THE CARROWMORE JUDGEMENT On 17 February 1989 the three judges in the Supreme Court upheld the appeal of five local residents against a High Court ruling in 1983 in the case of the proposal by Sligo County Council to locate a refuse dump in the Carrowmore megalithic cemetery, the largest such cemetery in the country and of importance not only in an Irish but also in a European context. The judges agreed that the High Court had erred in finding that the proposed refuse dump did not constitute a material contravention of the Co. Sligo Development Plan and was not in contravention o f the National Monuments Acts. This decision is of major importance on a number of grounds. The combination of the conditions of the Planning Acts and the National Monuments Acts were the basis for the appeal to the Supreme Court and this combination might be applied in other similar cases. The Supreme Court judgement was based on the recognition in the Sligo Development Plan of the importance of the Carrowmore cemetery and that the cemetery did not simply consist o f the remaining passage tomb sites but the area in between them. As Mr Justice McCarthy put it: ‘If a particular area be identified as an area of conservation for any amenity reason, one does not then legitimately permit development to the very boundary of the area; either the area itself must be prescribed as extending to a sufficient circumstance as will allow for a fallow area in between, or must envisage that such fallow area shall adequately extend outside the immediate area of the amenity.’ This legal view would seem to strengthen the basis for the concept of archaeological areas or landscapes.
Sligo County Council however is now faced with the legal costs of the case and the continuing problem of finding waste disposal facilities. It is to be hoped that this will not prevent them from seeing the tremendous potential attraction of Carrowmore. It would also seem an appropriate time for the Office of Public Works and Bord Failte to combine with the local authority to protect and present the Carrowmore cemetery as a landscape.
BRONZE AGE BURIALS AT GOREY, CO. WEXFORD Raghnall O Floinn, Assistant Keeper in the Irish Antiquities Division, National Museum o f Ireland reports on the first Bronze Age burials discovered in 1989. 'A t the end of February three schoolboys noticed a cinerary urn exposed in the face of a disused gravel pit just outside the town of Gorey, Co. Wexford. Most of the pottery vessel and the burnt or cremated human bone that it contained was recovered. The urn measures 30cm across the rim and is about 40cm in height. It is of a type known as an Encrusted Urn, of which there are about 100 examples known from Ireland. It is decorated with applied strips o f clay arranged in a lattice pattern with a row of bosses under the rim. It was found inverted over the bones, in a pit. Excavation around the findspot uncovered fragments of a second um, this time of the Vase Urn type, with incised decoration of the surface. This was also inverted but little of its contents survived. These urn burials date to the Early Bronze Age and radiocarbon dates from other sites suggest that they should date to about 1550-1500 BC.'
PUBLICATION NEWS The pace o f appearance of publications continues to make it difficult to keep an eye on all the new and interesting material that is coming off various presses. Recent papers in the Royal Irish Academy’s Proceedings (section c), Volume 88 include Sean O Nuallain's survey of the Slone rows in the south o f Ireland, Mary McMahon's report on the Archaeological excavations at the site o f the Four Courts extension, Inns Quay, Dublin (the first excavation in Dublin to be now fully published) and
Mairead Dunleavy’s Classification o f Early Irish Combs.
The first volume of the Tipperary Historical Journal, published by the County Tipperary Historical Society, contains a wide range of material and is over 200 pages in length. Included is a feature on heritage centres in Co. Tipperary and a number of papers of archaeological interest, for example, a discussion o f the important Early Bronze Age burial at Ballyveelish by Martin Doody and the report on the Lough Nahinch Crannog by M.P. Cahalan and A.M G. Hyland.
Volume 41 (1987-88) o f the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society Journal is a special issue devoted entirely to archaeological research and excavation in the west of Ireland. The contents include major research articles, 10 excavation reports and a section on the work of the OPW/UCG Preliminary Archaeological Survey of Co. Galway. O f the 19 contributors 17 are graduates of University College, Galway and for over half of them it is their first time in print. The Office of Public Works, who gave a generous grant towards the publication costs, and the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society are to be congratulated on the production of this volume which illustrates the amount and diversity of archaeological work being undertaken in the Galway area. Copies are available from Peadar O ’Dowd, c/o Regional Technical College, Galway, price IR£10.
Two recent books in the excellent Shire Archaeology Series are reviewed in this issue but we would also like to draw our readers's attention to the fact that Shire Publications of Aylesbury, Bucks., England also publish books in an Egyptian Archaeology series and in an Ethnography series which are similarly written by experts on particular topics and are well produced and reasonably priced.
The recent succesful conference on Burnt Mounds: Living Archaeology which took place in TCD is to have its proceedings published this year.