Clouds pass over the large passage tomb on the peak of Baltinglass Hill, County Wicklow, Ireland at sunrise yesterday morning.
The ruins of the passage tomb reveal a complex multi-period construction of three chambers and two later cist burials. The substantial circular wall surrounding it is a later addition, almost certainly built using stone taken from the cairn of the great tomb.
Each chamber is quite different, to the north, and the most visible in the bottom of the photograph, is a substantial chamber built of large blocks of stone. The passage widens into a chamber area where an enormous granite basin stone is partially protected by the single remaining capstone.
To the south there is a more ruinous cruciform chamber in which some of the stones bear carvings of spirals and circles.
On the western side there is the remains of a corbeled passage and chamber.
Surrounding the chambers are three or more circles of kerbstones which are not concentric. Some of the kerbstones also bear carved decoration.
It’s not clear which parts of the passage tomb were built first but the main use of the tomb was likely to have been centred around the centuries c3,300-3,200BCE. There is recent dating evidence for use of the hilltop centuries earlier but the report on these dates has yet to be published.
The whole summit of the hill is enclosed by a later, massive hill fort which is best viewed in aerial photographs.