Human remains uncovered in Kerry believed to be 6,000 years old
Archeologists have uncovered what they believe to be the remains of the first settlers in the southwest that are almost 6,000 years old.
The remains of what are thought to be two people, one adult and one adolescent, were discovered following excavations at a neolithic structure near Milltown in Co Kerry.
Analysis of the human remains reveal they were cremated post mortem. Further analysis will reveal if the bones belong to more than two humans.
Archaeologist with Kerry County Council, Michael Connolly, says the find is one of the most significant in the county and the first indication of settlement, where people stayed in the area and started to farm the land.
The discovery was made near the dolmen or portal tomb at Killaclohane in Milltown, the oldest intact structure in the county.
The land owner, Ken O'Neill, had noticed the cap on the dolmen, which dates back to 3,800 BC, appeared to be lose and alerted the council. Other items recovered in the dig include a number of arrowheads, scrapers and a flint javelin head along with the fragments of pottery.
Mr Connolly said that although full analysis on the objects hasn't been completed, they believe they date back to the early neolithic period.
The discovery suggests the first human settlers in the southwest were in the Milltown area and people began to farm.
The remains found were also likely to have been significant people in this ancient community as they appear to have been the only remains buried near the portal tomb. "Portal tombs are the earliest type of megalithic tombs. This tells us that very early in the neolithic period when people were beginning to settle and farm, rather than wander around, they settled in the Milltown area," he said.