk and as such is very significant.
"The items are in good condition and the more items we find the better knowledge we can develop of the era.
"It seems the items had been buried in a shallow pit. I would have thought the items we buried there as it was a safe area and they planned to return to recover them at a later date but, for whatever reason, that never happened.
"Finding the Viking broach is particularly unusual. It is rare to find items from two completely different eras all on one site."
Fellow curator Tim Pestell said he hoped the items would eventually be displayed at Norwich Castle. "The coroner will have to decide if this qualifies as treasure which it almost certainly does," he said. "Then we will look to put it on public display."
He added: "I got the call about this at the end of the day on Friday when I was about to go home. It was one of those moments when you think 'should I answer the phone'. Obviously now I'm glad I did."
Wreck divers recover Bronze Age treasures
From This is Devon website, 8 March 2005
A Westcountry diving team has uncovered one of the oldest shipwreck sites in the world. In an exclusive report, John Kirk reveals how the remarkable find was made off the Devon coast
A team of amateur divers who uncovered the find of a lifetime off the Westcountry coast has struck gold for a second time. Thirteen divers - all members of the South West Maritime Archaeological Group (SWMAG) - have unearthed 3,000-year-old Bronze Age artifacts from what may be one of the oldest shipwreck sites in the world.
They include a gold bracelet called a torc, a cauldron handle, and the remains of weapons ranging from rapier blades to axe heads and swords.
All were discovered off the coast of Salcombe last October, when the divers were expanding their area of investigation from a previous site where in 1995 they found the biggest collection of Islamic riches ever found off Britain.
Experts say the latest finds are even more significant, as they may be from one of the oldest shipwrecks ever discovered. The finds, which date from 1300BC, were immediately declared to the Receiver of Wreck, Sophia Exelby, at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, as it is believed the relics come from an ancient shipwreck. They are now at the British Museum in London, where they are being examined.
Once the examinations are complete, the collection will be valued as a whole and interested museums will be able to bid for it - although it is likely that the British Museum will get first refusal, as the find is of national significance. It is believed the museum has already expressed an interest.
The divers received a salvage award of almost £100,000 when their last collection - discovered on a shipwreck a quarter of a mile off Prawle Point in 1995 - was eventually sold to the British Museum. That find included 460 gold coins, as well as ingots, nuggets, pewter, jewellery and pottery which had lain undisturbed since it was lost at sea in the 1630s.
The latest site falls within the area for the wreck which is protected from unauthorised and illegal diving under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973.
The divers say they do not want to talk about salvage awards for the latest discovery and are more interested in the significance of the find.
A spokesman for SWMAG, which includes four divers from Devon, said: "The cash has not been discussed because it's very early days and we're just really excited about the find.
"We thought the 17th century wreck site where we discovered Islamic gold was wonderful. But this is different and is extremely significant.
"It could possibly be one of the oldest shipwrecks in the world. To my knowledge there's also been no gold found at a Bronze Age wreck before, and this is one of just two Bronze Age wrecks in the country.
"This discovery has really been a team effort, and we are now working with the Receiver of Wreck and English Heritage to ensure that these important artifacts are put on permanent display to the public."
The spokesman said the location was of national interest, particularly as Bronze Age artifacts were found at the nearby Moor Sands site in the 1980s. The finds from Moor Sands date to around the same time as those discovered in the latest find, and archaeologists are examining whether they came from the same vessel.
The latest find is dominated by the blades of swords and rapiers, but axes, tools and ornaments are also present. The swords are among the earliest found in north-west Europe, while some of the other objects are of northern French origin and are types which are rare in this country.
Receiver of Wreck Ms Exelby said: "This is a very exciting find which shows the breadth of information which is available from shipwreck sites. We are now working to ensure that these unusual artifacts are given a good home, where their historical value can be appreciated by everyone."
Stuart Needham, curator of European Bronze Age collections at the British Museum, said: "The evidence from Salcombe and other rare sites help us to build up a picture of object movements, the organisation of trade and the character of seafaring."
English Heritage and SWMAG are now planning a research-led field season later in the year to find out more about the site.
Committee receives 2,000 submissions against Tara motorway
Heritage campaigners have delivered 2,000 submissions to the Oireachtas Transport Committee opposing plans to build a motorway through the historic landscape surrounding the Hill of Tara in Co Meath.
The submissions were collected by the Save Tara-Skryne Valley group at various locations throughout Ireland over the weekend.
The group is campaigning for a re-routing of the M3 motorway away from the Tara-Skryne Valley, which is rich with archaeology dating back to the Stone Age.
Vincent Salafia, a spokesman for the Save Tara-Skryne Valley group, said the argument against the current route of the motorway was based on economics as well as archaeological protection.
He said lengthy court battles and painstaking excavations mean the M3, in its current form, could not be completed before 2015.
"It would actually be cheaper and delivered quicker if they re-routed the motorway now," he added.
Minister says he has no power to alter Tara motorway
Environment Minister Dick Roche has reportedly stated that he does not have the power to significantly alter the proposed route of the M3 motorway through Co Meath.
Campaigners are urging Mr Roche to re-route the road away from the Tara-Skryne valley due to the archaeological and historical importance of the area.
The proposed route of M3 would pass close to the Hill of Tara and would also lead to the destruction of dozens of archaeological sites.
However, reports this morning said the minister had insisted that his only role in the controversy is to decide on the method of preservation for archaeological sites.
Under a recent amendment to the National Monuments Act, Mr Roche has the power to order the in-situ preservation of such sites, a move that would necessitate a change in the route of the M3.
From Breaking news.ie
Showing 1-20 of 114 news posts. Most recent first | Next 20
Habitat: Commonly sighted in fields round Oxfordshire and Wiltshire.
Distribution: Widespread; occasional migrations to overwinter in Africa or other hot climes.
Characteristics: A tall, blonde, opinionated bird with feisty temper when provoked. Prone to spells of gloom during winter months. Usually sporting dark plumage, except for golden head, can often spotted with sketchbook and brushes near megalithic sites.
Feeding habits: Easily tempted with cheese (any variety) or a nice cup of tea. Unfeasibly fond of curry.
Behaviour: Unpredictable, approach cautiously. Responds very favourably to flattery.
Abhors: slugs, invisible sky gods, Tories, the Daily Mail, bigots, eggs, the cold, walking and timewasting.
Adores: a man called Moth, painting, live music, furry creatures, tea administered frequently, hot places, cheese, writing crap poetry, David Attenborough, Ernest Shackleton, Vincent van Gogh and the English language.
Want more?: see her website.
Big old rocks I find appealling
Their secrets they are not revealing
Some are chambers, some are tombs
Hidden in valleys and in combes
Some are said to act like clocks
With shadows cast out from their rocks
I like the way they just survive
When I visit, I feel alive
So I chase my rocks around the maps
Round England, Ireland and France, perhaps
But there ain't nothin' that I liked so much
As to see the Hunebedden, dem is Dutch.