It is believed that Navan was a pagan ceremonial site and was regarded as a sacred space. It features prominently in Irish mythology , especially in the tales of the Ulster Cycle.
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According to the Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology , "the [Eamhain Mhacha] of myth and legend is a far grander and mysterious place than archeological excavation supports". Navan Fort is the heart of the larger 'Navan complex', which also includes the ancient sites of Haughey's Fort an earlier hilltop enclosure , the King's Stables an artificial ritual pool and Loughnashade a natural lake that has yielded votive offerings. The name Eamhain Mhacha has been interpreted as " Macha 's twins" or "Macha's brooch", referring to a local goddess.
The second element refers to the goddess Macha, for whom nearby Armagh Ard Mhacha is also named. However, the overall meaning of the name is unclear. It has been interpreted as "Macha's twins" or "Macha's pair" possibly referring to the two features on the hilltop, or to Navan Fort and another nearby monument ,  or as "Macha's brooch " possibly referring to the shape of the monument. There are tales that try to explain how the name came about.
Others believe it refers to a place on the coast. It is on a low hill about 1.
The ditch is on the inside , suggesting the earthwork was symbolic rather than defensive. Inside the enclosure two monuments are visible.
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Flint tools and shards of pottery show activity at the site in the Neolithic c. In the eighth century BC Bronze Age , a ring of timber poles was raised at the western site, where the high mound now stands. It was 35m in diameter and surrounded by a ring ditch with an eastern entrance. In the fourth century BC Iron Age a new wooden structure was built on the same spot.
It was a round building attached to a bigger round enclosure, making a figure-of-eight shape, both with eastern entrances.
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The smaller building had a hearth. The structure has been interpreted as a roundhouse with an attached yard or pen, or a building with an attached enclosure for rituals. Finds suggest that at this time the site was occupied by someone of high standing such as a king, chieftain or druid. In the first century BC, a huge timber roundhouse-like structure was built on the same spot. A ditch and bank were dug around it. There is evidence that the huge ditch and bank that encircles the hill was dug at about the same time.
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There is some evidence that the stones came from an older monument in the area, perhaps a passage tomb. It was made up of many soil types, suggesting that soil was brought from surrounding areas. It is believed that this sequence of events was a ritual act, but its meaning is unclear and there are several theories.
The timber building may have been built only as a temporary structure to be burned, or it may have briefly served as a temple before its ritual destruction. Dr Chris Lynn has likened it to the ' wicker man ' rite allegedly carried out by the Gauls , in which a large wooden effigy is burned with a living sacrifice inside.
The stones inside the wooden structure may represent souls in the house of the dead ,  or the souls of fallen warriors in their equivalent of Valhalla. It could also have been seen as a way of containing the power of the Otherworld within that space. It was a Celtic tribe's sanctuary, its capitol, its sacred symbol of sovereignty and cohesion". In the first or second century BC, a figure-of-eight structure was also built at the eastern site. It was similar to those at the western site and may have been built around the same time as the mound.
This figure-of-eight structure was then cleared away and replaced by another round wooden structure. It was double-walled, had a central hearth and an eastern entrance. Two graves were found just outside the entrance. This structure was in turn replaced by a ring-barrow: a round mound, usually raised over a burial, surrounded by a ditch and bank.
Until , the site was threatened by the growth of a nearby limestone quarry.
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Due mostly to the efforts of the activist group Friends of Navan, a public inquiry held that year halted further quarrying, and recommended that Navan be developed for tourism. A visitor centre, featuring artefacts and audio-visual exhibitions, was opened in , but closed in for lack of funds.
A recent study   used remote sensing, including lidar, photogrammatry, and magnetic gradiometry, to map the site, and found evidence of Iron Age and medieval buildings underground, which co-author Patrick Gleeson says suggests that Navan Fort was "an incredibly important religious center and a place of paramount sacral and cultural authority in later prehistory". According to Irish mythology and historical tradition it was the capital of the Ulaidh , the people who gave their name to the province of Ulster.
It was supposedly founded by the goddess Macha in the 7th or 5th century BC, and was the seat of Conchobar mac Nessa in the tales of the Ulster Cycle. Conchobar is said to have had three houses at Eamhain Mhacha:. Due to commercial sensitives, we will announce specific timelines for individual towns closer to the date.
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