Category Archives: IRELAND

Irish Farmer Stumbles Onto ‘Untouched’ Ancient Tomb

Irish Farmer Stumbles Onto ‘Untouched’ Ancient Tomb

In Ireland, a farmer discovered an ancient tomb that had been practically undiscovered for thousands of years. An excavator flipped a large stone to expose a secret chamber under it on southwest Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula, revealing the burial site.

Inside, local archaeologists found what they believe to be the human bones, along with a smooth oval-shaped stone – all of which could hold clues about pre-historical burial rituals.

They suspect the tomb dates to the Bronze Age, making it between 2,500 and 4,000 years old. But unlike most Bronze Age tombs, it was constructed completely underground—meaning it could be even older. 

Irish Farmer Stumbles Onto ‘Untouched’ Ancient Tomb
A farmer in southwest Ireland moved a large stone on his land and discovered this ancient tomb underneath. The site included a sub-chamber near the front of the tomb, as well as a smooth oblong-shaped stone and what’s believed to be human bones

The tomb was discovered during routine land improvement work, according to RTE, when a large stone was lifted up to reveal a ‘slab-lined chamber’ underneath.

An adjoining sub-chamber was found at what appeared to be the front of the tomb, containing what is presumed to be human bone fragments. A smooth oval-shaped stone was also uncovered, although its purpose is not yet clear.

Archaeologists from the National Monuments Service and the National Museum of Ireland visited the site and believe the tomb likely dates to the Bronze Age, which ran from 2000 to 500BC. But it could be even older given its ‘highly unusual design.

Bronze Age tombs have been found in the region before, but almost all of them stick out the ground. The new discovery ‘is completely concealed, suggesting it may be even older

‘Given its location, orientation and the existence of the large slab, your initial thought is this is a Bronze Age tomb,’ archaeologist Mícheál Ó Coileáin told RTE.

‘But the design of this particular tomb is not like any of the other Bronze Age burial sites we have here,’ he added.

‘It’s possible that it’s earlier but it’s very difficult at this early stage to date it.’

Fellow archaeologist Breandán Ó Cíobháin told the outlet the tomb appears ‘completely untouched,’ and its contents remain in their original state.

‘That is very rare,’ Ó Cíobháin said. ‘It is an extremely significant find as the original structure has been preserved and not interfered with, as may have occurred in the case of other uncovered tombs.’

The tomb was discovered on farmland on southwest Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula, which has been inhabited for 6,000 years. Its exact location is being kept private to preserve the site for future study

The discovery could prove invaluable to the understanding of prehistoric burial rituals, he said. Bronze Age tombs have been found in southwest Ireland before, particularly in Cork and Kerry.

They’re typically ‘wedge tombs,’ which narrow at one end and protrude above the ground.

Bronze Age wedge tombs like the one pictured here are found throughout southwest Ireland. But the newly discovered burial “seems to be different,” archaeologist Mícheál Ó Coileáin tells the Irish Times. “Wedge tombs are usually visible above ground, [but] this one is completely concealed.”

‘[But] this one is completely concealed, Ó Coileáin told The Times.

Wedge tombs mostly face the west and southwest, possibly representing ‘celestial or lunar alignments,’ Ó Cíobháin theorized. Because so much of the newly discovered tomb is underground, ‘it is difficult to fully assess the layout,’ he said.

‘It is very well built, and a lot of effort has gone into putting the large capstone over it,’ Ó Coileáin told the Irish Times. ‘It’s not a stone that was just found in the ground. It seems to have some significance.’

The National Monument Service says the tomb is in ‘vulnerable condition’ and is keeping its exact location private to preserve the site for future study.

Known to have been inhabited for at least 6,000 years, Dingle Peninsula has been the site of several archaeological discoveries, including clochán, dry-stone beehive-shaped huts built by the Celts.

Dead bodies of 800 babies found in a septic tank at a former Irish home for unwed mothers

Dead bodies of 800 babies found in a septic tank at former Irish home for unwed mothers

The discovery of nearly 800 dead babies in the septic tank of a home run by nuns has set off a round of soul-searching in Ireland and sparked calls for accountability from government and Catholic Church officials.

