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

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Carrowkeel-Keshcorran Complex

Heartbreaking' damage done to Neolithic passage tomb

Damage done to an ancient Neolithic passage tomb in Co Sligo has been strongly condemned.

Photographer Ken Williams visited the site over the weekend and took photographs of words and shapes scratched into stones at the tomb which is over 5,000 years old.


The Deer Stone (Bullaun Stone)

'Lasting damage' done to Deer Stone in Glendalough

Lasting damage has been caused to the Deer Stone in Glendalough, Co Wicklow, in what appears to be an act of vandalism, according to Project Manager for Pat Reid.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Philip Boucher-Hayes, Mr Reid said he believes someone lit a fire on the stone, which caused the boulder it is carved into to crack.


Hill of Tara

‘The objective is to protect, conserve and promote an appreciation of the Hill of Tara’

There are “issues” affecting the Hill of Tara at the moment – traffic management, signage and interpretation, the erosion of visitor numbers through the site and their effect on the “very sensitive” earthworks which are injured by stud marks from people using the area as a training ground, the Chief State Archaeologist told Meath county councillors during a presentation on the Hill of Tara Conservation Plan to them at their February council meeting.

The meeting took place ahead of last week's act of vandalism on the site in which the Lia Fail was spraypainted with the word 'Fake'

Michael McDonagh said he didn’t know what Meath’s ambitions were for the All-Ireland but he DID know that it was an issue that would have to be dealt with. Also, at different times of the year there was difficulty with people camping out on the site.

The Hill of Tara means a lot of different things to many people, he said. To some it’s a very sacred place, to other people it’s a training ground, and to others it’s a place where they can let their dogs go free to do whatever dogs do. These were some of the challenges that must be faced in caring for the long-term future of the site.


Lia Fail (Standing Stone / Menhir)

Gardaí investigating after ancient Hill of Tara stone vandalised

Gardaí are investigating after graffiti was daubed on the ancient Lia Fail stone on the Hill of Tara earlier this week.

Locals walking the site were appalled to discover the words 'Fake' written on all sides of the 'Stone of Destiny' or 'Speaking Stone' which is believed to be over 5,000 years old.

The incident took place sometime between Monday evening and Tuesday morning. Spray paint was used to damage the stone, said to be a coronation stone for the High Kings of Ireland.

Gardaí in Navan have opened an investigation and are appealing for information. A spokesman said the stone was sprayed with graffiti sometime between Monday evening and Tuesday morning.


Loughcrew Complex

What to do with Loughcrew?... Ancient monument in need of protection for future generations

The National Monuments Service and Office of Public Works (OPW) have confirmed that work on developing a Conservation Management Plan for the Loughcrew site is to commence this year.

Loughcrew cairns, also known as the Hills of the Witch, are a group of Neolithic passage tombs near Oldcastle that are believed to be more than 5,000 years-old and could even pre-date the world heritage site at Newgrange.

Cairn T is one of the largest tombs in the complex and is aligned to sunrise at the spring and autumn equinoxes, when the sun lights up the chamber in a similar phenomenon to Newgrange. It has a cruciform chamber and a corbelled roof with some stunning examples of Neolithic art in Ireland.

However, concerns have been raised for some time over deterioration of the cairn and how best to preserve it.


Knockiveagh (Cairn(s))

Energy firm to fight notice over disputed wind turbine on site of Neolithic burial site KnockIveagh

Council wants structures removed from historic site which was also used for the coronation of early medieval kings
Ciaran O'Neill
December 11 2022 10:27 AM

A long-running dispute over the erection of a wind turbine at a historic site in Co Down has taken a new twist.

The turbine was erected on the top of Knock Iveagh near Rathfriland in 2017. Heritage campaigners were furious planning permission had been granted for the turbine on a 5,000-year-old Neolithic burial site which was also used for the coronation of early medieval kings.

