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Archaeologists have found the remains of a previously unidentified Bronze Age tomb in County Kerry, Ireland.
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Archaeologists have found the remains of a previously unidentified Bronze Age tomb in County Kerry, Ireland.

Archaeologists have recently found the remains of a burial site from the Bronze Age in County Kerry, Ireland. This site was previously believed to have been destroyed and forgotten.

The sun altar, also called Altóir na Gréine, was located on a hill near the village of Ballyferriter on the Dingle peninsula for about 4,000 years until it disappeared in the 1800s.

1838 sketch drawing of wedge tomb by Lady Chatterton.

In 1838, Georgiana Chatterton, a noblewoman and adventurer from England, had visited the location and drawn a picture of the monument. However, 14 years later, Richard Hitchcock, an antiquarian, stated that it had been dismantled and taken away, likely for construction purposes.

As it happens, the tomb robbers were not as meticulous.

Billy Mag Fhloinn, a researcher of traditional stories and customs, is involved in a project to map archaeological sites. He recently went to the site and recorded footage. While creating a 3D scan of the video, he observed that a stone hidden in the plant life resembled one depicted in Lady Chatterton’s drawing from the Victorian era.

The individual sent the material to the National Monuments Service in Dublin. The service then sent archaeologist Caimin O’Brien to confirm that it was part of a wedge tomb from the early Bronze Age, dating back to 2500BC-2000BC.

On Thursday, Mag Fhloinn stated that a quarter of the original tomb consists of a capstone and multiple large upright stones known as orthostats. It was previously believed that the entire structure had been destroyed.

The burial site will be included in the list of national landmarks in the database.

Ireland contains numerous wedge-shaped tombs that were utilized by Bronze Age communities for burial and ceremonial purposes.

“According to Mag Fhloinn, many point in a west or south-west direction, possibly reflecting their larger cosmological beliefs tied to the setting sun.”

The individual responsible for the damage to the tomb and the reasoning behind it remain unknown. According to Mag Fhloinn, during the 19th century, there was a strong belief that destroying these types of sites would result in misfortune or calamity.

He is involved in a project mapping tombs for Sacred Heart University, an American school with a location in Dingle.

According to RTÉ, O’Brien stated that the rediscovery of the wedge tomb is important because it allows the archaeological community to study it and add it to the archaeological record.

“After more than 180 years, archaeologists have finally discovered the location of the tomb. This discovery will improve our knowledge of the distribution of wedge tombs.”

Tony Bergin, the head of the Kerry Archaeological and Historical Society, expressed enthusiasm about the finding.

“It has been hypothesized that this particular style of tomb is connected to a group of individuals who engaged in copper mining,” he stated. “There have also been comparisons drawn to similar tombs discovered in Brittany, France.”

Source: theguardian.com