The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

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Moneylahan (Court Tomb) — Images (click to view fullsize)

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Magheraghanrush (Court Tomb) — Images

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Dinas Dinlle (Cliff Fort) — News

Dinas Dinlle dig uncovers Iron Age roundhouse and Roman coins

A huge Iron Age roundhouse, thought to be about 2,500 years old, and roman pottery have been uncovered during an archaeological dig at a coastal fort.

Volunteers have joined experts to find out more about the little-known Dinas Dinlle National Trust-owned monument in Gwynedd before it falls into the sea.

The 43ft (13m) wide roundhouse was buried by coastal sand, thought to have blown there during a sandstorm in 1330.

Coins found at the fort near Caernarfon suggest it was occupied in Roman times.

The "well-preserved" roundhouse - with its 8ft (2.5m) thick walls - was uncovered close to the cliff edge buried underneath 3ft (1m) of sand during a two-week dig.


Abbeyquarter North (Passage Grave) — Images

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Union (Passage Grave) — Images

<b>Union</b>Posted by ryaner

Union (Passage Grave) — Miscellaneous


Class: Megalithic tomb - passage tomb

Townland: UNION

Scheduled for inclusion in the next revision of the RMP: Yes

Description: Sited alongside a trackway in extensive woodland in a gap in the Ox Mountains 0.7km NW of Ballygawley Lough. There are a number of mature deciduous trees on the site and the stumps of others. To N and W the ground drops quite sharply to a stream that flows NW-SE. Trees inhibit the outlook from the site but Maeve's cairn on Knocknarea is visible to the NNW. A ring of boulders (19.5m N-S, 17.5m E-W) encompasses a slight platform. There are a number of gaps in the ring of boulders but the indications are that they were contiguously placed. Among the numerous gaps are two that may be original features, one at the SE (Wth 1.3m) and another at the NW (Wth 1.1m). A number of prostrate boulders outside the perimeter may be displaced. Some of the boulders encircling the platform are quite sizeable (the largest is 0.95m x 0.85m x 1.15m high) but others are noticeably smaller. The tops of at least three stones are visible about 3m inside the perimeter at the W. The status of these is quite unclear but their presence suggests that there may have been an inner ring of stones. Somewhat to the W of the centre of the enclosed area four stones lie prostrate. The larger two are about 1.6m and 1.4m in maximum dimensions. These may represent some form of internal feature. The nature of the site is somewhat uncertain but it may be a Carrowmore-type passage tomb. It is indicated as a small oval field on the 1913 OS 6-inch map. Some 100m to the W there is another possible passage tomb (SL020-275----).

The above description is derived from the published 'Archaeological Inventory of County Sligo' compiled by Ursula Egan, Elizabeth Byrne, Mary Sleeman with Sheila Ronan and Connie Murphy (Dublin Stationery Office, 2005).

Date of upload: 18 January 2008

Union (Passage Grave) — Images

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Ballydawley (Stone Row / Alignment) — Images

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Ballydawley (Crannog) — Images

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Slieve Gullion - North Cairn (Passage Grave) — Images

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Callaigh Berra's Lough — Images

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Callaigh Berra's House (Passage Grave) — Images

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Eshwary (Court Tomb) — Images

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Scurlocksbush (Bullaun Stone) — Images

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Ballybrack (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech) — Images

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Boyne Valley Complex — News

Unknown monuments identified close to Newgrange in 'exceptionally successful' survey

Around 40 previously unknown monuments have been identified in the Brú na Bóinne area close to Newgrange as a result of what a leading archaeologist says was an “exceptionally successful” survey.

Dr Steve Davis of the UCD School of Archaeology, who has worked for over a decade on the Brú na Bóinne landscape, said the monuments appear to range from what are most likely early Neolithic houses to Neolithic timber enclosures as well as Bronze Age burial monuments and some early medieval farmsteads.

The area surveyed included locations both sides of the Boyne, within the bend of the Boyne and across from the megalithic tombs at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.


