Skeletons discovered in Kerry could date back 6,000 years
The remains of two people have been discovered in Kerry by archaeologists who believe the skeletons could be as much as 6,000 years old.
It is believed that the skeletons belong to the first settlers in the south-west of Ireland.
They were discovered when experts began an excavation at a neolithic structure near Milltown in Co Kerry.
Land owner Ken O’Neill had noticed the cap on a dolmen had become loose and alerted his local council. Expert historians were sent in to dig the area to investigate.
A dolmen is an ancient portal tomb made up of large slabs of stone. They date back to the Neolithic period, which is the name given to the era when humans began using technology in construction and farming and began settling in one place. Most historians consider the Neolithic era between 10,000BC and 2,500BC.
The discovery in Kerry suggests that the Milltown area was one of the first settlements in the south-west of Ireland.
The bodies belonged to an adult and an adolescent. Examination revealed they were cremated post mortem.
The location of their skeletons suggests they may have been people of importance, given they were buried so close to the dolmen.
The dolmen is the oldest intact structure in Co Kerry, with experts estimating it was built around 3,800BC.
The dig also uncovered various ancient items including fragments of pottery, flint javelins and arrowheads.
The portal tomb at Milltown at a site now believed to one of earliest human settlements in Kerry: pic.twitter.com/vJ4JvSqDKV
— Owen O'Shea (@OwenOShea) September 23, 2015