|Some workmen were levelling a new road in Phoenix Park when they found four 'vases' containing half-burnt bones and ashes. Later, and presumably nearby, the older remains of a tomb were found: "--a large slab of limestone, as is was taken rough from the quarry, supported by six lesser stones, forming a cromlech... and surrounded on all sides by a quantity of lesser stones, evidently taken from the bed of the Liffey."
The President of the Royal Irish Academy was called to see it, and, "When the earth was removed... it was found to contain the skeletons of two human beings, nearly perfect, with the tops of the finera of another, and a single bone of an animal, supposed to be that of a dog...
One of the most remarkable circumstances was, that under the head of each body was found a quantity of shells common to our sea coast, the nerita littoralis, rubbed down on the valve with a stone to make a second hole, with a view to their being strung as a necklace, and the root of some tree or shrub was found stringing them together. There was a single shell, a troolius, also found, with the pearly covering on it as if it had been recently found on the sea shore..."
There was also a flint arrowhead and a 'fibula of bone, supposed to be the fastening of one of the necklaces'. The mound was originally an impressive 15 feet high.
(From the Freeman's Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser, May 25th 1838.)
The 'Handbook of Irish Antiquities' by W F Wakeman
unfortunately regrets that the stones "should be suffered to remain a prey to every wanderer in the Park desirous of possessing a "piece of the tomb," in order to shew it as a wonder..." - let's hope people have stopped chipping bits off.
Posted by Rhiannon
27th December 2008ce
Edited 27th December 2008ce