Thursday, July 3, 2008

Archeologists 'used to destroy Irish heritage'

Archaeologists working on excavations on the controversial M3 motorway feared they would be "sacked, blacklisted or bullied out of their profession" for not supporting the building of the chosen route, it was claimed today.

Speaking at a debate on the motorway near Tara at the sixth World Archaeological Congress (WAC-6) at UCD, Maggie Ronanye, a lecturer at the Department of Archaeology at NUI, Galway, said that pressure was put on site directors and field teams by archaeologists employed by the National Roads Authority (NRA).

"Lip service was paid to archaeology but archaeologists were used to destroy our heritage," said Ms Ronanye. "From the point of view of archaeology, the route chosen by the NRA was the least desirable and other routes were not properly considered because they were not profitable for developers."

Ms Ronanye, who recently claimed that reports submitted to the NRA had been altered, said that the building of the motorway posed serious ethical questions for archaeologists worldwide. She said she would be asking congress to pass a resolution calling for the re-routing of the M3.

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