The Isle of Man is home to over 160 round mounds but very few have been excavated using techniques that have left a detailed and reliable record. Round mounds are earthen mounds built over human burial sites. They are found throughout the British Isles and in Continental Europe. First appearing in the Neolithic Age around 3500 BC, their use continued in some form into the Bronze Age. The project aims to investigate what these sites and their associated burials, people and artefacts can tell us about life on the Isle of Man and also about interaction with other communities across Britain, Ireland and potentially beyond, in the Neolithic and Bronze Age.
Phase One – beginning September 2016
The first phase of our project has been funded by Culture Vannin and Manx National Heritage and began in September 2016. We will be carrying out a new assessment of Neolithic and Bronze Age mortuary evidence from the island along with new geophysical surveys of some round mounds, and landscape analyses using LiDAR imagery and other mapping data. This will help clarify the extent and form of the monuments themselves, as well as how they related to the prehistoric Manx countryside and whether there was a pattern and significance to where they were built.
The new research will also include osteological analysis of human remains from historic excavations preserved in the Manx National Heritage collections. Some samples from these remains will be radiocarbon dated and some will be analysed for isotopes and ancient DNA.
We will be updating the site with the on-going results of our research over the first year.