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17 July 2004
The start of Irish megalithic tradition

Archaeologists are finally in agreement that the Megalithic period in Ireland 'boomed' between the years 4200 BCE and 3500 BCE. The date controversy over the Irish Megalithic period - most significantly characterised by the Carrowmore site in Sligo - was put to rest at an archaeology conference in Sligo. The findings of the conference have just been released even though it took place two years ago.
     The Carrowmore site has one of the largest concentrations of Megalithic tombs in Western Europe. Swedish Professor Goran Burenhult, who excavated the Carrowmore grave complex for more than 20 years, said that the conference papers gave the most complete picture available on the Megalithic period in Ireland and Western Europe. During the Megalithic era, most of the giant stone monuments were built.
     Excavations showed that Carrowmore was both earlier than the Newgrange and Boyne complex and the Egyptian pyramids. "The early dates revealed by Carrowmore have been controversial," said Professor Burenhult. "But we now have agreement that 4200 BCE is the start of the Megalithic tradition in Ireland. So we have a chronology now." He added: "There is much more to do at Carrowmore, many more questions to be answered. We have got very firm outline dates and now we can ask questions about the living society behind the tombs."
     The results of the conference, which was held in Sligo two years ago, have just been presented to the Institute of Technology, Sligo. The Stones and Bones conference was a prelude to the establishment of the BSc in Applied Archaeology course.

Source: Belfast Telegraph (16 July 2004)

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