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Tomb collapse opens door to archaeologists

The collapse of the 5,000-year-old Tirnony Dolmen tomb in Ireland is granting archaeologists a rare opportunity to investigate what is inside before the tomb is repaired.

Normally portal tombs, which are among the oldest built structures still standing in Northern Ireland, are off limits to excavators and must be preserved.

But after the massive capstone of this portal tomb fell to the ground earlier this year, archaeologists will be able to uncover the secrets it has held for millennia before repairs are carried out.

Tirnony Dolmen is between 5,000 and 6,000 years old, according to Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIIEA) archaeologist Paul Logue.

“After standing in Northern Ireland weather for over 5,000 years some of the tomb’s structural stones have begun to crack, causing the capstone to slip,” he said.

“Before we start to repair the tomb we will excavate it to ensure that the archaeological material associated with it is recorded ahead of restoration work.

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