Research NewsArchaeology

The Balance of Power in Ancient Ireland

Science  17 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5337, pp. 386
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5337.386

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DUBLIN-- According to ancient texts, before about A.D. 400, Ireland was dominated by three principal kingdoms, the most powerful of which at any one time was the home of the "high" king or queen of Ireland. Archaeologists have focused most of their attention on two of them--Tara and Navan Fort--because the third, Rathcroghan, was thought to be less important and was built around a mound formed by nature rather than by human excavation. Recent geophysical studies of Rathcroghan, however, have shown that the mound appears to have been built for ritual purposes, and the enclosure surrounding it is in fact larger than those at Tara and Navan Fort.