Tombs Numbers 26 & 27

Carrowmore tombs Numbers 26 and 27

Like all of the seventeen Carrowmore monuments illustrated by Wakeman this illustration was made on 7 August 1879. One can see that quarrying has removed much of the earth from around these two megaliths since Wakeman made this drawing, as has happened to many of the Carrowmore sites.

Carrowmore Tomb Number 26, shown on the left of the illustration, is 17m in diameter and is made up of 30 boulders forming a circle with a destroyed central construction. A number of the boulders have fallen into the quarry.

A Swedish team of archaeologists excavated it in 1978 and found evidence of Neolithic remains but also discovered the site was rebuilt and reused in the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age after they obtained radiocarbon dates from between 680 to 490 BC for a wooden structure near an entrance into the circle.

Burnt grains of barley, rye and oats appear to have been ritually deposited in small pits that dated to about 530 BC. This is the earliest known date for oat cereal being in Ireland.

Fragmentary skeletal remains of a young woman aged between 18 and 22 were found in the centre of the circle along with the remains of a fully developed unborn child. This burial dated to 90 AD.

Adjacent to Number 26 is Number 27, which is one of the larger boulder circles at Carrowmore with 37 boulders and a diameter of 23m. It has an unroofed cross-shaped chamber and a short passage leading to it.

When the Sligo antiquarian Col. W. G. Wood-Martin excavated it around 1887 he found considerable quantities of burnt bone and unburnt animal bone, including teeth belonging to humans, dogs and other animal, as well as sea shells - mainly oyster and cockles. There was a bone ring, possibly made from walrus ivory or sperm whale teeth, bone pins, quartz pebbles, Neolithic pottery, flint and chert tools. Radiocarbon dates suggest a construction date of about 3900 BC.

A 20-30 year woman's remains were found in a cist near the entrance. It was re-used during two periods in the Iron Age about 500 BC and 200 AD. Large quantities of unburnt human remains were deposited at these periods, with many of these being parts of the skull or teeth, perhaps being associated with an Iron Age cult activity.

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