The entrance to the site of a mass grave of hundreds of children who died in the former Bons Secours home for unmarried mothers is seen in Tuam, County Galway

According to new evidence, 796 children were secretly buried in the sewage tank of a home in Tuam, County Galway, where unmarried pregnant women were sent to give birth in an attempt to preserve the country’s devout Catholic image.

Officials said they were “horrified” at the discovery and said it revealed “a darker past in Ireland,” a country often haunted by its history of abuse within powerful church institutions.

Dead bodies of 800 babies found in a septic tank at former Irish home for unwed mothers
“Unclaimed bodies” used without consent for the “study of the anatomy and the structure of the human body.”

The home was run by nuns from the Bon Secours Sisters congregation between 1925 and 1961. It was one of the “mother and baby” homes across Ireland, similar to the Sean Ross Abbey, in Tipperary, where Philomena Lee gave her child up for adoption in a story that was this year made into the eponymous Oscar-nominated film “Philomena.”

People who lived near the home said they have known about the unmarked mass grave for decades, but a fresh investigation was sparked after research by local historian Catherine Corless purportedly showed that of the hundreds of children who died at the home, only one was buried at a cemetery.

Speaking to the Irish Mail, which first reported her research, she also said that health board records from the 1940s said conditions at the home were dire, with children suffering malnutrition and neglect and dying at a rate four times higher than in the rest of Ireland.

Local historian Catherine Corless at the site of the alleged mass grave in Tuam.

Charlie Flanagan, minister for children and youth affairs, said that there was a “cross-departmental initiative underway” to determine how to react to allegations.

“Many of the revelations are deeply disturbing and a shocking reminder of a darker past in Ireland when our children were not cherished as they should have been,” Flanagan said.

According to the Reuters news agency, Ireland’s Roman Catholic Church told the order of nuns who ran the former home that it must co-operate with any inquiry into the discovery. Tuam’s Archbishop Michael Neary said that the diocese had no part in running the home but urged the Bon Secours Sisters to “act upon their responsibilities in the interests of the common good.”

“I am horrified and saddened to hear of the large number of deceased children involved and this points to a time of great suffering and pain for the little ones and their mothers,” he said.

The Bon Secours congregation did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

A figurine in the infants’ graveyard at Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, Tipperary, which was mother and baby home operated by the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from 1930 to 1970.

The claims came to light after Corless obtained death records for the home and cross-checked them with local cemetery records. Two local boys reportedly unearthed the home’s concrete-covered tank while playing in 1975 and found hundreds of children’s bones inside. The tank has now been surrounded by a housing estate, but an officer from Ireland’s Gardai police force said remains had recently been found after a police survey at the site.

“We do not know what we’re dealing with here yet, it could go back much further,” the officer told NBC News on condition of anonymity. “This is a historical investigation going back to the 1950s.

“We are investigating this matter, the grounds have been surveyed and there is what appears to be human remains discovered. But [the remains] could go back as far as famine times, which is 160 years, we just don’t know yet.”

Police could not confirm if a full excavation of the site was planned.

Ireland’s once-powerful Catholic Church has been rocked by a series of scandals over children’s abuse and neglect in recent years. The Church operated as a quasi-social service in the 20th century and the mother and baby homes were run in a similar fashion to the Magdalene Laundries, where single women who became pregnant were sent away.

“Children went in there so the families could conceal their shame”

While government and church officials were quick to express their shock at reports of Tuam’s high infant mortality rate and allegations of mass burial, the traits were not uncommon for such institutions in Ireland, according to Eoin O’Sullivan, associate professor at Trinity College Dublin.

“Tuam was a former workhouse and conditions were pretty bleak,” said O’Sullivan, co-author of the 2001 book “Suffer the Little Children: The Inside Story of Ireland’s Industrial Schools.”

“Ireland’s first mother and baby home, at Bessborough, in Cork, had an even worse infant mortality rate of around 82 per cent: In the year ending March 31, 1944, 124 children were born or admitted there, and 102 died.”

