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Newly Discovered Prehistoric Art in the Boyne Valley

Date Released: 20 August 2013

Boyne Valley Stone find

The Archaeological Survey of Ireland recently received a report of a new exciting discovery in the Boyne Valley (Meath) from Cliadh O’Gibne of the National Boyne Currach Centre near Donore, County Meath. Cliadhbh was out in the river in his currach and discovered an isolated boulder with geometric carvings, lying along the riverbank near Broadboyne Bridge in the townland of Dollardstown. The boulder is roughly rectangular in shape and the decoration is largely confined to a series of five concentric arcs on the upper surface with three pocked lines running out from these and a single straight line that runs along the edge where the boulder has a tenon-like feature. The upper surface of the stone is roughly pocked.

Boyne Valley megalithic find people

In prehistoric Ireland stones were 'decorated' during two main periods, in the Neolithic on Passage Tombs and in the Early Bronze Age in the form of rock art. This new piece of megalith art could be the last remaining kerbstone of a destroyed tomb. The old mill beside it is known as ‘Carn mill’ which may indicate that there was a burial cairn formerly on the site. The find spot is less that 1km from a passage tomb at Ardmulchan where decorated stones were discovered in the 1970’s.

Leading megalithic art expert Dr. Elizabeth Shee-Twohig has commented that ’it looks like the rock art on boulders round Loughcrew, the curving arcs occur on one just below Cairn T, and the boulder to my eye looks very like the same type of sandstone erratic. On the other hand it could be a bit of megalithic art, given proximity to Ardmulchan’.

Boyne Valley Megalithic stone

There is no evidence for the specific recording of this stone previously; nevertheless John O'Donovan of the Ordnance Survey was interested in the Broadboyne area in the Nineteenth century and compared sites there with those in Bru na Boinne. In a letter written from Navan on 15th August 1836 he wrote "Now, let anyone skilled in the character and form of the pagan tombs of antiquity, view the ground at the south side of the Boyne opposite the place called Broad Boyne by those who speak English and Brugh na Boinne by the Irish in the western part of the County, and he cannot avoid the conclusion that the tumuli congregated there are the tombs of the pagan Monarchs of Ireland".