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Hidden chambers may exist in Newgrange

As a new survey begins in Meath, we take a look at four other archaeological sites where unexpected discoveries have been made…

Newgrange, Co Meath
Newgrange, Co Meath
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEY is being carried out at Newgrange in order to establish whether any hidden passageways or chambers exist at the site.

A survey team of Irish and Slovakian archaeologists will employ some techniques never before used at archaeological sites in Ireland.

One such method, the microgravity survey technique, has already been used “very successfully” at the pyramids in Egypt to identify the locations of passages and chambers, according to the project organisers.

Newgrange, located in the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site in Co Meath, was constructed more than 5,000 years ago – making it older than both Stongehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza.

In light of the goings-on in Meath, we’ve taken a look at some other sites of archaeological significance which have unearthed unexpected gems…

Egypt

It is believed that the Great Pyramid of Giza could contain at least one chamber that has never been opened, following the discovery of a new door in the northern shaft of the building at the beginning of this century.

The door, which bears two copper handles, is found at the end of a tortuous and extremely narrow passage – and proved to be inaccessible by anything but a specially-designed robot.

Italy

The city of Pompeii, which was buried in a massive explosion from Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, has gradually revealed the details of the everyday lives of ancient Romans over a number of centuries.

The first part of the buried city was unearthed in 1599, although nothing came of the discovery at the time. It was then discovered once more in 1748, with proper excavations beginning in 1764. Frescoes, pots and personal effects have been uncovered in the town – as have the last terrified moments of the town’s residents: depressions in the rock were filled with plaster by archaeologists to reveal where bodies fell.

South Africa

The Blombos cave on the Southern Cape coast of South Africa has been the site of a great deal of excavation, however the discovery of a 100,000-year-old “cosmetic toolkit” in 2008 shed new light ancient beauty rituals of the area’s earliest humans.

The find, which included tools for grinding a red powder, showed that “people were capable of advanced thought at least 20,000 years earlier than was previously believed,” according to team member Dr Karen van Niekerk, reports the Mail & Guardian.

Turkey

Archaeologists working at the site of the ancient city of Rhodiapolis - in present Antalya, Turkey – uncovered a series of Tombs from the Lycian era earlier this month.

The Lycian cemetery complex is thought to date, roughly, to 300 BC and to be part of a series of tombs that surrounded a larger necropolis, World Bulletin reports.

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