New megalithic passage tomb found at Irish heritage site

Archaeologists have discovered a new megalithic passage tomb at the prehistoric site of Brú na Bóinne about 25 miles north of Dublin. Brú na Bóinne, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is renown for its three large Neolithic passage tombs dating to around 5,000 years ago, and a profusion of at least 90 smaller tombs. Many of them are marked by megalithic stones with elaborate abstract carvings, making Brú na Bóinne the largest collection of megalithic art in Western Europe.

To this vast archaeological wealth we can now add one main passage tomb with satellite tombs. Two burial chambers have been unearthed on the western side of the main tomb. A large stone cairn more than 130 feet in diameter was built on top of the tomb.

The six kerbstones that have been identified so far would have formed part of a ring of stones that followed the cairn perimeter. One kerbstone is heavily decorated with Neolithic carvings and represents one of the most impressive discoveries of megalithic art in Ireland for decades.

A further two possible satellite tombs were also found.

The find site is not actually on public land. It’s on 430 acres of Brú na Bóinne owned by agri-technology company Devenish Nutrition which acquired the Dowth Hall estate in 2013 and established a research farm on the property. County heritage authorities and Devenish worked together to coordinate the excavation led by a team from University College Dublin School of Archaeology.

“For the archaeologists involved in this discovery, it is truly the find of a lifetime,” Dr Clíodhna Ní Lionáin, Devenish’s lead archaeologist for the project said.

Meanwhile, Dr Steve Davis of the UCD School of Archaeology said it is “the most significant megalithic find” in half a century in Ireland.

Devenish, thankfully, has no intention of hiding this internationally significant find. As a science research company, they consider preservation and protection of this archaeological material in keeping with their purview. The company has contracted Mullarkey and Pedersen Architects to preserve the passage tomb and make it accessible to the public. The first public visits will take place in a month. August 18-26 is Heritage Week in Ireland, and Devenish has already invited people to celebrate Irish heritage by visiting the megalithic passage tomb.


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Comment by Karlsdottir
2018-07-17 10:40:18

I usually side-eye any outfit described as “agri-tech (no food made from petroleum byproducts for me, thanks),” but kudos to Devenish for its handling of this site. :hattip:

Comment by dearieme
2018-07-17 12:22:42

I find it astonishing to think that the people who made those monuments either largely died out by failure of their agriculture, or were pretty much exterminated by the Bronze Age invaders whose origins lay on the steppes of Ukraine and Russia.

And yet that’s what the Ancient DNA people tell us.

Comment by Isidor
2018-07-17 17:08:51

Unfortunately, I never made it to Ireland, but instead I had a look at the map, i.e. at the slope of the River Boyne with the ‘Newgrange visitor center’ on the other side of the stream.

What has been unearthed here, is -without reasonable doubt- their ancient ‘visitor center’ with all the projected passage tombs carved into that stone :yes:

The massive installations elsewhere, however, were often used for several centuries, sometimes with ‘secondary burials’ of the original ones, while in later centuries -already Bronze Age or not- individual burials and mounds were added around the older bigger installations.


PS I wonder if there were any divisions or individual peoples that were using an individual passage tomb.

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November 2020


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