Magheracar (Passage Grave) — Miscellaneous

Culled from

1986 Excavation
The monument, an undifferentiated passage tomb in a semi-circular kerbed mound, is at the edge of a sea-cliff, 5m high. The kerbed mound, 20m in diameter E-W, was assuredly originally circular, its northern half now lost to the sea. The tomb, facing SF, is 4.5m long and scarcely more than 1m wide, and stands 2.5m inside the eastern edge of the kerb. Prior to excavation, its N side and back survived intact, but only two stones (one broken) of its S side.

Within the tomb, 0.5m from the front, a sill-stone was visible. Because of its proximity to the cliff edge, about 0.2m at one point, the tomb is under threat and so an excavation, at the request of, and funded by, the National Monuments Branch of the Office of Public Works, was undertaken at the site over a five week period during September and October 1986.

The excavation was largely confined to an area 4m wide extending eastwards from the back of the chamber to and beyond the kerb. The grass-grown mound, which extends for some 5m outside the kerb, is made up of earth and stones, some quite sizeable.

A large kerbstone directly in line with the tomb is positioned slightly inside the circumference described by its fellows, and at either side, as if to highlight it, are two smaller stones. The kerbstones are rounded or oval in shape, the latter type set with a long side on the ground, and, where necessary to prevent toppling, supported by small rounded beach stones. Almost the entire tomb area was excavated, revealing, in addition to the sill-stone visible before excavation, two others between it and the back of the tomb, while across the front of the tomb two stones set side by side formed a double sill. The sills divide the tomb into four compartments, from the front approximately 0.5m, 1m, 1m and 1.8m in length. A large stone with smaller stones alongside served as a floor covering in the second compartment from the front. Between the kerb and the front of the tomb, stones had been laid flat on the ground to form what appears to be a pavement. A considerable quantity of fragmented bones, some pieces with charcoal attached, was found in the tomb. The bones were dispersed throughout the earthen fill and extended under the bases of the sills and in the case of the two inner compartments to the level of the uneven underlying rock. Objects found include a small number of flint scrapers, some pieces of chert, some small sherds of prehistoric pottery, three fragments of a single stone bead found close together, a broken length of bone bearing concentric semicircular scores, a possible decorated pin, and a miniature stone axe-head, 5cm long.

Eamon Cody, Ordnance Survey, Dublin

1987 Excavation
A second and final season's excavation was undertaken at this site over a six-week period during September-October 1987. The work was carried out at the request of the National Monuments Branch of the O.P.W. who also funded it. The monument is an undifferentiated passage tomb standing towards the eastern side of a kerbed cairn sited on a sea-cliff. The cairn measures 20m east-west but only 10m north-south as its northern half has been lost to the sea. Three cuttings were made in the cairn and, in addition, excavation of the tomb area (the focus of the 1986 season's work see Excavations 1987) was completed. A cutting, 19m long, was made from the back of the tomb to the west along the cliff edge and was continued for 8m beyond the kerb. The other two cuttings, parallel to each other and 4m apart, both 2m wide, ran approximately north-south. The more westerly of these was 10m long and extended inwards for 4m and outwards for 6m from the kerb, while the other, 12m long, extended inwards for 4m and outwards for 7m. Both of these cuttings crossed a grass-grown trackway that runs east-west just outside the kerb at the south side of the cairn. This trackway had been formed by a levelling of the extra-revetment material. At the west and south sides of the cairn two kerb-stones and parts of two others were exposed. These form part of a contiguously laid setting of large blocks of local stone.
The cairn body, under a sod cover some 0.15m thick, is of stones and intermixed loose brown earth to a depth of some 0.5m. The stones in its upper 0. lm are small and do not exceed Olin in maximum dimension while below them there are large slabs as much as 1J.8m across and 0.2m thick along with occasional water-rolled boulders. Under the cairn there is a compact layer, on average 50mm thick, of sticky earth, brown to blue-grey in colour, with small stones. This layer contained flecks of charcoal and occasional fire-reddened stones, reflecting pre-cairn activity. Finds made were confined to this layer and consist largely of waste flakes of flint and other stone. One of the few recognisable types is a leaf-shaped flint arrowhead, 30mm long.
Eamon Cody, Ordnance Survey, Dublin

