National Monument hope at ancient grave
ARCHAEOLOGISTS are due to examine the area when an ancient skeleton was discovered at Forlorn Point in south Wexford over the coming weeks, with local hopes high that the grave site could be declared a national monument.
The decision to examine the site follows a request from Wexford Mayor Cllr Jim Moore to Heather Humphreys, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, to determine the importance of the site and how best to protect it from damage or plundering.
Cllr Moore hopes the site - which could date back to the Iron Age - will be declared a national monument.
In a reply to Cllr Moore, the minister said the State Pathologist's Office has investigated the human remains recently exposed in this case by Storm Ophelia and determined they were of ancient origin.
'As a consequence, National Museum of Ireland officials in consultation with officials from my Department's National Monuments Service, have carefully removed the visible remains for safekeeping,' said the minister.
'My Department is arranging for further archaeological investigations to be be carried out which will help to both inform and contextualise the discovery.
'While it has been reported that the site might date to the Iron Age, this cannot be determined categorically ahead of the planned further investigations. The site itself will ultimately be entered onto the Sites and Monuments Record and will thus be protected under the National Monuments Acts 1930-2004.'
Minister Humpreys commended the local community for promptly reporting the matter and to thanked them and the local authority for securing the site, for preventing unwanted interference and for its co-operation with the planned further investigations that are about to take place.
She said the discovery of the grave site also highlights the significant risks to our vulnerable archaeological monuments and historic buildings from extreme weather events.
'I am accordingly supporting the adoption, by the end of 2018, of a formal Sectoral Climate Adaptation Plan for Built and Archaeological Heritage which will identify risks and appropriate mitigation measures to help safeguard our heritage for future generations.'