Saturday, August 15, 2009

Irish Timber Circle Dates Back 4,000-5,000 Years

The BBC announced that ancient ritual circles were excavated in Ballygawley (in Northern Ireland) over 2006-2007. The circles were not of stone, but of timber--which is great, because timber can be dated. According to venerable radio-carbon techniques, the circles date to the middle of the third millenniums BC, and some parts of the circles may be even older.

A three-year-long project turned up the circle while excavating and clearing ground for improvements to the A4 and A5 roadways. Pottery and charcoal were also found, but we'll have to wait till next year to learn what those artifacts revealed.

The archaeologists say that two concentric rings of wood beams apparently replaced an earlier series of pits. There was a "monumental porch" on one side, presumably the entrance. The outer circle of timbers likely supported wattle or planked walls between them, so the inner circle was hidden from the view of outsiders.

Here's the story in the local paper. But the Best Presentation is here--a PowerPoint slide show of not only the Ballygawley site, but other archaeological sites along the roadway. Pictures, maps, aerial views, and drawings--all courtesy of the Killeeshil & Clonaneese Historical Society!

No comments: