THE national monument found in the path of the controversial M3 motorway in Co Meath cannot be preserved in place, a government-appointed committee has decided.
The condition of the Lismullin site is so bad that the archaeological remains will have to be excavated.
The Lismullin Advisory Committee, in a report published last night, said the members had agreed that the site "was in a very vulnerable condition, could not sustain or withstand preservation in situ and that, therefore, excavation is desirable and in the best interests of the archaeological remains".
Protesters have been waging an intensive campaign to stop the road going through its proposed route.
The National Roads Authority insist the new motorway will be further away from the existing gridlocked N3, which it says is one of the most dangerous roads in the country with a 50pc higher crash and road death rate.
The National Museum has recommended that an extensive archaeological assessment be carried out at Lismullin before the motorway is built.
It has been agreed that the Lismullin Advisory Committee will be advised prior to any excavation.