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The Explainer: How are we still making discoveries at Newgrange?

And why haven’t we dug the entire Boyne Valley up to find more?

NEWGRANGE IS ONE of Ireland’s most incredible sites.

It was constructed around 3200 BC but only uncovered by modern historians in the late 1700s. Despite it and the surrounding Brú na Bóinne complex being an area of intense historical interest, and having been studied now for hundreds of years, it is still revealing more and more discoveries.

New henges on the flood plain in front of Newgrange were spotted in drone footage and a massive new passage tomb was unearthed during construction work at Dowth Hall a short distance away.

Now we have more finds to pore over, after a team of archaeologists lead by UCD’s Dr Steve Davis uncovered around 40 previous unknown sites of interest around Newgrange, ranging from what appear to be Bronze Age burials to early medieval farmsteads.

This poses the question: How are we still making new discoveries around Newgrange?

In this week’s episode of The Explainer, presenter Sineád O’Carroll is joined in studio by editor of Archaeology Ireland Dr Sharon Greene, Dr Jessica Smyth of UCD’s School of Archaeology, and TheJournal.ie’s editor Susan Daly to examine why, including the new techniques that have led to recent discoveries and the roadblocks that archaeologists face when they want to examine a site in-depth.

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Source: The Explainer/SoundCloud

Find a full list of where the podcast is available here.

This episode was put together by presenter Sinéad O’Carroll, producer Aoife Barry, assistant producer and technical operator Nicky Ryan, and executive producer Christine Bohan. Design by Palash Somani.

One final note: If you want to find out more about archaeology in your area, read about recent excavations, or find out what that strange looking mound is down to the road, Sharon Greene recommends these websites for further reading: 

  • Archaeology Ireland magazine
  • Excavations.ie - a synopsis of excavations reports
  • HeritageMaps.ie – Map-based information on where excavations took place, the location of recorded monuments or where artifacts were discovered, as well as old maps.
  • DRI.ie - More of the above is available here
  • The TII Heritage Series - Transport Infrastructure Ireland has published a range of reports, as an awful lot of historical finds are made during road construction

About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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