Geophysicist Kevin Barton has been in touch with Save Newgrange to correct some factual errors which had appeared in the original Meath Chronicle article, and also to suggest corrections and additions to statements made by Save Newgrange. He is also in contact with the editors of The Meath Chronicle and others to correct factual errors. We would like to thank Mr Barton for his constructive input.
1. Mr Barton said: “I think the word ‘newly’ implies the tomb was just discovered. The discovery has been reported at conferences and in various reports and publications since 2010.”
This would appear to highlights a failure of the State to fulfil its duty of care, but we are still seeking clarification on other facts before reaching any final conclusions.
2. Mr Barton said: “The research was led by Stephen Davis of UCD” and “Stephen Davis in UCD was the project leader and he would be the best person to contact or reference about the project and LiDAR work. My part was just the ground geophysical survey.”
3. Save Newgrange had referred to a “Research Paper: ‘Lidar survey in the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site’” http://eprints.dkit.ie/302/
Mr Barton said: “This is not a research paper, it is a chapter in a book authored by Davis et al. It would be useful to put the full reference to this and the link to the Heritage Council website where the results of the INSTAR project are available to put the overall work in context.“
That reference is: “Davis, Stephen and Brady, Conor and Megarry, William and Barton, Kevin (2013) Lidar survey in the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site. In: Interpreting Archaeological Topography: Lasers, 3D Data, Observation, Visualisation and Applications. Oxbow Books, Oxford, pp. 225-239. ISBN 9781842175163″
There are relevant links to the Heritage Council:
4. Save Newgrange stated in a press release: “They cannot enter private lands to investigate sites, without Government designations, and cannot review results without funding to retain related experts.”
Mr Barton replied:
“This is strictly not true. Researchers can enter private lands with the permission of the landowners. An NMS licence is required to bring ground detection devices onto known or suspected archaeological sites.”
The definition of a national monument, National Monuments Act, Sec.2, is as follows:
“the expression ‘national monument’ means a monument or the remains of a monument the preservation of which is a matter of national importance by reason of the historical, architectural, traditional, artistic, or archaeological interest attaching thereto and also includes (but not so as to limit, extend or otherwise influence the construction of the foregoing general definition) every monument in Saorstát Eireann to which the Ancient Monuments Protection Act, 1882, applied immediately before the passing of this Act, and the said expression shall be construed as including, in addition to the monument itself, the site of the monument and the means of access thereto and also such portion of land adjoining such site as may be required to fence, cover in, or otherwise preserve from injury the monument or to preserve the amenities thereof;” [Emphasis added]
So, the Act designates not only the monument itself, but the “means of access thereto and also such portion of land adjoining such site as may be required to fence, cover in, or otherwise preserve from injury the monument or to preserve the amenities thereof”. Currently, the owners of the land on which the passage-tomb sits are co-operative. However, it does not appear that they are under a legal duty to allow access to it, unless it is designated a national monument, or some other designation under the Act that provides for access. Should the land-owners change their minds, or should the land change hands, it is conceivable that access could be denied.
5. The credit given by Save Newgrange for the images on our web site had been to Mythical Ireland, where we retrieved them.
Mr Barton said:
“The reference for the images should be -
Davis et al., 2010. Boyne Valley Landscapes; ProjectPhase III Final Report 2010.
6. Finally, would also like to clarify one point. The Evening Herald reported that:
“Archaeologists who discovered a new passage tomb near Newgrange want it declared a national monument.”
Save Newgrange did not claim that the archaeologists want the site declared a national monument. We only expressed our opinion that the site should be declared such.