| 5 August 1998
The oldest tomb in Western Europe (Carrowmore - Ireland)
Swedish archaeologists have identified the oldest tomb in Western Europe. The discovery at Carrowmore, Co. Sligo in Ireland, is being met with a mixture of excitement and scepticism by prehistorians.
Carbon dating tests carried out on samples from the site suggest that Stong Age hunter-gatherers were building small, roofed stone tombs surrounded by stone circles 7,400 years ago. This is at least 700 years earlier than Bougon: a Neolithic tomb in France that had previously been thought the earlist free-standing stone architecture in Western Europe.
The excavation and other archaeological work at Carrowmore, directed by Goran Burenhult of the University of Stockholm, is particularly exciting because the tomb and stone circles would have to have been built by early Irish populations hundreds of years before agriculture reached mainland Britain or Ireland.
Archaeologists refer to this pre-agricultural (pre-Neolithic) era as the Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) and no free-standing stone arcitecture from that period has ever been discovered in Western Europe.
Source: The Independent
Share this webpage: