First survey of Boyne uncovers Neolithic log boats


Archaeologists have identified what could be Neolithic log boats as well as boulders, perhaps intended to be used in the building of Newgrange or Knowth, in the river bed of the Boyne, near to the famous monuments.

The survey of the river, believed to be the first of its kind, is the work of a team of researchers from UCD’s School of Archaeology and the University of Ulster’s School of Geography and Environmental Science, funded by the Royal Irish Academy.

They are focused on the river bed where it runs through the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site and are part of a project to look at the role of the Boyne.

The research is led by Dr Stephen Davis, UCD School of Archaeology, who said that despite being a key thoroughfare and trade route over millennia, “our understanding of the river was identified in the 2009 Brú na Bóinne Research Framework as a major knowledge gap”.

“The project had three main aims: to undertake new mapping of the river channel and to potentially identify new archaeological features, to explore the landscape of the river at Brú na Bóinne using geographic information systems (GIS), and to collate local folklore relating to the Boyne from the Schools’ Collection to better understand the Boyne in its local context.”

The results of the surveys have not disappointed and come just months after other non-invasive work discovered 40 previously unknown monuments close to Newgrange. In addition to learning more about the structure of the river, this latest research has so far identified 100 items of interest in a 10km stretch, 10 of which appear to be “log boat type anomalies”.

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