Category Archives: WORLD

CT Scans Reveal Contents of Small Ancient Egyptian Mummies

CT Scans Reveal Contents of Small Ancient Egyptian Mummies

As scientists peered under the wrappings of two small ancient Egyptian mummies who believed they were carrying human hearts, they were taken aback: Not only were there no noticeable hearts inside, but the remains were not even human. 

Instead of one mummy is packed tightly with grain and mud – a so-called grain mummy, while the other one holds the remains of a bird, possibly a falcon, that is missing a body part and several organs, the researchers found.

“It’s missing its left leg, nobody knows why,” said Dr. Marcia Javitt, chairperson of radiology at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel, and an adjunct professor of radiology at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., who helped scan the mummies with computed tomography (CT) on June 29. 

The two mummies, both interred in sarcophagi, have been housed at Haifa Museum for about 50 years. However, “records were not kept as diligently as they are now,” so not much is known about them except that they’re more than 2,000 years old, Ron Hillel, registrar, and head of collection management of Haifa Museums told BBC News. 

Over the past few years, the National Maritime Museum in Haifa has been going through its collection and determining the best way to preserve each artifact. When curators came across the two mummies, they realized they didn’t know what was inside.

The records noted they contained mummified hearts, but “we did the research and it didn’t make sense,” Hillel said. Often, (but not always) “the hearts were left in the body,” of Egyptian mummies, Hillel said because the ancient Egyptians thought that when people died, their hearts would be weighed against a feather representing ma’at, an Egyptian concept that includes truth and justice, BBC News previously reported. If the heart weighed the same or less than the feather, these people would earn eternal life; if not, they would be destroyed.

CT scans of the Osiris (left) and Horus (right) mummies.
The “corn mummy” of the ancient Egyptian deity Osiris.

The CT scans done at Rambam Hospital revealed that the mummies had very different insides from one another. The roughly 18-inch-long (45 centimeters) human-shaped mummy — designed to look like Osiris, the god of the afterlife, the dead, life, and vegetation — contained mud and grains. 

“During Osiris festivals that were held, [the ancient Egyptians] would produce these,” Hillel said. “It would be a mixture of clay or sand with these grains, and then they would dip it in water and the grains would germinate.” In effect, this act would tie Osirus to death, life, and Earth’s fertility.

Or, as Javitt put it, “they’re not real mummies; they’re artifacts.”

The other mummy, a roughly 10-inch-long (25 cm) bird-shaped mummy, represented the god Horus. According to Egypt mythology, Horus was the falcon-headed son of Osiris and Isis; a deity associated with the sky and pharaohs. 

The mummy of the falcon-headed deity Horus.

Over time, the bird mummy had desiccated, meaning that the tissue got more dense, like beef jerky. Meanwhile, the marrow in the bones had dried out, leaving nothing but delicate bone tubes.

So Javitt and her colleagues used a dual-energy CT, which uses both normal X-rays and less powerful X-rays, a technique that can reveal properties of the tissues that a regular CT scan can’t, Javitt said. 

“In order to differentiate the soft tissues from one another and the bones and so on, it can be very helpful to use a dual-energy CT,” Javitt said.

Now, her team is identifying the bird’s various tissues and bones. Javitt noted that the bird’s neck is broken, but that this injury likely happened after the bird was dead. That’s because the skin is broken too, and in most cases of broken bones, “you don’t usually crack open the skin from one edge to the opposite side, you just break the bone,” Javitt said. 

Moreover, the bird appears to be missing some of its abdominal organs, but more study is needed to determine which ones aren’t there, she said. For instance, the heart appears to be present, as is the trachea.

Going forward, Hillel said the museum may make a special exhibit centered around these two mummies. He also hopes to have them dated with radiocarbon 14, so the museum can determine their age.

42,000 years old Mungo Man skeleton, the oldest human remains found in Australia

42,000 years old Mungo Man skeleton, the oldest human remains found in Australia

First, a skull, then a torso and eventually an entire skeleton emerged from the sands of south-west New South Wales. When the bones of Australia’s oldest and most complete humans were unearthed in the 1970s it rewrote history.

An Environment Ministry photograph of an ancient human footprint in the Mungo National Park.

Dubbed Mungo Man after the dried-up lake basin where he was found, the skeleton dates back about 42,000 years. But his removal from his burial site to a Canberra university 43 years ago caused his traditional owners great angst.

