The henge is thought to date from the late Neolithic period, up to possibly the Bronze Age, from about 3,000 BCE. Anthony Murphy, a journalist and researcher responsible for Mythical Ireland, a blog about Ireland’s ancient megalithic sites, is responsible for the new find, which is being hailed as a completely new and very significant discovery by archaeologists.
…The new site is part of a cluster of henges and passage tombs in the Boyne Valley – working with with LiDAR scanning, Davis has roughly doubled the number of known monuments since 2010.
The landscape is known for passage tombs (like Newgrange, or Dowth, where a tomb has just been discovered) which were built from about 3,600 until 3,100 BCE during the middle Neolithic period.
The henge would have been made out of timber with two concentric circles, which would possibly have been ‘linteled’ with horizontal supports as well. “This is a time period where they’re building particularly in timber and earth, as opposed to stone which went before,” Davis says.
…Although there are discernible entries and exits, you could in theory enter the structure at any point. “It makes it much more like a symbolic enclosure, rather than a real enclosure.”
This all points to the idea that the structure was used for ritual ceremonies that involved feasting, gathering and trading together. There is, Davis explains, lots of evidence of feasting on animals at Durrington Walls within the Stonehenge landscape in England, and these sorts of sites are sometimes referred to as passing enclosures – places people congregate at during the changing of the seasons.
“The discovery means we have the highest concentration of late neolithic henges anywhere in the world,” Murphy says. He believes there may be some astronomical alignment to unearth – at nearby Dowth Hall, alignment towards the summer solstice sunrise has been discerned.