O’Sullivan added that the practice of mass burial, often with just one headstone marking the site, was not uncommon in many mother and baby homes and psychiatric hospitals at the time.

“Remember that the children went in there so the families could conceal their shame, and the kids were often adopted,” he said. “The nuns were not going around grabbing pregnant women; the women were taken there by their families who knew what conditions were like.

“Why have politicians and the Church reacted with such shock? I’m not sure. I suppose they have to every time something like this comes out connected with religious institutions.”

The discovery of a mass baby grave under a Roman bathhouse in Ashkelon, Israel

The discovery of a mass baby grave under a Roman bathhouse in Ashkelon, Israel

In the seaport of Ashkelon, along the coast of the Israeli Mediterranean coast, archaeologist Ross Voss made a bizarre discovery, while exploring one of the sewers of the area, he found a significant amount of bones.  At first, the bones were accepted to be chicken bones. Later, it was found that the bones were that of human.

Remains of Roman bathhouse in Israel

Newborn child bones from the Roman period. With the remaining parts adding up to in excess of 100 children, it was the biggest disclosure of babies remains to date.

Why were these roman babies killed?

As curious as you are, so was the Archaeologist while he found out the bones of the newborns. Voss took the remaining parts to forensic anthropologist Professor Patrician Smith. Smith analyzed the baby remains and established that there was no indication of the chances of survival of the babies longer than a week before being killed.

She used a technique of forensic testing that enabled her to confirm that none of the newborn children was healthy when they died.

During the era of Romans, it was normal for babies to be murdered as a type of birth control. It wasn’t a crime, as babies were seen as being ‘not completely human.

As a rule, a Roman lady who did not need an infant would take part in the act of “exposure” as she would desert the newborn child, either to be found and taken care of by another person or to die.

As per the convictions at the time, it was up to the gods to decide if the newborn child would be saved or not.

According to Roman mythology, the most popular record of close child murder, in which Romulus and Remus, two newborn children of the war god, Mars, were surrendered in the forested areas yet were raised by wolves and later established the city of Rome.

The most famous account of attempted infanticide, in which babies were left exposed to the elements, is the story of Romulus and Remus

Research showed that the newborn children at Ashkelon did not seem to have been “exposed”. Rather, it shows up they were deliberately murdered. One piece of information into the purpose behind their murder lies in the area of the bodies.

Investigations uncovered that the sewer where the remaining parts were found was straight underneath a previous bathhouse. It is conceivable that the babies were born to prostitutes or workers who worked at the bathhouse. However, this remains a mystery as there is no additional information on this theory.

While Ashkelon bathhouse was not the only place the bodies of the Roman infants were found.

Hambleden(the site of a former Roman villa) mass killing

In 1912, Alfred Heneage Cocks, the guardian of the Buckinghamshire County Museum in England, made a stunning disclosure. While driving an unearthing in Hambleden, Cocks revealed the remains of 103 people.

Of those 103 people, 97 were newborn children, 3 were children, and 3 were adults. While this frightful find delivers inquiries of how and why these babies had been slaughtered, Cocks neglected to conduct any further examination with regards to the roots of the bodies.

Hambleden – site of mass baby grave, Buckinghamshire, England.

Jill Eyers, archaeologist and director of Chiltern Archeology in England, found the remaining in a historical centre file, the bones spent near a century in 35 little boxes intended to hold free cigarettes and shotgun cartridges, each container sufficiently enormous to hold the total skeleton of one baby.

“It was quite heart-rending, really, to open all these little cigarette boxes and find babies inside,” said Eyers.

Then he chose to look into the reason for the mass killing. People believed that the Hambleden site is another area where prostitutes would give birth to an unwanted child that was consequently murdered. The site was not a region of poverty, so an absence of resource couldn’t clarify the mass executing.

There were additionally no recorded diseases in the region at the time that could represent the huge volume of death. People believe that the main sensible clarification is that the site once housed a brothel.

Because of the absence of birth control at that time, there were restricted choices for the who needed to abstain from having a baby or bringing up the child. So, child murder may have been the main decision they trusted they had.

