Ireland’s earliest burial site gives up the secrets of our hunter-gatherer ancestors
Analysis of an axe that is more than 9,000 years old, found at Ireland’s earliest burial site, in Co Limerick, has shed light on the ancient burial practices of our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
Archaeologists believe the highly-polished stone axe, known as an adze, was made especially for the funeral of a very important person, whose remains were cremated and then buried at the site.
Microscopic analysis has revealed the shale tool, believed to be the earliest fully polished adze in Europe, was only used for a short time, and then deliberately blunted.
Situated on the banks of the river Shannon at Hermitage, Castleconnell, the burial site, dating back to between 7,530 and 7,320 BC, is twice as old as Newgrange.
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