Our planet continues to change due to the various forces falling under the blanket term of climate change. While this obviously poses challenges and threats the likes of which humanity hasn’t seen since perhaps the last Ice Age, there are a few positive effects that help lessen the blow of witnessing the beginning of a new, hot and decidedly wet era of human history.
As Earth changes around us, strange animal sightings are becoming more common in populated areas likely thanks to loss of habitat and food sources. Along those same lines, the melting Arctic and Antarctic sea ices are revealing new, untouched areas of the Earth possibly containing entirely new forms of life.
In the archaeological world, a rapidly changing Earth has meant that many ancient mysteries have begun to reveal themselves from below the ground or the bottom of the seas. The latest case comes out of Ireland’s Boyne Valley where a harsh drought has meant a sharp decline in native grass and scrub plants. With that ground-covering vegetation out of the way, historians conducting aerial drone photography in the area have been able to discover a mysterious ancient ringed structure lying literally right under their feet.
The structure appears to be composed of concentric rings, the largest of which is about 200 meters in diameter. Like other ancient henges, the rings are composed of post holes, implying that this was once some sort of walled enclosure. Anthony Murphy, founder of Mythical Ireland, says the discovery was a complete surprise to even the most seasoned local researchers:
We couldn’t believe it to be honest. It soon became apparent that were looking at something very very exciting. I was aware of the possibility that previously unrecorded things might show up, but I didn’t think they’d show up in the Boyne Valley because it’s been under intense scrutiny for the past few decades by archaeologists. Only because of the drought has it become visible.
The discovery was made not farm from Brú na Bóinne, or Boyne Valley tombs. The tombs are a UNESCO World Heritage site and date back some five or six thousand years.
Like other Neolithic monuments, the Boyne Valley site consists of burial mounds, henges, and earthworks. Its overall purpose or use remains a mystery, though many of the structures are believed to have been used for archaeoastronomical rituals or timekeeping.