Dr Simon Mays, a skeletal biologist at English Heritage, has examined the Hambleden Roman infant bones

However, the reasons for the death may be any, but the mass graves of newborn child remains are genuinely heartbreaking. The history behind the roman era living is a big mystery. In time, it is trusted that we may discover more responses to precisely how and why these newborns were killed.

A man’s discovery of bones under his pub could forever change what we know about the Irish

A man’s discovery of bones under his pub could forever change what we know about the Irish

10 Years ago, an Irish pub owner was clearing land for a driveway when his digging exposed an unusually large flat stone. The stone obscured a dark gap underneath. He grabbed a flashlight to peer in.

A photo of McCuaig's Bar on Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland. Ancient bones were unearthed on the property in 2006.
A photo of McCuaig’s Bar on Rathlin Island in Northern Ireland. Ancient bones were unearthed on the property in 2006.

“I shot the torch in and saw the gentleman, well, his skull and bones,” Bertie Currie, the pub owner, said this week. The remains of three humans, in fact, were found behind McCuaig’s Bar in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. And though police were called, it was not, as it turned out, a crime scene.

Instead, what Currie had stumbled over was an ancient burial that, after a recent DNA analysis, challenges the traditional centuries-old account of Irish origins. From as far back as the 16th century, historians taught that the Irish are the descendants of the Celts, an Iron Age people who originated in the middle of Europe and invaded Ireland somewhere between 1000 B.C. and 500 B.C.

Yet the bones discovered behind McCuaig’s tell a different story of Irish origins, and it does not include the Celts.

“The DNA evidence based on those bones completely upends the traditional view,” said Barry Cunliffe, an emeritus professor of archaeology at Oxford who has written books on the origins of the people of Ireland.

DNA research indicates that the three skeletons found behind McCuaig’s are the ancestors of the modern Irish and they predate the Celts and their purported arrival by 1,000 years or more. The genetic roots of today’s Irish, in other words, existed in Ireland before the Celts arrived.

“The most striking feature” of the bones, according to the research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science journal, is how much their DNA resembles that of contemporary Irish, Welsh, and Scots. (By contrast, older bones found in Ireland were more like Mediterranean people, not the modern Irish.)

Radiocarbon dating shows that the bones discovered at McCuaig’s go back to about 2000 B.C. That makes them hundreds of years older than the oldest artifacts generally considered to be Celtic–relics unearthed from Celt homelands of continental Europe, most notably around Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

These bones were discovered behind McCuaig’s Bar in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. DNA analysis of them challenges conventional history.

The senior author of the DNA research paper, Dan Bradley of Trinity College Dublin, was reluctant to weigh in on the cultural implications, but he offered that the findings do challenge popular beliefs about Irish origins.

“The genomes of the contemporary people in Ireland are older–much older–than we previously thought,” he said.

Geneticists from Trinity College Dublin, and archaeologists from Queens University Belfast, have sequenced the first genomes from ancient Irish humans.

Numerous digs, most notably in Austria and Switzerland, have traced the outlines of the Celts. The artifacts offer evidence going back as far as about 800 B.C. The ancient Greeks and Romans also left written accounts of the Celts, and probably knew them well–the Celts sacked Rome around 390 B.C. and attacked Delphi in Greece in 279 B.C.

It seemed plausible that this group that had invaded Rome had invaded Ireland as well, and in the standard view, it was this people that eventually made it to Ireland. For decades, however, archaeologists and other scholars have noted just how flimsy the evidence is for that standard account and how broad, nonetheless, is the application of the word.

In a 2001 book, Cunliffe, the Oxford scholar, argued on the basis of archaeological evidence that the flow of Celtic culture was opposite that of the traditional view–it flowed from the western edge of Europe, what he calls “the Atlantic zone”–into the rest of the continent. In many places of the Atlantic zone, he notes, people were buried in passages aligned with the solstices, a sign that they shared a unified belief system.

“From about 5,000 B.C. onwards, complicated ideas of status, art, cosmology were being disseminated along the Atlantic seaways,” Cunliffe said, and that culture then spread eastward.

