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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019

Recent drought led to archaeological discovery of circular enclosure near Newgrange

Anthony Murphy, founder of Mythical Ireland, made the discovery when flying drones in the Brú na Bóinne area yesterday evening.

Image: Anthony Murphy via Mythical Irelans

A LARGE CIRCULAR enclosure, or henge, has been revealed near the UNESCO World Heritage Site close to Newgrange in Co Meath.

Anthony Murphy, founder of Mythical Ireland, made the discovery when flying drones in the Brú na Bóinne area yesterday evening with photographer Ken Williams.

The dry weather conditions are believed to be behind the find.

Speaking to Murphy said, “This is a once in a lifetime kind of thing.”

He explained that the features shown in the images – post holes and pits – retain trace moisture better than the rest of the soil so the crop grows at a better rate and therefore you see a greener healthier plant among the drier plant when there is a drought and you can then see the image on the top.

The henge could have been built 500 years after Newgrange, which dates from 3,000 BC.

Murphy said “only aerial imagery would reveal that kind of thing” and added that the last drought of this magnitude was in 1976, before drones were around, and an expensive aerial operation would have been needed to capture such images.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht described the find as “very significant”.

Speaking about the discovery, Murphy said: “To say I was absolutely gobsmacked, amazed and delighted is an understatement.

If these turn out to be substantial discoveries, then I would be nothing short of utterly elated, chuffed and excited.

The National Monuments Service at the department was made aware of the discovery yesterday evening.

Further technical work will now be carried out to help determine the nature of the site.

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