Excavation licence number 00E0544
The two proposed houses were located to the west of Bundoran, in the townland of Magheracar, Co. Donegal. Both sites are close to an existing dwelling. The first was within the walled paddock to the west of an old house, and the second was a replacement to existing outbuildings to the north of the older structure. Owing to the presence of four significant archaeological sites in the vicinity, a passage tomb, a wedge tomb and the sites of two standing stones, the surrounding ground has been scheduled by Dúchas The Heritage Service.
The testing of the two proposed sites uncovered nothing of archaeological significance. Indeed, it proved that previous groundworks in the paddock field and scarping in the yard to the north of the existing house had removed all archaeology in these specific areas. In the paddock, the over-deepened soils at the southern end of the field allowed for the insertion of a closed sewerage system without the need to disturb subsoil. Other services were likewise brought to site without the requirement for any subsoil disturbance.
The second house, located in the yard to the rear of the existing cottage, was to be found on the footprint of existing outbuildings, the floor levels of which are lower than the severely scarped exterior ground. Sewerage will be via a pipe to an existing outflow, the route for which has been tested and found to be clear of all archaeological deposits. All other services will either use this cleared line or be above ground from the existing cottage.
The visual impact of the two houses on the nearby megaliths will be minimal, since both houses have been designed on a small scale, using traditional materials, and will ultimately form part of an existing cluster of traditional buildings. (Excavations Bulletin 2000)
Eoin Halpin, ADS Ltd, Unit 48, Westlink Enterprise Centre, 30-50 Distillery Street, Belfast BT12 5BJ.

Excavation licence number 00E0895
The proposed house is located to the west of Bundoran, in the townland of Magheracar, with existing dwellings to the south, west and north and access to a new development running along the east side. Owing to the presence of four archaeological sites in the vicinity, the surrounding ground has been scheduled by Dúchas The Heritage Service, which led to an archaeological condition for site testing being placed on the planning permission. A series of test-trenches was excavated covering the proposed foundations, driveway and service routes. Nothing of archaeological significance was uncovered.(Excavations Bulletin 2000)
Eoin Halpin, ADS Ltd, Unit 48 Westlink Enterprise Centre, 30-50 Distillery Street, Belfast BT12 5BJ.

Excavation licence number 01E0683
Testing, monitoring and excavation took place in advance of a twenty-house development at Magheracar, Bundoran, on the Leitrim/Donegal border. The proposed development site lies within an archaeological complex that includes a passage tomb, a wedge tomb and two standing stones. All of these monuments will be protected by the requisite buffer zones and will not be affected by the proposed development.
Geophysical surveying had revealed a number of anomalies that may indicate subsurface archaeological features. These were investigated through the manual excavation of four 20m by 20m areas. Two of these cuttings revealed possible archaeological features in the form of burnt areas and linear cut features. These cuttings were extended to discover the full extent of these features before excavation. At the same time, the remainder of the site was stripped of its topsoil, under supervision. Upon excavation, the cut features in Cutting C were interpreted as possible furrows of unknown date. There were no associated finds.
The burnt areas in Cutting D were further exposed and excavated, revealing a large corn-drying kiln with two flues. The kiln was stone-lined and exhibited evidence of extensive burning. One of the flues extended north outside the area of excavation, while the other extended southwards for a distance of almost 13m. No finds came from the kiln, although charcoal and bone samples may be able to provide a 14C date. The southern flue of the kiln cut a small pit, 0.2m deep, which contained a charcoal-stained fill and several large pieces of prehistoric pottery from at least four different vessels. They are likely to be Neolithic (some simple decoration is evident), but have yet to be examined by a pottery expert. The topsoil-stripping of the remainder of the site revealed two other areas of archaeological activity. An isolated collared urn filled with cremated material, completely intact and situated upright, was uncovered and barely missed by the machine. It was removed in a block of soil, relatively in one piece, and is in the process of being excavated in the lab by a conservator. Approximately 20m east of the urn, the remains of a circular stone platform were uncovered. Approximately 6m wide, this semicircle, comprising three concentric rings of flat stone slabs, was set in a low earth and stone mound. The northern half of this feature appears to have been removed without trace sometime in antiquity. Nothing was found within the circle or the mound except for two small blue glass beads and a few pieces of struck chert. A Bronze/Iron Age date for the feature is likely although its purpose has yet to be fully explored. A number of stray finds came from the topsoil across the site, most of which comprised struck chert and flint. A single hollow-based limestone arrowhead and a stone axe were included in the finds. (Excavations Bulletin 2001)
Christopher Read, North West Archaeological Services, Cloonfad Cottage, Cloonfad, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim.


