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Ancient bog road 'damaged by detectorists'

The 3,000-year-old wooden road at Mayne Bog has recently been targeted by metal detectorists hoping to find a priceless ancient artefact.

Ancient bog road 'damaged by detectorists'
The 3,000-year-old track in Coole was discovered in 2005 [Credit: GreenNews]
Although it is illegal to hunt for archaeological artefacts using a metal detector in this country, the National Monuments Service (NMS) recently discovered during a visit that Mayne Bog that detectorists had carried out work on the site, which is home to one of Ireland’s oldest roads.

Local historian Aidan Walsh, who has been campaigning for the preservation of part of the bog for some years, says that the detectorists could cause serious damage to the roadway when they are digging.

“It is a wooden road and metal detectors are going to throw up very little,” he pointed out. “However, it does mean that every time they dig a hole, the ancient remains are damaged.”

While he is unsure why the site has been targeted by dectorists recently, Mr Walsh says that it may be down to the amount of publicity that the preservation campaign has received this year.

“Optimistic” that a portion of the roadway will be preserved, Mr Walsh says any further digging by dectorists could cause lasting damage to what is a highly important, though, sensitive archaeological site.

In a statement issued this week, Mr Walsh stressed the importance of the preservation of the roadway at Mayne.

“This vandalism and attack on the bog damages our heritage and is illegal under Irish Law. Westland, the company that owns the bog, will be erecting warning signs shortly. I appeal to members of the public to report any signs of illegal activity to the National Monuments Service at"

Source: Westmeath Examiner [June 08, 2017]

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