In 2016, hill walker Michael Chambers discovered a cave like structure among large boulders on Bengorm in the Nephin Beg Range in North Mayo. The chamber contained bone fragments and large pieces of quartz. Archaelolgists were called in and the bones were determined to be human and included remains from adults, adolescents. and children.
Louise Dowd of IT Sligo carried out a rescue excavation for the National Monuments Service. Analysis of the bones show that they were deposited in the Neolithic or New Stone Age, which covers a period of 6,000 to 4,500 years ago in Ireland. A bone from an adult was 5,600 years old, while a bone from the skeleton of a child was deposited some 4,400 years ago.
This was not a burial site. Archaeologists believe that the bodies were laid out in a pit and left to decompose. Some time later the skulls were smashed and the larger bones were removed. It is thought that the chamber was one part of a much more complex burial ritual.
Views of Bengorm courtesy of Mountain Views