What We Hope to Find
This is the third phase of a project to help uncover the stories of Mountpelier Hill. Phase 1 was largely research based, during Phase 2 we carried out a geophysical survey with Earthsound Geophysics to discover the archaeological potential of the site, this was augmented by targeted test excavations to establish the nature of the archaeology.
This third phase involves the archaeological excavation of a portion of the large tomb. It is believed that this was once a large passage tomb, (similar in some respects to Newgrange). Before it was largely destroyed, we believe it would have once been a large circular mound, with a stone lined passageway that led to a burial chamber. This type of tomb generally dates to the Neolithic period, around 5,000 years ago. We believe it is part of an extended cemetery of tombs that top a number of the mountains of South Dublin and Wicklow.
With our excavation of a portion of the tomb, we hope to discover that the eighteenth century workmen did not destroy the lower levels of the tomb, and that we might find some of the original features intact. We also hope that we find bone or charcoal, so that we can obtain a radiocarbon date that will tell us precisely how old the tomb is, so we can compare it with other similar tombs in Ireland.
After the Excavation
After the excavation is complete we will backfill the cutting and return the site to its original condition.
Where you can find more information
The excavation was carried out throughout October (Monday–Fridays). We were delighted to welcome a large number of visitors and schools who came to see the excavation unfold. Now the dig is complete, we have backfilled our trenches and we are carrying out the post-excavation analysis.
You can also keep up with the unfolding story of the Hellfire Club here where we’ll be keeping site diaries and video blogs to show the progress of the excavation. Consider signing up to our newsletter to make sure you never miss an update.