“If we’re right, the roots of what is known as ‘Celtic’ culture go way way back in time,” Cunliffe said. “And the genetic evidence is going to be an absolute game-changer.”

This heat map shows how the DNA taken from the 4,000-year-old bones discovered in Northern Ireland relates to the DNA of modern European populations. The red coloring over the British Isles indicates that the bones are most like the modern populations there.

If the new scholarship proves correct, exactly what to do with the word Celtic will probably be a matter of some dispute: Should it be applied to languages or cultures that, no matter how clearly defined, were largely uninfluenced by the historical Celts of continental Europe?

Complicating any answer are old ethnic antagonisms: The old notions of a distinct “Celtic race” or “Irish race” have been used not just for poetic tributes, but for scorn.

The new evidence from genetics, however, undermines notions of a separate Irish race, describing them instead as one sliver of the European spectrum. According to the genetic research, the Irish are at the extreme end of a genetic wave that washed across Europe, a wave of migrants that swept westward from above the Black Sea across Europe about 2,500 B.C.

That wave of migration had been documented in previous research led by David Reich at Harvard University, but it was unclear whether it had extended all the way to Ireland. The Y chromosome and other aspects of the DNA in the bones found behind McCuaig’s, however, link the Irish to that surge of population.

Viking-Era Child’s Remains Discovered in Dublin

Viking-Era Child’s Remains Discovered in Dublin

RTÉ reports that the remains of a child and an iron buckle or fastener were uncovered in Dubh Linn, a dark tidal pool where the River Poddle enters the River Liffey at the site of Dublin Castle, by a team of researchers led by Alan Hayden of University College Dublin.

The find was made during an excavation near Dublin Castle where in ancient times the River Poddle flowed into the Dubh Linn near the River Liffey.

The skeleton, which was largely intact, was found just at the point before the river entered the pool and is thought to date from the 9th or 10th century.

The skeleton is believed to be that of a 10 to 12-year-old boy

After it was excavated it was discovered to be that of a child aged between 10 and 12 years of age – most likely a boy – and is thought to have been wrapped in a shroud before being thrown into the river.

The body was found with shoulders hunched together and an iron buckle or fastener was found with the body.

Alan Hayden from the UCD School of Archaeology who was leading the dig said the fact that it was not given a proper burial and was dumped in this manner could suggest an act of violence.

Further tests will be carried out to determine the date of death, gender and the ethnic origin of the person.

The dig, which is being carried out on the site of office development on Ship Street beside Dublin Castle, has already discovered that the original Dubh Linn was much larger than originally thought, extending beyond the walls of Dublin Castle.

Now the dig has found that the size of the original Viking settlement or Longphort can be shown to be double the extent previously established.

The archaeologists uncovered banks that would have run along the Poddle and the Dubh Linn with gaps to bring in boats. Inland there would have been a high fortification.

The area of the Longphort in the 10th and 11th centuries would have extended from the present-day Molly Malone statue on Suffolk Street to St Patrick’s Cathedral.

The dig has also established that Vikings continued living at the Dubh Linn even after the more famous Wood Quay settlement was established a kilometre away.

The Poddle was culverted in the 12th century and covered over completed in the 18th century. A 19th century well was found on the site.

Medieval Monastery Excavated in Ireland’s County Meath

Medieval Monastery Excavated in Ireland’s County Meath

The Irish Independent reports that archaeologists led by Geraldine Stout have uncovered pottery; the bones of cows, sheep, cats, and dogs; seeds; nuts; a key; a timber dash-urn with a paddle for churning butter; and a bakery at the site of a thirteenth-century monastery in eastern Ireland.

The new findings were discovered by a team of archaeologists, led by experts Matthew and Geraldine Stout at Beamore in East Month during a four week Covid-19 dig. Armed with two-meter COVID Sticks to ensure social distancing and colour co-ordinated equipment to avoid cross-contamination, the team tried to decipher the size of the monastery by the number of sourdough loaves made each day.

“One loaf equals one monk so the size of the oven might suggest how many came from France to live and work at the monastery,” said Geraldine.