It has now emerged the company which owns the turbine, Ayr Power Ltd, has been served with an enforcement notice by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council (ABC) to remove some of the structures associated with the turbine. If the structures are removed, it is understood the turbine would be unable to continue operating.

However, the Sunday Independent has learned Ayr Power Ltd has lodged an appeal against the order with the Planning Appeals Commission.


Press Concerning Knock Iveagh Campaign

A Google docs page with photos and various links about the campaign to preserve the Konckiveagh landscape:

Spain (Country)

Huge megalithic complex of more than 500 standing stones discovered in Spain

Archaeologists says prehistoric site in Huelva province could be one of largest of its kind in Europe

A huge megalithic complex of more than 500 standing stones has been discovered in southern Spain that could be one of the largest in Europe, archaeologists have said.

The stones were discovered on a plot of land in Huelva, a province flanking the southernmost part of Spain’s border with Portugal, near the Guadiana River.

Spanning about 600 hectares (1,500 acres), the land had been earmarked for an avocado plantation. Before granting the permit the regional authorities requested a survey in light of the site’s possible archaeological significance. The survey revealed the presence of the stones.



Bronze Age spearhead found at Cirencester sewage works

A rare Bronze Age spearhead has been found by workers while developing a wetland in Gloucestershire.

Experts discovered it at Cirencester Sewage Works, near South Cerney, earlier this year and on 10 May estimated it is about 3,500 years old.

Archaeologists said it appeared to be a family heirloom that was placed into a pit for a reason unknown.

Other items unearthed include a selection of prehistoric pottery fragments and flint tools.


Castilly Henge

Unknown stone circle found inside Cornwall Neolithic henge

A previously unknown stone circle has been found inside a Cornwall scheduled monument, a conservation group says.

The underground circle has been found inside Castilly Henge, near Bodmin, by Historic England (HE) and the Cornwall Archaeology Unit.

It was found during the site's first modern archaeological survey to better understand the area, HE said.

The site has now been fenced, allowing it to be grazed by animals without damaging the structure, it added.

The henge is one of 40 scheduled monuments protected by the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.


Callanish (Standing Stones)

Margaret Curtis obituary

Megalith enthusiast who did much to further understanding of the Calanais stone circle and other ancient sites of the Isle of Lewis

Mike Pitts

When Julian Cope, the musician and antiquary, met Margaret Curtis on the Isle of Lewis in the 1990s, he was impressed. Curtis, who has died aged 80, was a “living legend” and a “psychic queen”, said Cope, who filled him with “a real sense of awe”. He devoted a chapter in his bestselling 1998 book The Modern Antiquarian to her and to Calanais, one of the most extraordinary ancient monuments in Europe.

Near the Atlantic coast in the remote Outer Hebrides, Calanais (pronounced as in the anglicised spelling, Callanish) is a stone circle at the centre of five rows dating from around 3000BC. The tallest of nearly 50 megaliths is over five metres high, and all are made of a distinctive streaked gneiss that glows against stormy skies. Curtis did much to further understanding of this and other overlooked sites on Lewis, becoming the island’s unofficial archaeologist and sharing her enthusiasms with an appreciative visiting public.

She found many more stones under the peat as she walked the moorland, probing with a metal bar. One, at Calanais itself, was re-erected in 1982, and she spotted the broken tip of another in a wall.

Archaeologists sometimes followed up her suggestions. Patrick Ashmore, who led excavations at Calanais for what is now Historic Scotland in the 1980s, praised the fieldwork and record-keeping of Curtis and each of her two husbands. On one occasion, quartz pieces she found when a road near her house was straightened led to the discovery of a bronze age burial cairn.