He’s now been returned to his country, but there’s a fresh dilemma to be resolved: Should Mungo Man be interred forever or should his remains still be accessible to science?

It’s a fraught question which goes to the heart of who owns the rights to access Mungo Man’s history, traditional owners of the Willandra Lakes World heritage region — the Mutthi Mutthi, Ngyiampaa, and Paakantyi/Barkandji peoples — will meet to begin discussions on his ultimate resting place.

Geologist Jim Bowler found Mungo Man in the sands of the Willandra Lakes Region in 1974.

“My preferred option is to bury him and put a nice plaque on him, rather than have him lying in a box waiting for someone to come and poke him again,” Ngyiampaa elder Roy Kennedy said, adding researchers “have had him long enough”.

But many scientists fear burying Mungo Man will close off any chance of future research. Future techniques may become available that will tell us so much more about the story of Mungo Man,” said Dr. Jim Bowler, the geologist who found the skeleton.

“The prospect of possible future access must be resolved.”

Finding Mungo Man

Dr. Bowler stumbled across Mungo Man in 1974 while researching the semi-arid landscapes of south-west New South Wales. The wide scrubby basins fringed by sand dunes were once an ancient series of lakes, brimming with freshwater and teeming with life.

Among them was Lake Mungo, which dried up about 15,000 years ago, leaving behind a stunning landscape. Dr. Bowler had ventured out after a rainstorm when he spotted a white object poking out of the sand, glinting in the afternoon sun. It was a skull.

He alerted archaeologists at the Australian National University and the team rushed to the scene, carefully excavating Mungo Man and taking him 800 kilometers away to Canberra. Mutthi Mutthi elder Mary Pappin’s view is that it was Mungo Man who found Dr. Bowler, not the other way around. Mungo Man was very clever because he revealed himself to a man of science,” she said.

“He thought he [Dr. Bowler] would be the ideal person to make white Australia understand just how long us Aboriginal people had been here.”

The excavation of skeleton remains from the Willandra Lakes Region has angered local Indigenous people.

What has Mungo Man taught us?

During Mungo Man’s excavation in 1974, Dr. Bowler dated the earth in which he was buried and estimated his age at 30,000 years or older. Later, scientists would redate the bones at 42–44,000 years. For many Aboriginal people, this was a welcome confirmation of what they had long been saying.

“We believe he came because he wanted to tell the rest of Australia as well as the world just how long us Aboriginal people have been walking on this landscape,” Ms Pappin said.

It wasn’t just the skeleton’s antiquity that astonished scientists. It was the complexity of his burial. Mungo Man had been carefully laid out, his hands placed in his lap, and his body covered in red ochre. The substance was transported from hundreds of kilometers away.

The remains of a small fire were close by.

“To find on the shores of Lake Mungo the extraordinary ritual of ochre and fire was a moment of sheer wonder,” said Dr Bowler, now aged 88.

“We were blown away by it.”

Mungo Man is the oldest and most complete skeletal remains found in Australia.

Further research found Mungo Man’s lower teeth had been deliberately extracted during adolescence, suggesting initiation rites. Arthritis in his right elbow pointed to a life of spear throwing. Scientists say Mungo Man showed these ancient people had culture, complex language, complex tools, and ceremonies. Paakantyi man Michael Young said this cultural sophistication changed all prior perceptions of Aboriginal people.

“That idea that Aboriginal people were nomadic and primitive people have been blown away,” he said. As a result of the unique cultural and environmental features uncovered in the Willandra Lakes, the region was listed on the world heritage register in 1981.

The Medieval Book That Emerged from a Bog After 1200 Years

The Medieval Book That Emerged from a Bog After 1200 Years

The book that emerged from a bog after 1200 years

This is the remarkable story of a medieval book that spent 1200 years in the mud. Around 800 someones had a Book of Psalms made, a portable copy fitted with a leather satchel.

The book consisted of sixty sheets of parchment that were carefully filled with handwritten words. Somehow the book ended up in a remote bog at Faddan More in north Tipperary, close to the town of Birr, Ireland.

Dropped, perhaps, by the owner? Was he walking and reading at the same time? Did he himself also end up in the bog?

Fast-forward to 2006. Eddie Fogarty, the operator of a turf digger, noticed an object with faint lettering in the bucket of his machine.

Thanks to the conservation properties of turf, many pages of the book were still intact, as was its leather satchel the only surviving specimen from this early period.

