by ehistoryadmin on January 25, 2014

Leinster Leader 5 April 1975

Stone discovery ascribed to be 3,000 B.C. period

AN AERIAL archaeological survey is to be carried out at Furness Estate, Naas, following the discovery there last week of a large inscribed boulder 5,000 years old.

The find has aroused considerable excitement in archaeological circles and the head of the National Museum, Professor Raftery, says this, combined with the other finds there from widely different periods, covers a wide pattern of different cultures. He inspected the stone, which is five feet long and weighs about a ton, on Friday and pronounced it to be of the period 3,000 B.C. to 2,500 B.C.

The owner of Furness, Major P. N. N. Synnot, President of Co. Kildare Archaeological Society, announced the find at the society’s annual general meeting on Saturday. Professor Raftery said it was the same age pattern as those at the famous site at Newgrange, Co. Meath. Major Synnot said it would probably be erected with the other monuments at Furness, which are national monuments and open to the public.

He said it had been discovered during deep ploughing of a rocky field which had never been ploughed in living memory. It is the first of its kind to be discovered in the country although there are a few others around the country. They would try to arrange an aerial survey to determine if there was a circle of such stones. The latest boulder, with its neolithic inscription, adds to the long spectrum of cultures reflected in the monuments at Furness. These are the large rath in longstone (1,200 B.C.) the early Christian carved stone with a cross carved in it (6th-7th century), the medieval church (mid 12th century), the stained glass (17th century) and of course the fine Georgian residence and folly.

At Saturdays meeting Co. Kildare Architecture and Planning Officer Mr. Niall Meagher, a member of the Society, said the Co. Council, in conjunction with An Foras Forbartha was conducting a survey of monuments throughout the country. The Society had been concerned for some time about field monuments. Where these were in outlying areas, it was often a long time before defects were reported.

Members had been circulated asking them to look after monuments in their areas and they had a good response. Their next move would be to break down the areas in the country and they had prepared maps of the various types of monuments. These would be issued to members who could then report defects.

The Society reported a successful year, and membership having gone up by eighteen, is now approaching 300. Excavations continued on the Knockaulin site and the society is relieved that the future courthouse in Dunlavin now appears to be secure. In Johnstown Churchyard, the carved tombstone of James Flattersbury of Palmerstown dated about 1436 has been unearthed and the Co. Council has made it secure in a vertical position against the wall with reasonable shelter from the weather.

The Society has written to the Office of Public Works about the neglected state of the graveyard, medieval church ruin and curious carved stones in the grounds of Kilkea Castle. It is hoped the graveyard will be made tidy, with the monuments properly restored and some restoration work carried out on the church. The Eustace Tomb is still now at the Abbey, Kilcullen, and the Society is trying to establish if there is a Eustace to lay claim to it but it doesn’t seem that there is.

Re-typed by Jill O’Connell

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