Ballynoe Stone Circle Investigation

As part of her Northern Bridge Consortium-funded PhD research into Late Neolithic funerary practices in Ireland, Lisa White has been undertaking the study of the human remains from Millin Bay Late Neolithic cairn in Co. Down. The enigmatic, complex burial site does not appear to fit within the known types of burial monuments from this period in Ireland, however, rock art, pottery and recent aDNA studies support a link between Millin Bay cairn and the great passage tombs of Newgrange, Co. Meath, Carrowmore and Carrowkeel, Co, Sligo. The only other known burial monument that appears to draw some parallels with the Millin Bay site, is the equally enigmatic Ballynoe Stone Circle complex in Co. Down.

The excavation of Ballynoe Stone Circle was undertaken in the 1930’s by Dutch archaeologist, Dr. van Griffen, prior to the advent radiocarbon dating, so the chronology and context of the site are not fully understood. Furthermore, the human remains that were recovered from the site were thought to have been lost, hindering any subsequent investigations. However, after some detective work Lisa managed to trace the remains to the Groningen Institute of Archaeology in the Netherlands and contacted Dr Anna Moles (Head of the Human Osteoarchaeology Lab GIA) to make enquiries. Dr Moles was incredibly helpful, and not only located the collection within their stores but arranged to have them brought back to Northern Ireland for inclusion in Lisa’s research!

So, just before Christmas, Dr Anna Moles repatriated the human skeletal remains from Ballynoe to Northern Ireland where they were received by Lisa and Professor Eileen Murphy in Archaeology and Palaeoecology. Exciting times!

Last modified: Tue, 27 Feb 2024 13:32:35 GMT