This recent discovery has thrown the idea of the Irish being related to the Celts into doubt. Do these discovered bones reveal Irish are not Celts after all?
When we think of Irish culture, we often associate it with Celtic language and symbols that have been said to evolve into the customs of today’s Irish people.
However, a recent discovery might prove this to be a total misconception.
In traditional mainstream Irish history, our island was invaded centuries ago by the Celts. They brought a language and culture that was to dominate Ireland for millennia. But what if this view is wrong?
The discovery was made in 2006
Bertie Currie was clearing some land to make a driveway for McCuaig’s Bar, Rathin Island, back in 2006.
He noticed a large stone buried beneath the surface and decided to investigate it after realising there was a sizeable gap beneath it.
“I shot the torch in and saw the gentlemen, well, his skull and bones”, Currie told the Washington Post.
Currie called the police after he discovered the remains of three humans under the stone.
Experts assessed that the site was an ancient burial ground and that the DNA results of the skeletons prove Irish ancestors to predate the Celts’ arrival on the Emerald Isle by around 1,000 years.
The bones of the men themselves are said to be between 3,000 and 4,000 years old.
The Irish may have come from the Middle East
According to The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the bones found by Currie resemble the bones of contemporary Irish, Scottish, and Welsh people.
“The DNA evidence based on those bones completely upends the traditional view”, noted Barry Cunliffe, an emeritus professor of archaeology at Oxford.
The Irish ancestors may have set foot on Irish shores from the Middle East, where they would have brought important items like cattle, cereal, and ceramics.
Ancestors of Stone Age farmers typically began their journey in the Bible lands, where agriculture first began.
“It is clear that this project has demonstrated what a powerful tool ancient DNA analysis can provide in answering questions which have long perplexed academics regarding the origins of the Irish,” said Eileen Murphy. She lectures in osteoarchaeology at Queen’s in Belfast.
The bones prove that modern Irish people are much older than we thought before
Radiocarbon dating at Currie’s MacCuaig’s Bar shows that the bones of the skeletons date back to at least 2,000 BC – hundreds of years older than the oldest Celtic artefacts ever found.
“The genomes of the contemporary people in Ireland are older – much older – than we previously thought”, said Dan Bradley, a genetics professor at Trinity College, Dublin.
Bradley also stated that this discovery had the potential to completely change the standard view of Celtic influence on Irish DNA.
Irish history is constantly surprising us, and there’s still so much that we don’t know. What discoveries about our ancestors’ past will be discovered in years yet to come?
The content from this article was originally published in 2016 on the Washington Post.
What do you think? Do you think these discovered bones reveal the Irish are not Celts after all or that they’ve got the wrong end of the stick?