Audleystown Court Cairn is a dual court grave situated near the south shore of Strangford Lough, north-west of Castle Ward, 1.75 miles from Strangford village in County Down. It contained human and animal remains, as well as pottery and flint implements.
It was discovered by a farmer in 1946 – though I wonder how it survived for so long without no one having a reason to be protective.
It was excavated in 1952 by Pat Collins of the Archaeological Survey. At least 34 individuals of both sexes and all ages were identified, with 17 in each gallery – I wonder was this more than a coincidence.
There were also pottery, a large javelin head, and scrapers and knives. Two of the bowls had lugs like vessels found in tombs in Scotland. Fingertip fluting on three bowls makes them similar to bowls found in Scotland and the Isle of Man. I wonder had anyone in Audleystown ever been to Scotland, or otherwise how long did it take for these pottery forms to move around the Islands – months, years, or centuries?
The animal bones found included ox, sheep, goats, pig and dog or wolf, as well as bird bones. For all these human and animal remains to have been interred in this place, presumably this required a large community of locals to sustain and maintain burials over an extended period in the same tomb.
Just as I have seen with my own Parish in Cavan, the people who organised the creation of a local cemetery would ultimately end up being interred with its grounds. Did a person one day think that his community needed a tomb and communicated this to others. They would have had to plan the design, and how to get the materials, choose a time to begin the job and assign roles to different workers.
Was it designed to hold this many remains? Certainly it required organisation and communal agreement to make this happen, as well as a bit of know how. They organised all this in a language that we will never know.
Audleystown Court Cairn – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audleystown_Court_Cairn