Saturday, September 28, 2013


Details of the “first passage-tomb to be discovered in in Boyne Valley in 200 years” have been reported in the Sept 7 edition of the Meath Chronicle. It was discovered by the Heritage Council Funded ‘Boyne Valley Landscapes Project’, a collaborative research project led by researchers from University College Dublin (Dr Stephen Davis and Dr Will Megarry) and Dundalk Institute of Technology (Dr Conor Brady).

The newly discovered passage-tomb, on the floodplain of the Boyne southwest of Newgrange, had showed up in the lidar surface as a low rise, a mere 25cm high and 30m across, surrounded by a barely visible enclosure 130m in diameter. The site was originally designated LP2 (Low Profile) by the research team, but is now recorded as an embanked enclosure (the Irish equivalent to a henge monument), SMR no. ME019-094.

Geophysical survey using magnetic gradiometry and resistivity was then carried out, and confirmed the weakly defined outer enclosure in addition to a distinct passage/chamber arrangement, with the passage aligned towards the north-northeast on the Newgrange ridge.

Archaeologists have been excited about the central mound, which they said “appears to show a clear passage and chamber arrangement with splayed terminals at the NNE. The central mound is clearly identifiable and measures c. 30m in diameter. This strongly suggests that the feature represents a hitherto unknown passage tomb.”

The lidar survey also revealed a wealth of other new monuments and possible monuments (in excess of 65), including previously unrecorded embanked enclosures at Carranstown, Co. Meath and in Dowth townland.

With three henges/embanked enclosures and the remarkable images of the chamber and passage these discoveries rewrite the narrative of Brú na Bóinne, and demonstrate the huge potential of lidar in both archaeological prospection and landscape archaeology.


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