Archive for July 16th, 2018

New megalithic passage tomb found at Irish heritage site

Monday, July 16th, 2018

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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