Medieval Monastery Excavated in Ireland’s County Meath
Sourdough bread

“We had to think long and hard if we were even going to do a dig this year in the times that were in it.”

“Everyone was divided into pods for cuttings (sections of excavation) and they stayed with that group for the month. Each cutting had colour coded equipment which was not to be passed around to other groups to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.

“I gave everyone what I called the ‘COVID stick’ which was a two-meter yellow-painted stick so they had an idea of the distance they had to stay away from another person.

“We also got a special wash portacabin which I never saw before which enabled us with hot water to wash our hands and there were sanitising stations everywhere.

“But as much as we had reservations at the start, the measures worked and the excavations have given us more questions to come back and answer next year.”

And if the Cistercians ever had to practice social distancing, it wasn’t obvious in their findings which included evidence to suggest a communal toilet and bakery at the self-sufficient site.

Last year, the excavation team discovered ‘significant’ find of a rare French building and medieval pottery which supported a long-held belief that the site was once home to a unique Cistercian monk community from Normandy. 13th-century French jugs, ceramic roof tiles, and even a corn drying kiln and dried peas which proved crop rotation was ongoing in the 13th century were found on the lands outside Drogheda, owned by local historian and author John McCullen.

Unusual features of an existing gatehouse in a field, suggesting a diagonal French buttress were described as ‘very rare, if not unique in Ireland’ according to two of Ireland’s foremost medieval building archaeologists David Sweetman and Con Manning. It is believed that the site was the home of a 13th Century medieval monastic farm associated with the French Cistercian foundation of De Bello Becco (Beaubec)

The excavations which ended in early August were the second of a €50,000 three-year project, funded by FBD Trust and administered through the Kilsharvan Community Council. Author and archaeologist Geraldine Stout has a particular interest in the Cistercians, having worked on a similar site in Bective in Meath and says they were great innovators and farmers.

“We know that Walter de Lacey gave lands to this Abbey in Beaubec before Normandy in 1201, so there would have been about 100 monks living here up until the 16th century,” she said

“De Bello Becco was flourishing in Ireland in 1302 when it had to pay a tithe of 29s 4d to the Diocese of Meath, which placed it in a group of the highest valued churches in Meath.

This year, the jackpot continued and finds included a medieval key, animal bones of cows, sheep, cats, and dog as well as mixed farming produce of peas, beans, oats, wheat, and rye. Fruits including grapes and figs which, the Stouts say, had to have been imported from France and were further evidence of mixed farming.

Medieval Monastery Excavated in Ireland’s County Meath
Pottery, animal bones, seeds, nuts, and more tell a tale of what everyday life was like in medieval times in a monastic settlement in Ireland.

“We also pushed back the dating of human settlement at Beamore with the discovery of a prehistoric ceremonial pit circle and stone tools beneath the medieval monastic farm”

Remnants of a medieval timber dash urn with a paddle that was used to church butter were also found to prove a long-held belief that the Monks were a self-sufficient community.

“In the main residential block, an impressive, communal latrine was found with thirteenth-century detailing and outside the main residential block we found evidence of a water system that supplied the needs of this community for toilets, washing and food preparation.

“We found a cellar in the ruins which suggest it could possibly have been used for toilet facilities as well as a pot that worked like a medieval air freshener,” says Matthew.

Geraldine believes: “There were between 30 and 50 monks living here. The smallest Cistercian settlement had 12 monks minimum and this is a more sizable community, looking at the scale of the building here.

“We know that each monk was given a loaf of bread for his day’s work so if we work out mathematically the size of the oven and how many loaves it could hold, it would suggest how many monks lived here.

“We were lucky to find waterlogged deposits which preserved a lot of timber and seeds for us so we can tell by the flat oats and cereal that the Monks made and ate sourdough bread – so I guess history and trends can repeat themselves,” she laughed.

5,700-year-old Neolithic house discovered by archaeologists in Cork

5,700-year-old Neolithic house discovered by archaeologists in Cork

Archaeologists in North Cork have uncovered the foundations of a 5,700-year-old Neolithic house in addition to evidence of Iron Age smelting and Bronze Age burial sites. 

