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Conor Newman, an archaeology lecturer at NUI Galway, said the discovery at the ancient site made sense of the positioning of other graves and monuments in the area. Mr Newman, who has been working on the Hill of Tara under the State-funded Discovery Programme since , was delighted by the find. When Mr Newman moved to Galway he continued to be involved in the project Using sophisticated technology, he and his team of experts mapped what was underground.

The work was slow and tedious because it yielded such a huge amount of information. What they uncovered eventually at the crown of the hill was a huge, oval-shaped monument measuring about metres at its widest point. Around it are post holes measuring two metres wide, indicating a massive human effort involved in the construction.

While the monument is located just below the ground's surface, there are no plans yet to dig it out. That's not the case now because it really is the systematic destruction of a monument. When you are dealing with something as important as the Hill of Tara, you don't do something like that lightly. This one jumps off the page. One of the sections from Dunshaughlin to Navan runs along the east side of the Hill of Tara.

At least new monuments have been discovered on the Hill of Tara, thanks to the deployment of non-invasive exploratory techniques. Geophyscial survey allows archaeologists to record the magnetic properties or electrical resistance of the soil, which is permanently altered by human activity, therefore proving that people once inhabited the area. For example, a bonfire or a burial will permanently enhance the magnetism of the soil around it.

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Similarly, a buried wall will act as a barrier to the movement of electric current passed through the soil and therefore significantly increases its electrical resistance. The earliest monuments at Tara date from around BC. Close to 30 monuments had been recorded prior to the deployment of geophysical survey, which has greatly aided the research process and facilitated the discovery of approximately additional monuments.

In three field seasons since , the team at Galway has increased the geophysical survey area on the Hill of Tara by more than 13 hectares, making this by far the most extensive geophysical survey ever undertaken in Ireland. Plans are in place to survey the rest of the state-owned part of Tara in the next few years. A host of new and interesting features have been revealed in the work so far. One of the most spectacular finds is a huge oval enclosure, equivalent to the size of Croke Park m North to South , which is believed to date from around BC.

Referred to as a henge see illustration , it comprises a 4m wide ditch, possibly up to 3m deep, on either side of which are great 2m wide pits. These pits probably held around wooden poles between them. It also includes a passage tomb known as the mound of the hostages.

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Like most of the monuments on Tara this is a temple or sacred compound of some sort. A full report on this monument and others found in the course of the survey has just been published in the 6th volume of the Discovery Programme Reports and is available from the Discovery Programme and the Royal Irish Academy. The Discovery Programme has produced a detailed map of all of the monuments on the Hill of Tara using a combination of the geophysical survey finds and topography. The topography map is in digital format, which means it is fully interactive.

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It can be interrogated and manipulated in order to reveal features that are otherwise barely visible. These techniques have confirmed that many of the monuments built on the Hill of Tara incorporated older monuments into their fabric. This allowed some of the ritual and historical importance associated with the older monument to be included in the new structure. Close to half of the State-owned land on the Hill of Tara has been examined using geophysical survey so far and plans are in place to continue with this research and to survey the rest of the hill.

However, much concern has arisen lately about the proposed route of the M3 motorway, which if approved, will pass right along the eastern foot of the Hill of Tara, crossing an area intimately connected with the great royal complex. This area also boasts an impressive concentration of archaeological monuments.

Tara is a national treasure and a massive tourist attraction for Co. It should be managed not simply as a hilltop site but rather as a cultural landscape, just has been the case with places like the Boyne Valley," he added. Click here to read about the giant stone that Lugh threw at Tara and how it had been moved previously.

Mythical Ireland. Toggle navigation. Sirius, the Dog Star, shone into Newgrange when it was built The equinoxes: what significance did they have to Stone Age astronomers? A map of the Hill of Tara. Which Stone? The following verse is from the Dindshenchas story about how Tara got its name: Cathair Crofhind 'twas not amiss , was its name under the Tuatha De Danand, till there came Tea, never unjust, the wife of Erimon lofty of mien. The Mound of the Hostages The "Mound of the Hostages" is a megalithic 'passage tomb' and is the oldest monument on the hill of Tara, dating to about 2,BC.

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