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excavation of two of these (kindly funded by the OPW and directed by Matt Seaver) demonstrated that they are likely to be tree throws of prehistoric date. A number of new sites were identified, principally small ringditches which are likely to resemble some of those previously excavated in the area.

Much of the area around Knowth has been surveyed or resurveyed. This provides context to the surveys previously published by Joe Fenwick of the ‘D-shaped enclosure’ and the area east of Knowth, as well as some areas where survey has been described but reports are difficult to come by (e.g. the ‘promontory fort’, Site N). In 2018 survey focused on the area around LP1, returning to one of our initial INSTAR study areas. Again many new sites have been identified here, including a large number of enclosures, many of which would generally be described as ring-ditches.

Our surveys to date have now covered almost 400ha of the World Heritage Site and its immediate hinterland, with the 2019 survey season beginning in July showing a strong likelihood of surpassing 500ha. The


Above: Fig. 4—Composite of RGK surveys with survey by Christine Markussen and Chris Carey.

total core area is c. 780ha, with significant areas either on steep scarps or low floodplains and not suitable for survey. While at this stage this is only a broad review of our progress to date, there are a lot of new sites, some of which are very significant indeed. When this is added to the excellent aerial imagery from last summer, in particular Ken Williams’s beautiful drone-based orthophotography, we really are beginning to see a very different Brú na Bóinne from that of 2010.

Our work to date finds its closest parallels in the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes project: much of what we have been engaged in over the last decade has been the ‘what’ of Brú na Bóinne. Of necessity this involves putting the dreaded ‘dots on maps’, running the risk of turning a complex social landscape into a series of sites. While there is still much work to do in this regard, and while a significant proportion of the WHS still remains to be surveyed, not to mention the application of multiple methods, it is also time to begin to contemplate Brú na Bóinne in a much more interpretive way—to focus less on individual ‘dots’ and more on the extraordinarily complex landscape (both prehistoric and later) that is being revealed. ☗

Acknowledgements We would like to acknowledge the ongoing support of the RGK, in particular its director, Prof. Eszter Bánffy, and of landowners within Brú na Bóinne who have been generous with their time and knowledge over the years. We would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Christine Markussen, Chris Carey, Susan Curran and Joanna Leigh, who have all at one time or another contributed to data collection. Lidar data from Dowth are courtesy of Devenish.

Further reading Davis, S.R. 2013 New geophysical surveys at Dowth

Henge, Brú na Bóinne. PAST Newsletter 75, 1–3. Davis, S.R., Brady, C., Megarry, W. and Barton, K. 2013

Lidar survey in the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site. In D.C. Cowley (ed.), Interpreting archaeological topography: lasers, 3D data, observation, visualisation and applications, 225–39. Oxbow Books, Oxford. Eogan, G. 2012 Excavations at Knowth Volume 5: The archaeology of Knowth in the first and second millennia AD. Royal Irish Academy, Dublin. Fenwick, J. 2012 Geophysical survey of Knowth Area

11. In G. Eogan, Excavations at Knowth Volume 5: The archaeology of Knowth in the first and second millennia AD, 811–31. Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.

Archaeology Ireland Autumn 2019

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