The excavations at Tlachtga.

Athboy discovery could be 3,000 year old baby

Human remains, thought to be that of of a 3,000 year old baby have been found during archaeological works at Tlachtga, on the Hill of Ward, Athboy.

The remains were found at the base of a 1.5m ditch at the site. It is believed the fully-intact skeleton is of a baby between seven-10 months old but it is not thought the child was the victim of any human sacrifice on the ritualistic site.

The remains will now be taken to the School of Archaeology at University College Dublin for further examination.

Describing it as 'an exciting find,'  lead archaeologist on the site, Dr Stephen Davis,  said: 'We may never know what caused the death of the child. The skeleton probably dates back 3,000 years and was found on the bedrock at the base of a 1.5m ditch'. However, he didn't believe the baby's death was caused by any form of human sacrifice.

The remains were found during a three-week excavation on Tlachtga - most commonly held to have been the first site to celebrate the feast of Samhain - Hallowe'en.

Surveys already carried out using airborn laser and geophysical techniques have already revealed the area to have been a 'key ritual site', according to Dr Davis who now hopes the latest findings will 'strengthen the case of more funding' for further excavations. - by Louise Walsh.

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