Faddan More Psalter, c. 800: when it was found.

There it was again, our Book of Psalms! At this point, it resembled something from an Aliens movie (pic 2), but that changed quickly after it went to the restoration lab.

Faddan More Psalter, c. 800: before the start of restoration

Thanks to the conservation properties of turf, many pages were still intact, as was its leather satchel (pic 3), the only surviving specimen from this early period.

Faddan More Psalter, c. 800: restored cover

Remarkably, among the damaged pages were some that had let go of the words: kept together merely by ink, the words were floating around by themselves – like some sort of medieval Scrabble (pic 4). It’s the most remarkable bookish survival story I know.

Faddan More Psalter, c. 800: words without a page

Roman Settlement Found in Cambridgeshire, England

Roman Settlement Found in Cambridgeshire, England

One of the discoveries of archeological work in Waterbeach Barracks was Roman pottery and coins, along with Bronze Age PalStave ax-head. Before work starts on the first phase of the new town development, Oxford Archaeology East has been working with developer Urban & Civic and Cambridgeshire County Council’s historic environment team at the site.

Comprehensive research was undertaken and three areas of Roman settlement, two areas of Roman industry and several parts of a medieval field system – called a ridge and a furrow – were uncovered

The land is at the junction of two important Roman regional transport links: the Car Dyke (Old Tillage) Roman canal which is one of the greatest engineering feats carried out by Romans in Britain – and the Roman road known as Akeman Street, which connects Ermine Street near Wimpole Hall and runs along the alignment of Mere Way joining the broad route of the A10 up to the north Norfolk coast.

Oxford Archaeology East working at the Waterbeach Barracks.

The archaeology team has been investigating the site since 2016, and following desk-based research and geographical surveys of the key areas, they have opened nearly 140 archaeological trial trenches across the entire site to explore what has survived the more recent agricultural and military uses.

Over the last few weeks, approximately seven hectares – the size of 10 football pitches – have been dug in the northern corner of the airfield, with early evaluation identifying a potential Roman settlement.

Having stripped the topsoil with excavators, the team was able to delve deeper with hand tools to explore and interpret the layers of history beneath. This included a complex system of ditches, dating to the latest Iron Age and early Roman period (about 2,000 years old) as well as a lot of artifacts: from Roman pottery and coins to an amazing Bronze Age palstave axe-head. 

A number of pottery kilns were also found that would have produced pottery during the Roman period.

Oxford Archaeology East working at the Waterbeach Barracks.

Stephen Macaulay, deputy regional manager of Oxford Archaeology East, said: “Waterbeach Barracks is a fascinating site and the new development gives us a unique opportunity to capture the essence of its foundations and an understanding of how our ancestors lived and worked the land.

“The site is in a unique location and the historic role of Car Dyke and Akeman Street Roman road (the modern A10) and water connections need more celebration within Cambridgeshire. Hopefully, the approach at Waterbeach is the start of making that happen.”

Further archaeological excavations will take place in advance of each phase of development at Waterbeach. The first phase covers 1,600 homes, while 6,500 will be built in total on the site by Urban & Civic.

Rebecca Britton, of Urban & Civic, said: “Waterbeach Barracks is a historic place with rich layers of heritage that span millennia.

While the recent military past is something that we are all familiar with, this work enables us to dig deeper into the past, find out more about how our predecessors lived and what they did here.

“This is not only incredibly useful in informing our understanding of the past, but also provides a rich seam of inspiration for the future development: whether it’s street or park names, the design of public art, or part of connecting future residents with the history literally under their feet.

“History is a great way of establishing connections between people and is part of our wider commitment to working with Denny Abbey, the Tithe Barn at Landbeach, Wicken Fen, and other important local heritage assets to engage people with and celebrate the amazing history.”

The 7,000-year-old stone bracelet is oldest ever found in the world

The 7,000-year-old stone bracelet is oldest ever found in the world

A Paleolithic man’s stone bracelet claimed to revolutionize our understanding of early human development. Scientific analysis suggests that the enchanting find is a 65,000 to 70,000 years old. 

It’s the oldest piece of jewelry of its kind in the world that experts believe to be made by an extinct group of early people named Denisovan.

The community is closely related to Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, If confirmed, it would push back the date of its creation by around 30,000 years and show that technology used in its creation was available much earlier than thought. 

While bracelets have been found pre-dating this discovery, Russian experts say this is the oldest known jewellery of its kind made of stone.

