Badger uncovers ancient human remains in Co. Cavan

Badger photo by Peter Trimming

Interesting news from Cavan where ancient human remains have been unearthed by a badger digging close to a prehistoric tomb. The human bones were identified by a local historian Séamus Ó hUltacháin and number of archaeologists including Sam Moore (IT Sligo), Vicki Cummings (University of Central Lancaster) and Colin Richards (University of Manchester). The remains consisted of fourteen pieces of cremated human bone, scattered through a charcoal enriched soil that had been disturbed by the badger.

Removing archaeological material is prohibited by law, but as it was under threat of disappearing the bones were rescued and the National Museum of Ireland was immediately informed. Following analysis by an osteologist, one of the larger bones (part of a femur) was sent to Queen’s University Belfast for radiocarbon dating. This revealed that the bone dates from circa 2438-2200 BC, or the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age period.

Gráinne O’Connor of Cavan County Council, which manages the park with Coillte, hailed the discovery as hugely exciting.

“This has proved what we’ve always known; that people have lived and buried their dead at Cavan Burren Park for a very long time”.

Located just outside Blacklion in scenic West Cavan, the Cavan Burren Park is regarded as one of the finest integrated prehistoric landscapes In Ireland. It is home to a number of remarkable ancient tombs and dwelling sites such as ‘The Calf House’, ‘The Giant’s Grave’ and ‘The Druids’ Altar’.

Source: Cavan County Council 

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