Remains of ‘Lost’ Bronze Age Tomb Uncovered in Ireland

The remains of a bronze age tomb were discovered along the Atlantic coast in County Kerry, Ireland. It was previously believed that the tomb had been destroyed.

Located on a hill outside of the village Ballyferriter on the Dingle peninsula, the sun altar, or Altóir na Gréine as the locals call it, was constructed about 4,000 years ago before it suddenly vanished in the mid-19th century.

The monument had been sketched by English aristocrat Georgiana Chatterton in 1838. Fourteen years later, however, antiquarian Richard Hitchcock reported that the altar was broken and subsequently taken from the site.

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While recently filming the site as part of an archaeological mapping project, folklorist Billy Mag Fhloinn recorded a stone in the undergrowth as he converted the video into a 3D scan. It looks reminiscent of one from Chatterton’s Victorian-era sketch.

After sending the material to the National Monuments Service in Dublin, archaeologist Caimin O’Brien confirmed the stone once belonged to a wedge tomb dating to the early Bronze age between 2500–2000 BCE. Wedge tombs were used by bronze age peoples for both ceremonies and the burial of bodies.

A quarter of the original tomb, including a capstone and several large upright stones, remain at the site, the Guardian reported. Now that remnants have been discovered, the tomb will be added to Ireland’s national monument database where it will join hundreds of similar structures.

It is still unclear why the tomb was dismantled.

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