Wedge Tomb

Wakeman drew this example of a wedge tomb in August 1880. It is about 300m west of Drumcliff church and 50m north of the Drumcliff River. Wedge tombs belong to the late Neolithic period c.2700 BC and continued to be built into the Bronze Age, up to 1700BC.

Wakeman did two illustrations, which shows the east and west ends of the monument. This painting depicts the west end, which is where the entrance to the gallery is located. The monument is made up of a 7m long gallery with an outer wall of upright kerbs either side of this, which is best preserved on the north side and visible in Wakeman's illustration. Much of the south side of the monument is missing. Two façade stones are intact on this northern side of the entrance, but one has fallen out on the other side of the entrance since Wakeman's painting. There are some traces of a cairn and the gallery is filled in at this western end.

Wedge tombs are so called because of their shape as they are generally wider at the front end and gradually get lower towards the back, as in the case here. The stones at the west end of Coolbeg are 1m high and decrease to 0.30m high towards the east end. The roof stone over the entrance and the one towards the rear in Wakeman's drawing are still there but the western one has fallen forward because of the growth of shrubs and trees. One can instantly see the tree growth since Wakeman's painting has matured and is causing disturbance to the monuments structural and archaeological integrity.

The Sligo antiquarian, Col. W. G. Wood-Martin claimed that one of the kerb stones on the north side had a Bronze Age type of decoration called Ring and Cup Marks made of circular motifs and rounded hollows carved into the stone. These are not clearly visible today and were probably caused by natural weathering rather than human action.

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