When a local famer was conducting land improvement work in the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland, he stumbled upon an ancient tomb that archaeologists have described as being “untouched”, “highly unusual”, and a “significant” find.
After a big stone slab was turned over, that’s when the farmer found a slab-lined chamber underneath it. Upon further inspection, there was a sub-chamber located off of it which is believed to be the front part of the tomb. So far, a very smooth oval-shaped stone as well as what appeared to be a human bone have been found. It is believed that the tomb dates back at least to the Bronze Age (between 2000 BC and 500 BC) and could possibly be even older than that.
Archaeologists from the National Monuments Service and the National Museum of Ireland went to the location in order to perform the first survey of the area. While it is thought to be a Bronze Age tomb, there are several notable features that have archaeologists thinking it may be older as Mícheál Ó Coileáin explained, “But the design of this particular tomb is not like any of the other Bronze Age burial sites we have here.” “This is a highly unusual tomb. It’s possible that it’s earlier but it’s very difficult at this early stage to date it.”
Dr. Breandán Ó Cíobháin, who is an archaeologist and place names expert, went into further details on the significance of the discovery, “This tomb appears to be completely untouched and in its original state and contains human remains.” “That is very rare. It is an extremely significant find as the original structure has been preserved and not interfered with, as may have occurred in the case of other uncovered tomb.”
He went on to describe how the tomb’s layout may provide very important details, “In the south-west of Ireland we have a significant number of wedge tombs, in Cork and Kerry in particular.” “The majority are generally orientated to the west and south-west. It is not clear why but it may represent celestial or lunar alignments.” He added that this particular tomb in the Dingle Peninsula is different from the others, “Wedge tombs are usually visible above ground, this one is completely concealed.” “It is very well built and a lot of effort has gone into putting the large cap stone over it. It’s not a stone that was just found in the ground. It seems to have some significance.” He said that it could have been a ritual site with a burial.
He added that since the tomb is underground and hasn’t been fully explored yet, it’s hard to confirm its layout.
Authorities have stated that they won’t be commenting any further on the discovery until a full survey of the site has been completed. Pictures of the tomb can be seen here.