• Magheracar, County Donegal:  excavation of a passage tomb on Ireland’s north-west coast

This report details the results of a rescue excavation at a passage tomb in Magheracar, Co. Donegal in 1986 and 1987. The tomb is one of two surviving examples of what may have been a somewhat greater number of the type dispersed along a short stretch of Atlantic coastline in north-west Ireland. Perched on a sea-cliff, it consists of a megalithic gallery in the surviving southern half of a kerbed round mound, the original height of which is not known. The northern half of the mound has been lost to coastal erosion and the decision to excavate arose from the ongoing threat to the monument from the sea. 

The primary use-phase of the monument was shown to be of Middle Neolithic date.

The report concludes with a discussion of the results of the excavation, its Middle Neolithic context, factors that may have influenced the choice of location for the monument, aspects of the tomb construction process, burial rite and material culture.  This section finishes with a consideration of the place of the Maghercar tomb in the passage tomb tradition looking at aspects of the chronology, distribution and morphology of the type.

Author Eamon Cody, a graduate of University College Galway (now NUIG), is an archaeologist with a particular interest in the Neolithic period of Irish prehistory. During the 1980s and 1990s he was part of the small Archaeological Unit at Ordnance Survey Ireland engaged on the Megalithic Survey during which time with colleagues he visited and recorded many hundreds of Ireland’s megalithic tombs. Following the transfer of the Unit to the National Monuments Service in 1999 he worked in senior roles in the heritage management area until retirement in 2012. 

His publications have mainly dealt with megalithic tombs and include catalogue entries in a number of the published county inventories issued by the National Monuments Service’s  Archaeological Survey Unit. When engaged on the Megalithic Survey he carried out much work in Donegal and in 2002 published an account of the megalithic tombs there (Survey of the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland, Volume VI, County Donegal, 2002).

Author Eamon Cody
Publication Data July 2019
Subjects Archaeology

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Magheracar, County Donegal: excavation of a passage tomb on Ireland’s north-west coast

  • ISBN: 978-1-4468-8021-0
  • Author(s): Eamon Cody
  • Availability: In Stock
  • €30.00

Tags: Monograph 12