Further monuments discovered at Newgrange and Brú na Bóinne

Further monuments discovered at Newgrange and Brú na Bóinne

Extremely detailed views of the Brú na Bóinne area taken by satellite during the drought of 2018 have revealed a raft of possible new monuments. I went searching through the imagery and found at least 15 features which are possibly or likely to be archaeology, none of which are yet recorded by the National Monuments Service.

Just when you thought it wasn't possible for more archaeology to be discovered at the Brú na Bóinne Unesco World Heritage site at the bend of the Boyne, Apple Maps is using extremely detailed satellite images of the area taken during the unprecedented dry spell in summer 2018, offering the chance to see even more unrecorded archaeology in the area.

I jumped at the chance to view the imagery, not expecting to find anything that hadn't been seen before. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The Apple Maps images offer fabulous views of the big discovery of last summer - Dronehenge - and its neighbouring henges, Site LP2 and Site P. Also visible in the same field are the Pit Complex, the Four-Poster and the arcs of the Great Palisade.

The Pit Complex, Great Palisade and Four-Poster all visible in the Apple Maps imagery.


Browsing through the Apple Maps imagery, I quickly stumbled upon a feature to the east of Newgrange that looks very like a ringfort – and it even appears to have a rectangular-shaped structure in its interior, the possible remains of a habitation. This is an unrecorded monument in close proximity to the great mound of Newgrange, less than half a kilometre away.

The outline of what may be a ringfort east of Newgrange, with a rectangular structure in its interior.
The possible ringfort in Newgrange townland is located just 400m or so east of the Newgrange monument.


The following are images, with a brief description, of other features I have found in the Brú na Bóinne area using Apple Maps. I must emphasise that these might not all be new discoveries. It is possible that some of these features have been previously found by others and not yet added to the National Monuments Database. I have provided details of all these finds to the National Monuments Service and await feedback on how many of them might be unrecorded archaeology. All images are © Apple Maps.

Two small ring-ditches and a sub-rectangular enclosure at Staleen townland just south of the Boyne near Dowth.
Another ring-ditch in the Staleen townland south of the Boyne.
Ring-ditch at Littlegrange townland at Brú na Bóinne.
Possible enclosures at Littlegrange, Brú na Bóinne.
Unrecorded oval enclosure with possible ring-ditch immediately to its north at Townleyhall townland, Brú na Bóinne.
Possible enclosures at Staleen, south of the Boyne.
Unrecorded enclosures at Sheepgrange. 
Enclosures and old field system at Townleyhall.
Enclosure in Dowth townland. This corresponds with recorded monument ME020-073----, which is listed as a mound and was discovered in LiDAR imagery by the INSTAR project in 2010.
Unrecorded enclosure in Dowth townland. This is located less than 500m north of the great Dowth megalithic passage-tomb.
Arcs of pits or possible post-holes at Crewbane townland, west of Knowth.
Unrecorded enclosure at Sheepgrange townland.


Further discoveries

In addition to all the above, I have furnished the National Monuments Service with a report containing 66 unrecorded monuments found in Apple Maps in counties Louth and Meath. I have picked out a few of my favourites from this report to show you how much archaeology was revealed during the once-in-a-generation weather conditions of June and July 2018.

Complex of six unrecorded ring-ditches at Kilmainham townland, Kells, Co. Meath.
Unrecorded ring-ditch and impressive enclosures at Kilmainham townland, Kells, Co. Meath.
Very impressive complex of enclosures and field systems at Curraghwalls, Co. Meath.
Unrecorded enclosures at Hurcle, Co. Louth. These are close to Mellifont Abbey.






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Anthony Murphy is the author of ten books, including works of non-fiction and fiction. As of 2024, all of these books are in print or available for digital download.