|27 March 2015
Survey of a Neolithic henge in Northern Ireland
Archeologists are probing a Neolithic henge in the middle of Aghagallon which they believe dates back more than 4,500 years. The name of this small village in County Armagh (Northern Ireland) comes from the Gaelic 'Achadh Gallan', meaning 'field of the standing stone', and it was just a few years ago that its true significance was uncovered when they discovered the giant ringed site.
For many years it was unclear where this standing stone might be, however when the local community association made plans to extend its building on the Aghalee Road, it was discovered that they were right beside the standing stone.
The ringed site which is in the townland of Derrynaseer was designated as a scheduled historic momunent in 2003. It is formed by a large earthen bank which encloses a domed area some 180m in diameter and is clearly visible on Google Earth.
Archeologists from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) have been on-site recently and are carrying out non-invasive investigations to try and discover what lies beneath this site.
A spokesperson for the NIEA said: "Based on the physical form of the surviving remains of the earthwork we believe that it is probably a henge, a prehistoric ritual monument, which would have been built some 4,500 years ago by local early farming communities. There are only eight surviving examples of this type of monument in Northern Ireland, the most famous being the Giant's Ring, which is located just outside Belfast."
"NIEA has commissioned a geophysical survey of the south-western part of the enclosure, and also part of the surrounding land, to try and get a sense of what lies below the ground here," the spokeperson added. "We hope to get evidence for features or structures that would be associated with the henge's original use."
Edited from LurganMail (3 March 2015)
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