The Hill of Ward Archaeological Project

The Hill of Ward, near Athboy, Co. Meath is home to the spectacular quadrivallate ringfort of Tlachtga (‘Earth-spear’). Reputedly the birthplace of Halloween and home to a long-standing Samhain fire-festival, the monument takes its name from the daughter of the legendary Mog Ruith, the alleged executioner of John the Baptist.

Google Earth 2005 imagery of Tlachtga

Google Streetview image from west of Tlachtga

This blog is intended to follow some recent discoveries and ongoing research at the Hill of Ward and its environs.

Recent work with lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) at the site has revealed a range of potentially interesting features and has greatly increased our understanding of the archaeology of the area. Prior to this the number of recorded monuments in the area was very low, with Tlachtga itself accompanied by a holy well (ME030-030) and a church (ME030-002) known as Temple Cuimhneas (the Church of Remembrance). Newly identified features include a deserted medieval settlement at Wardstown, an embanked enclosure similar to those at Brú na Bóinne and a pair of parallel outer embankments to the north of Tlachtga itself. I will discuss some of these in more detail in future entries.

Current plans are progressing towards some geophysical survey this summer, concentrating on the monument of Tlachtga itself, the embanked enclosure and the outer embankments.

Watch this space!


Hill of Ward, Co. Meath hillshade model (altitude 25 degrees, azimuth 30 degrees)

Hill of Ward, Co. Meath hillshade model (altitude 25 degrees, azimuth 30 degrees)


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