PICTURES: Dry weather reveals possible Bronze Age cemetery and settlement in Co Meath

The National Monuments Service has been notified of a possible Bronze Age cemetery and settlement near Duleek in Co Meath.

If confirmed, it would be the latest in a series of new discoveries in the Boyne Valley as a direct result of the dry weather.

The most significant to date is the new henge at Newgrange which was found two weeks ago by Anthony Murphy of Mythical Ireland using a drone.

This latest crop mark was found by Noel Meehan of Copter View Aerial Productions, who said he has conducted aerial surveys of “the Boolies Little and Keenoge Townland” located just outside Duleek for the last two years.

Mr Meehan’s survey shows what appears to be nine enclosures in the fields in question.

He said: “My discovery of this site was inspired by an excavation conducted between 1929 and 1936 by Adole Mahr of an early Bronze Age cemetery at Keenoge which is approximately 800m from the location of my findings.”

He said he purchased a paper online by Charles Mount published on June 20, 1997, regarding the excavation which concluded that “It is likely that the Keenoge community lived close by the site of their cemetery”.

“The productivity of the land and the length of time the cemetery was used, about 760 years, suggest that this was a stable sedentary community and the wealth of grave goods suggests that they may have had a substantial settlement,” it said.

Someday this settlement may be located in the fields around Keenoge.”

In a Facebook post, Arbarta Heritage, an Irish company specialising in archaeology and history, said: “More exciting discoveries from the air this summer in Co Meath, this time by Copter View. These circular features look like they might be possible barrows.

“Barrows were the predominant funerary monuments in prehistory, and the burials placed in them were typically cremations. Though some barrows have been dated as far back as the Neolithic period, they more typically date to the Bronze Age and Iron Age.

“There is some variety of form. The most common type, known as the ‘ring barrow’, generally consists of an enclosing ditch and bank that surrounds a circular mound that usually contains a cremation.

“After generations of ploughing and agricultural activity, the banks and mound are probably long since ploughed away, leaving only the ditches left.”

It sad the ditches are very prominent in the photo by Copter View thanks to the long dry summer that has removed much of the moisture from the soil.

“As the ditches are deeper cut through the subsoil and are filled by soil of a different consistency, they have retained more moisture than the surroundings, and so appear as cropmarks,” it said,

Mr Meehan has reported his findings to the National Monuments Service.

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