New light on old tracks In the last issue o f Archaeology Ireland Barry Raftery outlined the exciting results o f investigations on a series o f wooden trackways at Corlea (1-5) and Derryoghil. Co. Longford. Unfortunately the date for one of these trackways. Corlea 2. was incorrectly printed in its calibrated form as 1040 BC instead o f 1240 BC. Here D r Raftery adds some interesting new inform ation about the trackways. "Dates for two more o f the trackways have recently been received. Two samples o f brushwood taken from Corlea 3 (the hurdle track) gave two radiocarbon determ inations indicating a date between 1250 and 1050 BC. Three samples o f oak planks from the most substantial o f the Derryoghil tracks (that illustrated on the cover o f Archaeology Ireland 1:2) were dated by dendrochronology. Two o f these were from the same tree for which a felling date o f between 971 and 936 BC was established. The third sample indicated a felling date o f between 955 and 920 BC. The track was thus laid down around the middle o f the tenth century BC.
Corlea 1. the great Iron Age road, extended across the bog in a NW -SE direction, ending at the west at a small island beyond which the bog stretches in all directions. In 1957 Professor Etienne Rynne. then o f the National Museum of Ireland, carried out rescue excavations on a trackway in bog to the immediate west of this island, in the townland o f Derraghan More. Unfortunately this trackway appears in the meantime to have been totally destroyed. A brief account o f the road appears in A.T. Lucas's 1985 Royal Irish Academy paper on toghers. It zigzagged across the bog for approximately 960m and his description indicated that it closely resembled the Corlea roadway in details o f size and construction. This sim ilarity was confirmed by examination o f the site plans preserved in the files o f the National Museum. Wood samples from the Derraghan More road, retained since the 1950s excavation, were recently dated by the radiocarbon method to between 200 and 100 BC. It thus seems that the two stretches of independently excavated roadw-ay were contem porary elements o f a communications system. The original length of the Iron Age road was some 2km, making it an undertaking o f far greater magnitude than had been suspected up to now, and this has major implications for our understanding o f second-century BC Iron Age social organisation.
The later Bronze Age date o f 'h e Derryoghil trackw ay is also o f great im portance. It is constructed o f transversely-laid oak planks, each about 2m long, and may indicate that wheeled transport was already in use at this early date. The o ther tracks exposed at Derryoghil lie at roughly the same level in the bog as this one. The absolute urgency of rescue excavation on these tracks in advance o f their imminent destruction is thus given increased emphasis.'
In the pipeline News o f the extension o f the natural gas pipeline from Dublin to Dundalk came early in January 1988. This is good news not only fo r industrial and domestic users o f natural gas and the people and companies who will benefit from work associated with the construction o f the pipeline but also fo r archaeology. As in the previous phases o f the natural gas pipeline grid Bord Gdis Eireann arc routing the pipeline to avoid known archaeological monuments and checking the route fo r low-visibility sites, such as flint scatters, by field-walking before construction. The digging o f the trench fo r the pipe will he monitored to see what archaeological deposits turn up and time is allowed fo r excavation where necessary.
The archaeological benefits o f this approach can be seen in the published results o f work on the Cork-Dublin pipeline (1981-82) and the Waterford and Limerick pipelines (1986). Archaeological excavations on the Cork-Dublin pipeline appear in Cork Archaeological Studies No. I at £12 + £2 p+ p (from Department o f Archaeology. University College. Cork) in March 1988, and Three Irish Gas Pipelines: New Archaeological Discoveries in Munster, describing excavations in 1986 on the pipelines through Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford, is due out at the same time from Wordwell L td— Academic Publications, 9 Herbert Lane, Dublin 2 .
Computer-based index to the Irish Ordnance Survey Memoirs This project, based at the Institute o f Irish Studies. Queen's University Belfast, aims to transcribe and index an im portant collection of