in the Parknabinna court tomb.

The faunal assemblage from the Parknabinnia court tomb was dominated by hares but hare ecology suggests that they would not willingly enter the tomb, and evidence for them being deposited by carnivores is slight.  The tomb contains two chambers, and while some of the skeletal elements were dispersed evenly, others were not. This suggests deliberate human deposition of partly dismembered and whole hares in the tomb, with different practices being undertaken in the two chambers. 

Two hare bones were dated, one from each chamber, in order to determine the date of these and to determine whether or not they are contemporary with each other and/or with the period of construction and use of the tomb.  Both bones are firmly Neolithic in date, supporting the hypothesis that they were deliberately deposited in the tomb as part of ritual activity. 

Work is currently progressing to determine the implications of these results for the interpretation of the use of the tomb.


Carleton Jones (NUI Galway)

Fiona Beglane (Sligo IT)


Royal Irish Academy/Queen’s University Belfast radiocarbon grant scheme. 

Research Irish Hare depositions  Research_Irish-hare

Hare bones were found mixed in with
the deposits of human bone in the
Parknabinnia court tomb.


An Irish hare.