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Garda probe after skull found in field

A skull believed to be human found by workmen clearing a drain will be forensically examined by experts today to determine its age.

The skull was discovered during excavation work on land at Waterside, near Malahide, in north county Dublin.

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6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of entrance to private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of entrance to private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of entrance to private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of entrance to private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Gardai at the scene in a field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate, Malahide, Co Dublin yesterday. Photo: Caroline Quinn

Gardai at the scene in a field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate, Malahide, Co Dublin yesterday. Photo: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

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6 Nov 2014; General view of Gardai at scene in a private field off the Swords road, near Waterside estate. Swords road, Malahide, Dublin. Picture: Caroline Quinn

Gardai were contacted yesterday evening following the discovery and sealed off the area, which is close to the M1 motorway.

Officers preserved the scene overnight after carrying out initial inquiries under floodlights. They contacted the office of the State Pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy, and a detailed examination of the skull will be carried out today by forensic anthropologist, Dr Laureen Buckley.

A senior garda officer said last night that this should determine whether the find is historical or is more recent.

He said gardai were awaiting the outcome of the tests before deciding on further inquiries.

The land is next to the Waterside estate and residents gathered at the edge of the field last night. It is believed the area was being prepared for ploughing when the gruesome discovery was made by the workmen.

"The field is going to be used for growing vegetables or potatoes. It's privately owned as far as I know," one local resident explained.

"A search spotlight also later appeared in the area," he added

"Obviously they came across something they weren't expecting. The gardai arrived at around 7pm and that's when I noticed the giant spotlight.

"There's a laneway down to the field and children from around here would play in that area quite a lot," he added.

Irish Independent