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Irish History Changed with Discovery of Human Remains

Photo courtesy of www.washingtonpost.com

Photo courtesy of www.washingtonpost.com

While it may not be unusual to make archaeological discoveries during renovations and construction, it’s not every day that those discoveries have the potential to change the history of an entire country. However, this is exactly the type of discovery that pub owner Bertie Currie made in 2006 when excavating land to create a driveway for McCuaig’s Bar in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

The Discovery

During the initial digging needed to construct a driveway behind his property, Bertie Currie encountered a large, flat stone in the ground. The stone itself appeared to be placed intentionally, and was blocking a dark gap just visible beneath the rock. Currie immediately sought out his flashlight and peered into the gap, discovering a human skull and skeleton. A subsequent police investigation found that the area was not a recent crime scene, but rather the final resting site of three humans that had been buried in approximately 2000 B.C.

The Results

The discovery of the bones outside McCuaig’s Bar is revolutionary for several reasons, but perhaps the most significant is that these bones challenge the traditional view that the Irish people are descended from the Celts, who invaded Ireland between 1000 and 500 B.C. Instead, these bones hold genetic traits that are much more closely related to the modern-day people that live in Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. What this finding means is that the current genomes of the Irish people are much older than previously believed, and may not come entirely from Celtic influences. These new archaeological findings hold important implications for not only the history of Ireland, but the current definition of the Irish race, which may actually be a small part of the larger European genetic spectrum, rather than solely dominated by the Celts.

 
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