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9,000-year-old axe sheds light on Irish burial practices

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Analysis of an axe that dates back more than 9,000 years is shedding light on the ancient burial practices of the hunter-gatherers who lived in Ireland at the time.

Archaeologists believe the highly-polished stone axe, known as an adze, was made especially for the funeral of a very important person, whose remains were cremated and then buried at the site.

Microscopic analysis has revealed the shale tool, believed to be the earliest fully polished adze in Europe, was only used for a short time, and then deliberately blunted.

Situated on the banks of the river Shannon at Hermitage, Castleconnell, the burial site, dating back to between 7,530 and 7,320 BC, is twice as old as Newgrange.

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Story: Fiona Gartland, The Irish Times | Photo: Ben Elliot

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