Scientists from the universities of Oxford and Wollongong in Australia are due to meet this month with Russian colleagues. The academics will analyze and interpret data from tests on the age of the soil layer in which the bracelet and other artifacts, including a pre-historic needle, were found.

At an exhibition in France this year the green-hued chlorite bracelet, unearthed in a Siberian cave, was listed as 50,000 years old. It was earlier reported as originating from 40,000 years ago and made for an ancient woman by a Paleolithic craftsman. 

But Russian researchers have suggested the jewellery item comes from a time long before early man was believed to have the skills or know-how to make such objects. Maksim Kozlikin, a researcher from the institute of archaeology and ethnography, in Novosibirsk, said: ‘Preliminary results have been received to date stratum 11 where the bracelet was found to 65,000 to 70,000 years.

‘So it all goes towards changing the dating of the finds to more ancient.’ 

Institute director Professor Mikhail Shunkov acknowledged that at 50,000 years old, the bracelet was already ‘a world-level phenomenon’ because its existence challenged the known ‘level of technologies. For example, the bracelet has a hole made by drilling and rasping devices. Our colleagues from Australia and Oxford are coming here in August, we will be discussing the dating then,’ he said, adding that some data was ‘ambiguous’ and required clarification.

Polished zone of intensive contact with some soft organic material. General reconstruction of the view of the bracelet and comparison with the modern bracelet.
The manufacturing technology used in the bracelet is seen as being more typical of a later period, for example, the Neolithic era, which began around 12,000 years ago. This image shows a hole that was drilled in the bracelet with a high-rotation drill
Made of chlorite (pictured) imported from more than 150 miles away, the exceptionally rare bracelet would have belonged to a high-ranking member of the society
‘Until then, I will refrain from saying anything.’

A consensus on the age will be announced after the experts had discussed the dating, and a major scientific journal report was expected, The Siberian Times reported. The bracelet was found in 2008 in a layer that contained Denisovan, homo altaiensis, rather than Homo sapien or Neanderthal remains, although all these groupings shared the cave at various times and interbred.

‘The bracelet is stunning in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green,’ said Professor Anatoly Derevyanko, the institute’s former director.

‘It is unlikely it was used as an everyday jewellery piece.  I believe this beautiful and very fragile bracelet was worn only for some exceptional moments,’ he said.

The manufacturing technology used in the bracelet is seen as being more typical of a later period, for example, the Neolithic era, which began around 12,000 years ago. Dr. Derevyanko said: ‘Two fragments of the bracelet of a width of 2.7cm and a thickness of 0.9 cm were found.

‘The estimated diameter of the find was 7cm. 

‘Near one of the cracks was a drilled hole with a diameter of about 0.8 cm.  Studying them, scientists found out that the speed of rotation of the drill was rather high, fluctuations minimal, and that was there was applied to drill with an implement, technology that is common for more recent times. The ancient master was skilled in techniques previously considered not characteristic for the Palaeolithic era, such as drilling with an implement, boring tool type rasp, grinding, and polishing with a leather and skins of varying degrees of tanning.

‘Next to the hole on the outer surface of the bracelet can be seen clearly a limited polished zone of intensive contact with some soft organic material,’ said Dr Derevyanko. Scientists have suggested that it was a leather strap with some charm, and this charm was rather heavy. 

The needle was one of humankind’s first tools. It is distinctive of the Upper Paleolithic period, which began 40,000 years ago. The three-inch (7.6cm) needle (pictured) is crafted from ancient bird bone

The location of the polished section made it possible to identify the ‘top’ and ‘bottom’ of the bracelet and to establish that it was worn on the right hand. Among the remains of 66 different types of mammal found in the cave were those of extinct woolly mammoths.

In 2000 a tooth from a young adult was found in the cave and in 2008, archaeologists discovered the finger bone of a juvenile Denisovan hominin, dubbed ‘X woman’.

Further examination of the site found other artifacts dating as far back as 125,000 years. Dr. Shunkov has suggested that the bracelet indicates the Denisovans were more advanced than Homo sapiens and Neanderthals.

The Denisova Cave (pictured), in Siberia, is named after Denis, a Russian hermit who lived there in the 18th century. It is the only location where the remains of Denisovans have been discovered and has been repeatedly used by them, Neanderthals and Homo sapiens
The entrance to the Denisova cave and the archaeological excavations inside.