5,700-year-old Neolithic house discovered by archaeologists in Cork
The incredible discoveries were made following eight excavations in sites across north Cork

The archaeologists excavated a total of eight sites as part of two road realignment projects on the N73 road which links Mallow and Mitchelstown, near the villages of Shanballymore and Kildorrery, and a house dating back to 3700BC was found at one of the sites.

It is believed that the house belonged to some of the very first people to live in the area and found alongside were quantities of grain, pottery, and stone tools dating back to the same period.

At a different site in the townland of Waterdyke, archaeologists found evidence of charcoal pits required in the smelting process to produce iron. The pits date back to between 266AD and 1244AD while further evidence of smelting was also found at Annakiska South. 

There was also evidence of a 17th-century enclosure at Annakiska South as well as clay pipes and glass in addition to evidence of a 17th-century smithy situated on the original road that would have made horseshoes for travelers passing between Mallow and Mitchelstown. 

Clay pipes believed to be from the 17th century were among the fragments unearthed by archaeologists in Cork

The Irish Examiner reports that farming knowledge only arrived in Ireland around 200 years before this house was built, meaning that the settlement is one of the oldest farming settlements on the island of Ireland. 

Archaeologists also discovered evidence of ritual sites dating back to roughly the same period at the settlement. 

They found evidence of stone tools and pottery deliberately buried in holes in the Middle Neolithic era (3500BC to 2900BC) in a form of ritual that may have been associated with human burials.

Middle-neolithic pottery found in a sinkhole in Clenor South possibly left as an offering from the people who believed the natural phenomena were portals to the underworld

The tools and pottery may have been buried as an offering of gifts for the gods of the underworld. 

There was also evidence of a barrow cemetery dating back to the Bronze Age nestled by the banks of a meandering stream and overlooked by a nearby settlement. 

Cork County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), who carried out the excavations and the roadworks, published an “online story map” documenting the archaeologists’ results. 

The online map, created by TII project archaeologist Ken Hanley and Cork County Council resident archaeologist Ed Lynne, also documents previously discovered sites along the route and can be viewed here. 

Possible Bronze Age Burials Unearthed in Ireland

Possible Bronze Age Burials Unearthed in Ireland

At the excavation site of a new community hospital in the Sheil District, Ballyshannon, several finds from the Bronze Period have been discovered.

The Bronze Age urn will undergo further examination

In the course of archaeological research, a large capstone was found last week. It comprises a large flat sandstone boulder complete with rock art in the form of cup marks incised into its upper surface.

Monuments of this kind are classified as Boulder Burials and are thought to date to the Bronze Age 2,500 BC to 500BC.  

The capstone did overlay a small amount of cairn material within a large pit, which was fully investigated but contained no burial.

A number of differing burial sites have been found at the site

The National Monuments Service and National Museum were made aware of the unearthing of the capstone last Monday (August 24) and a team of three archaeologists has been on the sites since carefully examining the area where the capstone was unearthed and a wider area close to it.  

On Friday, August 28 the capstone was carefully removed from the site for further examination and analysis.

Subsequent further archaeological Investigations have uncovered the remains of an inverted urn burial. Urn burials date to the Bronze Age and comprise a large ceramic pot usually highly decorated, and containing cremated remains.

The urn has been removed by the Specialist Conservator and sent for conservation. All the cremated remains recovered from the site will be analyzed by osteoarchaeologist and the results presented in the site excavation report.

The dig is on the site of a new hospital at Ballyshannon

Mr. Shane Campbell, HSE Estates Manager, North West was present at the unearthing and stated “The earth removal work that started last week is part of an overall €21 million euro construction of the new Sheil Community Hospital.  I wish to offer reassurance that work is continuing on site as planned.

The contractor is on-site and continuing with the site clearance, removal of trees, etc and erecting the site Hhoarding, all as planned, the archaeological works will not delay the overall works programme.  

The HSE would like to thank Tamlyn McHugh and Fadó Archaeology for their painstaking work in uncovering these significant historical artifacts and ensuring they are properly conserved.”