Ness of Brodgar (Ancient Village / Settlement / Misc. Earthwork)

‘Every year it astounds us’: the Orkney dig uncovering Britain’s stone age culture

Archaeologists excavating the windswept Ness of Brodgar are unearthing a treasure trove of neolithic villages, tombs, weapons and mysterious religious artefacts, some to be displayed in a blockbuster exhibition

If you happen to imagine that there’s not much left to discover of Britain’s stone age, or that its relics consist of hard-to-love postholes and scraps of bones, then you need to find your way to Orkney, that scatter of islands off Scotland’s north-east coast. On the archipelago’s Mainland, out towards the windswept west coast with its wave-battered cliffs, you will come to the Ness of Brodgar, an isthmus separating a pair of sparkling lochs, one of saltwater and one of freshwater. Just before the way narrows you’ll see the Stones of Stenness rising up before you. This ancient stone circle’s monoliths were once more numerous, but they remain elegant and imposing. Like a gateway into a liminal world of theatricality and magic, they lead the eye to another, even larger neolithic monument beyond the isthmus, elevated in the landscape as if on a stage. This is the Ring of Brodgar, its sharply individuated stones like giant dancers arrested mid-step – as local legend, indeed, has it.


France (Country)

Evidence of Europe’s first Homo sapiens found in French cave

Stone artefacts and tooth pre-date the earliest known evidence of the species in Europe by more than 10,000 years.

Archaeologists have found evidence that Europe’s first Homo sapiens lived briefly in a rock shelter in southern France — before mysteriously vanishing.

A study published on 9 February in Science Advances1 argues that distinctive stone tools and a lone child’s tooth were left by Homo sapiens during a short stay, some 54,000 years ago — and not by Neanderthals, who lived in the rock shelter for thousands of years before and after that time.

The Homo sapiens occupation, which researchers estimate lasted for just a few decades, pre-dates the previous earliest known evidence of the species in Europe by around 10,000 years.

But some researchers are not so sure that the stone tools or tooth were left by Homo sapiens. “I find the evidence less than convincing,” says William Banks, a palaeolithic archaeologist at the French national research agency CNRS and the University of Bordeaux.


Carrickgollogan (Wedge Tomb)

4,500-year-old Neolithic tomb collapses in South Dublin

The dolmen, located in Shankill, appears to have collapsed in late 2021.

A WEDGE TOMB located in Shankill, Co Dublin that is over 4,500 years old has collapsed.

The tomb, which dates back to the Neolithic period before the start of the Bronze Age, appears to have collapsed in late 2021, with photos showing the capstone having fallen in.

The tomb itself is located on farmland in Shankill, and is known as the Carrickgollogan wedge tomb.

Andrew Bambrick, who runs a heritage conservation community, says that the capstone appears had fallen in between the two supporting stones, and that it was sad to see it like this.

“It’s sad, it’s been in the country for over 4,500 years and it’s collapsed,” said Bambrick.

Photos taken of the monument in early 2021 show it surrounded by fencing and overgrown with brambles.

In more recent photos, there are fewer brambles surrounding the tomb, but the capstone has collapsed inwards.

Bambrick says that while wedge tombs have collapsed in the past, it is usually due to factors like tree roots displacing the tomb and over long periods of time, erosion.

Bambrick says that he has reported the collapse to the National Monument Service, but had yet to receive a response.


Hazleton Long Barrows

World’s oldest family tree revealed in 5,700-year-old Cotswolds tomb

DNA analysis of bodies in Hazleton North long cairn finds five generations of an extended family

An analysis of DNA from a 5,700-year-old tomb has revealed the world’s oldest family tree, shedding “extraordinary” light on the importance of family and descent among people who were some of Britain’s first farmers.

A research team has examined the bones and teeth of 35 people in one of Britain’s best preserved neolithic tombs, near the village of Hazleton in the Cotswolds. The results, said Dr Chris Fowler of Newcastle University, are nothing short of “astounding”.

The researchers have discovered that 27 were biological relatives from five continuous generations of a single extended family. The majority were descended from four women who all had children with the same man.

“It tells us that descent was important,” said Fowler. “When they were building these tombs and deciding who to include in them, certainly in this case, they were selecting people who were close relatives of the people who were first buried there. They have this close connection to their immediate ancestors and that extends over several generations.