‘These finds were made using technological methods, boring stone, drilling with an implement, grinding, that are traditionally considered typical for a later time, and nowhere in the world, they were used so early, in the paleolithic era. 

‘At first, we connected the finds with a progressive form of the modern human, and now it turned out that this was fundamentally wrong.

‘Obviously it was Denisovans, who left these things.’

The Russian scientists say they examined the idea that the bracelet could have been buried underground in the cave by a later generation, perhaps in Neolithic times. But they say the soil around the bracelet was ‘uncontaminated by human interference from a later period’.

The soil around the bracelet was also dated using oxygen isotopic analysis. Redating of the bracelet would also mean a needle now held to be 50,000 years old is also even more ancient. The needle is also seen as the work of Denisovans. 

Evidence for prehistoric human dismemberment found at Carrowkeel, Ireland

Evidence for prehistoric human dismemberment found at Carrowkeel, Ireland

The ancient people of Ireland have provided new insights into the death rites. And they’re a bit disgusting. A little disgusting. The New Zealand University of Otago ‘s Anatomy Department has studied ancient Irish funerals. The results were published in the Bioarchaeology International journal.

Dr. Jonny Geber, the lead author of the new paper, focuses on the Passage Tomb Complex, which is 5,000 years old at Carrowkeel in County Sligo in northwestern Ireland.

This place is one of Europe’s most remarkable ritual landscapes. But despite that, is relatively unknown.

Cairn K – Part of a 5000-year-old Passage Tomb Complex at Carrowkeel in County Sligo in the north-west of Ireland. This site is one of the most impressive Neolithic ritual landscapes in Europe, but despite that, is relatively unknown.

The research team analyzed bones from up to seven passage tombs that included both unburnt and cremated human remains from around 40 individuals. Much remains unknown about these Stone Age people.

Dr. Geber says he and his colleagues determined that the unburnt bone displayed evidence of dismemberment.

“We found indications of cut marks caused by stone tools at the site of tendon and ligament attachments around the major joints, such as the shoulder, elbow, hip, and ankle,” he says.

Cut marks on some of the human remains which were discovered at Carrowkeel Cut marks, marked in white (above) and magnified (below), observed on a left humerus (upper arm) from Cairn K (a), the ilium of a left coxae (part of the pelvis) from Cairn K (b), and a right femur (upper leg) from Cairn K (c)
One of the 18 boxes re-discovered in the Duckworth Laboratory at the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, University of Cambridge, England.

Dr. Geber says the new evidence suggests that a complex burial rite was undertaken at Carrowkeel, which involved a funerary rite that placed a particular focus on the “deconstruction” of the body.

“This appears to entail the bodies of the dead being ‘processed’ by their kin and community in various ways, including cremation and dismemberment.

It was probably done with the goal to help the souls of the dead to reach the next stages of their existence.”

This study has been able to show that the Carrowkeel complex was most likely a highly significant place in Neolithic society in Ireland and one which allowed for interaction and a spiritual connection with the ancestors.

The evidence suggests that the people of Neolithic Ireland may have shared similar beliefs and ideologies concerning the treatment of the dead with communities beyond the Irish Sea, according to the researchers, Dr. Geber says.

So if an Irish relative proposes dismembering you after death, don’t be offended, they are just following original Irish burial rites. Ick!

Newly discovered Kazakhstan pyramid may be older than certain Egyptian pyramids

Newly discovered Kazakhstan pyramid may be older than certain Egyptian pyramids

Recently, archeologists in Kazakhstan have unearthed a pyramid-shaped mausoleum about 3,000 years old which makes it older than certain, but not all, pyramids of Egypt.

In the Sary-Arka area close to the city of Karaganda the extraordinary discovery was made, and the team said it was likely built for an ancient king or clan leader.

“Judging by the monumental construction, this mausoleum was built more than 3,000 years ago for a local king,” team member Viktor Novozhenov, from Karaganda State University, told Yahoo News.

“We are going to look inside the mausoleum this week. Everything that we find inside will be sent to the Karaganda Archaeological Museum.”

The team – led by Igor Kukushkin from Karaganda State University – is still in the process of excavating the site, but so far it seems to have been built for a similar purpose as the Egyptian pyramids, with the archaeologists coming across a mausoleum inside the structure.

They say that the mausoleum is about 2 meters (6.6 feet) tall and 15 by 14 meters (49 by 46 feet) long, making it quite small for a pyramid.

