ON a molecule hunt

In September, Passage Tomb People took to the road to collect the exceptional 4th millennium BC faunal assemblage from Kilshane, Co. Dublin. This enclosure site was excavated in 2004 along the route of the N2 motorway, revealing the remains of nearly 60 cattle deposited in the bottom of the enclosure ditch. Bone doesn’t survive very well in most Irish soils, so this is a truly remarkable site and will hopefully provide important insight into animal husbandry around the time the first passage tombs were being constructed. We will be building on the zooarchaeological analysis undertaken when the assemblage was first excavated, hunting for new molecular-level information still hiding in the bones and teeth.

Left: loading up the van. Right: one of the cattle skulls during excavation

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