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contents : Bronze and Iron Ages : Beliefs and customs

Summary: Navan Fort

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The Celts were still pagans and they worshipped a number of gods about whom little is known. The large ceremonial site known as Emain Macha or Navan Fort was possibly the ancient capital mentioned by Ptolemy in the second century AD. About 700BC an enclosure was built with a shallow ditch and within which there was a circular house. This was rebuilt by succeeding generations and shows just how slow the pace of cultural change was there. It also indicates that there was something very special about this site. Sometime about 100BC a gigantic structure replaced all the earlier buildings. This structure was 40 metres across and constructed around five concentric circles of posts. The size of this building leads us to believe that this was not a simple dwelling house but rather a communal ritual structure. A long passage led into its centre. In the centre was a huge post which is the best dated Iron Age structure in the British Isles. Perhaps as little as ten years after it was built Navan Fort was filled with limestone cobbles to make a type of cairn. Then the posts were set alight. Finally the whole area was covered with layers of sods. Close to Navan are · Haughey’s Fort, a typical Iron Age hill fort or rath · Lough na Shade, a sacred lake, where trumpets and skulls were found · The King’s Stables, a man made pond, used for sacrifices.

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Navan FortNavan Fort

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