“It’s made from stone, earth, and fortified by slabs in the outer side,” Novozhenov told Owen Jarus from Live Science.

The structure of the pyramid is unique as well. Instead of coming to a point like the Great Pyramid of Giza, the newly found structure consists of six stepped layers with a flat top, making it more like a stepped rectangle rather than a true pyramid shape.

Inside, the team found that the pyramid’s burial chamber was likely robbed long ago, leaving only pottery, a knife, and a few bronze objects. There’s no word as yet on whether or not there were human remains buried there.

Going on early evidence, the structure was likely built more than 3,000 years ago, around the time of the Late Bronze Age. But it’s not – despite what some outlets have claimed – the oldest pyramid ever found.

In fact, the Pyramid of Djoser in Sakkara, Egypt, was built about 1,000 years earlier, between 2667 and 2648 BC.

The Great Pyramid of Giza was built around 100 years later, making it older than this new Kazakhstan pyramid – although it will take more time for the team to accurately come up with a date of construction.

Even so, the find is exciting because it will likely shine new light on the Begazy-Dandybai culture that lived in central Kazakhstan.

Researchers already know that mausoleums like the one recently found were reserved for those of high social status – likely kings or clan leaders – but other than that the society remains mysterious.

The team is still excavating the site, so their work has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and it will likely be a while before we can delve into their full findings. But it’s nice to know that there’s a new mystery to explore in the world.

Evidence of Iron Age temples uncovered at Navan Fort

Evidence of Iron Age temples uncovered at Navan Fort

During an examination of the Navan Forts in Co Armagh, Queen’s boffins uncovered evidence of a huge temple complex. The discovery at Ulster’s mythical capital, known as Emain Macha, could date back as far as the Iron Age.

The research was worked together by scholars from Queen’s, the University of Aberdeen, and the German Archaeological Institute, Frankfurt.

They believe it evidences a vast temple complex and ceremonial center of prehistoric Europe, as well as the first evidence of continued medieval activity when Navan Fort was associated with the kingship of Ulster.

Dr Patrick Gleeson, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the School of Natural and Built Environment at Queen’s, said: “Excavation in the 1960s uncovered one of the most spectacular series of buildings of any region of prehistoric Europe, including a series of figure-of-8 buildings of the Early Iron Age and a 40m timber-ringed structure constructed c.95 BC.

“Upon the latter’s construction, it was immediately filled with stones and burnt to the ground in order to create a massive mound that now dominates the site.

“Our discoveries add significant additional data, hinting that the buildings uncovered in the 1960s were not domestic structures lived in by kings, but a series of massive temples, some of the largest and most complex ritual arena of any region of later prehistoric and pre-Roman Northern Europe.”

The survey’s findings will be published in the Oxford Journey of Archaeology.

Navan Fort was one of Ireland’s so-called Royal sites – a group of five ceremonial centers of prehistoric origins that were documented in medieval times as the capitals of the five fifths that divided Ireland.

It is hoped this work to uncover what was once at Navan will “add rich discoveries to the iconic site of Navan Fort”.

But these efforts, which are part of the Comparative Kingship project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and supported by Historic Environment Division of the Department of Communities, are in their initial stages.

Dr. John O’Keeffe, Principal Inspector of Historic Monuments in the Department for Communities, said: “We were pleased to facilitate the survey work at Navan Fort, which is owned by the Department for Communities and is one of 190 State Care Monuments in Northern Ireland managed by the Department for Communities.

“The work has shone new light on the monument and will inform further research as we explore what Navan Fort meant to our forebears and how they used the site, for years to come.

“It provides additional insights that inform visits to this enigmatic monument and landscape today.”

Navan Fort is one of Ireland’s most ancient landscapes because it is the seat of legendary kings, like Chonchobhar and mac Nessa, and provides the backdrop to the exploits of warriors like Cú Chulainn, Conal Cernach and others in the great epic saga Táin Bó Cuailainge, or the Cattle Raid of Colley.

In addition to identifying residences of early medieval kings of Ulster, activity at Navan Fort is contemporary with the foundation of Armagh by St Patrick only 1km to the east. Some of the buildings uncovered are likely to be identifiable with the house built by Níall ÓG Ua Neill for all the poets of Ireland in 1387.

It also appears that activity continued at Navan after the coming of Christianity and the foundation of Armagh, the primatial see of the Church in Ireland, is particularly significant.