Dr Ger Dowling

Major archaeological find at Kells

A circular fort 100 metres in diameter on the top of the Hill of Loyd, which would have dominated the skyline at Kells, has been discovered by archaeologists from the Discovery Programme, who have carried out a geophysical survey of the area.
What is believed to be an early iron age or late bronze age fort was well fortified with a circular ditch, a bank and large palisade fencing, but archaeologists do not know if this was for defence purposes or just an ostentatious display of wealth.
The entrance to the structure is facing east towards the town of Kells.
Archaeologist, Dr Ger Dowling, says the site would have been a significant structure from 1000BC to 500AD and is a very important discovery for Kells and the region.
The find has been described as very exciting by the Meath Heritage Park company and local councillors.
The fort is in a spectacular setting with views of Tara, Skryne, Teltown, Sleachta on the Hill of Ward and Lough Crew and would have overlooked important routes from the north and west to Tara. 
“We believe it was an important site and that it is no co-incidence that the early Christian monastery was founded at the bottom of the hill,” Dr Dowling said.
“This may have been a place of burial or of ceremonial or religious significance and may also have been a settlement,” he said.
Dr Dowling, who is assistant director of the discovery Programme’s Late Iron Age Roman Ireland Project pointed out that people at the site would have seen people coming from the north and west to Bregga - the Tara complex.
The survey was undertaken because it was always suspected that the hill may have been of major importance, before the founding of the Monastery at Kells and Dr Dowling explains that they based their recent investigations on a LIDAR survey carried out on behalf of Meath Heritage Park Ltd, which had already identified a large number of new structures in the area.