“Family was important and you can see that with the inclusion of some very young children in the tomb as well.”



Knowth archaeologist Prof George Eogan dies aged 91

Meath man and UCD professor well known for his research of passage tomb builders

George Eogan, who was widely seen as one of the leading archaeologists of his generation, has died aged 91.

Professor emeritus of celtic archaeology at University College Dublin (UCD), he had a particular interest in the Neolithic and Late Bronze Age studies and was the director of the Knowth excavations for more than 40 years.

He was well known for researching the passage tomb builders of Ireland and Western Europe and authored and co-authored volumes of the Excavations at Knowth series as well as several other books.

He died on Thursday at Our Lady’s Hospice following what his family described as a long and happy life.

In a tribute, the UCD School of Archaeology said Prof Eogan’s contribution to his field and to people’s understanding of Ireland’s past was immeasurable.

Having begun his academic pursuits with a PhD on late bronze age swords, Prof Eogan would go on to lead activities at Knowth for decades.

“He used his extensive international travels and decades of connections with museums to develop a unique understanding and insights into the things of Bronze Age Europe in particular,” his former university said.


Hembury Castle (Hillfort)

An incredibly rare chance to buy your own Iron Age hillfort –

- with ‘significant archaeological, conservational and ecological value’

Lydia Stangroom

October 22, 2021

Your eyes do not deceive you. Upon first glance, the ancient monument known as Hembury Fort Cross could well be mistaken as just a verdant hilly slope coated in trees. However, there's a lot more to it than first meets the eye.

Granted, buyers searching specifically for an Iron Age hillfort may be scarce. Maybe you didn’t even know you were a buyer searching specifically for an Iron Age hillfort until now. Maybe you didn’t know what a hillfort (or ‘hill fort’ if you prefer— both terms are used) was until now; you wouldn’t be alone. Either way, Hembury Fort Cross is sure to cause intrigue.

It’s certainly not the normal sort of thing you’ll see on the property portals, not least because there is no form of dwelling included within the 38.8-acre area at Hembury Fort Cross, near Honiton, Devon, which is currently on the market via Savills at a guide price of £100,000. But digging a little deeper unearths a fascinating history.


County Cork

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

IRISH ARCHAEOLOGISTS have made an incredible discovery in Cork, having unearthed the foundations of a house from the Neolithic era.

The ancient house is believed to be 5,700 years old, and was likely the home of a family from one of the earliest farming communities to have settled in the south of Ireland.

The house, dating back to approximately 3,700 BC, was unearthed following recent excavations by archaeologists after Cork County Council began two road realignment projects between Mallow and Mitchelstown in north County Cork.


Trellyffant (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Trellyffaint: Proof unearthed of Neolithic dairy farming in Pembrokeshire

Dairy farming could have been happening in Wales as early as 3,100BC, according to new research.

Shards of decorated pottery taken from the Trellyffaint Neolithic monument near Newport, Pembrokeshire, were found to contain dairy fat residue.

The residue could only originate from milk-based substances such as butter, cheese, or more probably yoghurt.

George Nash, of the Welsh Rock Art Organisation, said it was the earliest proof of dairy farming in Wales.


Spain (Country)

Neanderthal markings in Spain suggest cave art, study says

Red markings on a stalagmite dome in a cave system in southern Spain were created by Neanderthals more than 60,000 years ago, a new study says.

The staining was applied by a process of splattering and blowing about 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe, the research suggests.

An earlier study attributing the markings to the extinct cousins of modern humans was questioned.

Some experts argued the staining in the Cueva de Ardales occurred naturally.

But a new study published in the journal PNAS supports the view that the red ochre pigments discovered in three caves in the Iberian Peninsula are a form of Neanderthal cave art.

It states that the deposits stand out from other natural materials sampled in the caves because of their unusual colours and textures.

Showing 1-20 of 98 news posts. Most recent first | Next 20
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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