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Saturday 30 September 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# Drought
Another new archaeological discovery in the Boyne Valley has just come to light
After two years of work, a drone photograper has found the apparent remains of a barrow cemetery

Noel Meehan 1 Noel Meehan The triple ditch barrow with enclosures and barrow surrounding it. Noel Meehan

ANOTHER ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND has been photographed in the Boyne Valley – this time the outline of a possible barrow cemetery and ancient settlement.

It has been busy few weeks for the area around Newgrange, with two new potential henges found on the floodplains just a few hundred metres away from the well-known passage tomb, and an entirely new passage tomb uncovered in a long-term excavation near Dowth Hall.

This latest find comes from drone operator Noel Meehan of Copter View Ireland, who has been investigating a site near Duleek in Co Meath – on the opposite side of the Boyne to Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth – for two years.

Noel Meehan 4 Noel Meehan Noel Meehan

His work was based on previous excavations in the area which suggested that a settlement was likely to be found nearby, but its location remained unknown.

His initial searches months ago yielded some faint crop marks, which he photographed again in different conditions over the years.

Now, recent drought conditions have led to some of the most definitive outlines to date. A total of nine enclosures have been found.

Noel Meehan 2 Noel Meehan Noel Meehan

Like all archaeological finds, an excavation needs to takes place to confirm the findings, something which isn’t guaranteed. However, initial indications is that due to the size, shape, and formation of these findings, it is likely to be a barrow cemetery.

“It’s an incredible feeling to have found this,” Meehan told

His images show what appear to be barrows, an ancient burial site, and the outline of a potential settlement.

Noel Meehan 3 Noel Meehan The less defined settlement. Noel Meehan

In a Facebook post, archaeologist Neil Jackman of Abarta Heritage agreed that the circular features could be 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,” Jackman said.

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 years of agricultural work, the top layer has disappeared but the ditches faintly remain, he added.

Meehan, who is a licensed drone operator (you might have spotted his work before on, with his work featuring in the video report below), has reported his findings to the National Monuments Service. / YouTube

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