| 8 September 2005
Ancient rock art discovered at Teltown site
An exciting archaeological discovery has recently revealed rock art from about 2000 BCE. At one of Meath's most prominent sites, Teltown or Tailteann (Ireland), the discovery by archaeologist Professor George Eogan demonstrates that Tailteann has a much more ancient origin than had previously been considered.
Teltown House and its environs was recently purchased by Bartle and Renee Clarke, who were very conscious of the historical importance of the area and wished to ensure its long-term preservation. They discussed the issue with Professor Eogan and invited him to carry out a research program. Eogan has initiated the research and already some very exciting information has come to light, the most significant of these being discoveries in the combination mediaeval-modern day grave yard. This site was recently cleared of vegetation and the remains of a natural rock outcrop with carved art in a circular form were uncovered.
Professor Eogan explained: "This type of rock art post dates the passage tomb phase at Knowth (where warriors of high rank who fell at the Battle of Unna were buried in the Boyne Valley) or Newgrange and dates from about 2000 BCE. What is important about this discovery is the fact that it demonstrates that ritual activity was a feature of Tailteann about 2000 years before the period when it became a great Celtic center with its games and other contemporary activity".
"This new discovery demonstrates that Tailteann has a much more ancient origin than has hitherto been considered." He said that this type of art is known as 'rock art' as it occurs on the surface of natural stone outcrops. "In Ireland, it is mainly found in the south, in the peninsula of Cork and Kerry, but, with the exception of Ballinvally, an area in the low-lying land a short distance to the north of Loughcrew, itís rare in Meath," he added. "This stone is, therefore, a welcome addition to the small but significant examples of rock art in the east of Ireland". Professor Eogan said that Teltown was one of the more important sites of early historic Ireland where significant assemblies took place, possibly starting as far back as the Iron Age.
Teltown is about four miles from Kells and has a large ring fort with views over the river. It was of great importance for the ancient Celts as it presented a prehistoric burial mound, and games in honor of the dead were held there in August and were presided over by the King of Tara, Eochaidh Mac Duach.
Source: Meath Cronichle (6 September 2005)
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