1. Borlase, W.C. 1897 The Dolmens of Ireland, 3 vols. London. Chapman and Hall, London.
2. Fagan, B.K. 1845-8 Ordnance survey, Hill Drawing Antiquity Books. Ms. Books 1-25. Compiled 1845-8 by Thomas Fagan. National Archives.
3. Herity, M. 1974 Irish Passage Graves. Dublin. Irish University Press.
4. Holly, D. 1976 Megalithic monuments at Tullaghan. Journal of Cumann Seanchas Breifne (Breifne Historical Society) 5 (17), 121-39.
5. Killanin, M.M. and Duignan, M.V. 1962 Shell Guide to Ireland. London. Ebury Press.
6. Killanin, M.M. and Duignan, M.V. 1967 (2nd ed.) The Shell guide to Ireland. London. The Ebury Press.
7. Killanin, M.M. and Duignan, M.V. (3rd edition; revised and updated by Harbison, P.) 1989 The Shell Guide to Ireland. Dublin. Gill and Macmillan.
8. Lockwood, F.W. 1901 Some notes on the old Irish sweat houses at Assaroe, Ballyshannon, and Kinlough, Co. Leitrim, and on several rude stone monuments near Bundoran and Ballyshannon. Ulster Journal of Archaeology 2nd Series, 7, 82-92.
9. Ó Nualláin, S. 1989 Survey of the megalithic tombs of Ireland, vol. 5, Co. Sligo. Dublin. Stationery Office.
10. Wood-Martin, W.G. 1887-8 The rude stone monuments of Ireland, parts III to VIII. Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 18, 50-94, 118-59, 254-99, 367-81.

Parknabinnia, Commons North & Leana — Fieldnotes

There are 10 wedge tombs tombs in Parknabinnia townland, 7 of which are recorded in The Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland, along with 1 court tomb, 1 passage tomb, 5 cairns, 2 unclassified megalithic tombs/structures and 2 cists.

In the neighbouring townland of Leana there are 5 wedge tombs (2 of which are recorded in the Survey), 3 cairns and 1 unclassified megalithic structure. Further north in Commons North townland are 2 wedge tombs (both recorded in the Survey) and a cairn.

Alongside all of this have been found prehistoric farmsteads and enclosures, a true prehistoric landscape that when you're exploring around there you makes you wonder what more it has has to reveal.

This landscape deserves much more than a cursory visit, but as can be seen from what's written above, it doesn't give up its secrets easily. I've been here three times now, but like much of the Burren, I can't say I really know the place.

Baur South (Wedge Tomb) — Fieldnotes

This was confusing. So there are 3 wedge tombs in Baur South townland, one of which is recorded as Cl. 26 in the Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland, and there is one wedge tomb in Baur North townland, recorded as Cl 25.

The tomb with the co-ordinates of the main site here is one of those that is unrecorded in the Survey. It's the tomb that was visited by Carl, and by myself. I've uploaded two not-very good shots of it.

The tomb depicted here by Bogman, CianMcLiam and Megaman is Cl. 26., the tomb with mini-tomb within its chamber. I didn't make it to that one today, but I did make it to the small, ruined one that is at the bottom of the farmtrack that Carl mentions in his fieldnotes.

Baur North, which I've seen mistaken for the barn-side tomb, can also wait for another day.

Baur South (Wedge Tomb) — Images

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Baur South (Wedge Tomb) — Images

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Taxi-driving, graphic artist with a penchant for high hills and low boulders. Currently residing in Tallaght where I can escape to the wildernesses of Wicklow within 10 minutes.

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