Murnells : Portal Tomb

CountyTyrone
Grid RefH 680 757
GPSH 68001 75698 (6m)
Longitude6° 56' 49.43" W
Latitude54° 37' 29.36" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownMoneymore (19.4 Km)
OS Sheet13
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

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Murnells - Cairn
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Visit Notes

Sunday, 8th January 2006

One of the reasons I had slowed down a bit last year was because I thought I'd seen all the good portal tombs . Well, I was wrong. This is a beauty. I really can't understand why it's not better known.

The tomb is almost perfect. The main capstone has been shifted slightly, but still perches on the portal stones with proportionally the largest overhang I've ever seen. The rear of the main capstone rests on a secondary capstone, which in turn rests on a small chocking stone. This actually gives the impression that it has three capstones. The larger capstone has a deep natural cupmark at its apex.

The walls of the chamber and the protal stones are of a reddish, quartz ridden stone. The two capstones are a grey stone, presumably granite. The surrounding peat reaches halfway up the sides of the chamber and several other stones, presumably from the kerb can be seen poking through. To one side of the chamber there is a group of stones that could be a subsidary chamber abutting the south wall.

The entrance has no doorstone and faces very slightly south of east. This slight deviation in alignment seems to make the axis point towards the V formed where the hill at Copney crosses in front of Laght Hill 2km beyond.

Two stones place either side of a gallery, opposite each other, but not touching so as to leave a gap, that are used to segment it into smaller chambers.

The large rock used to form the roof of a portal tomb or kist.

A compartment in a tomb in which burials were placed. In court tombs and wedge tombs a chamber is a sub-division of the burial gallery. Portal tombs have single chambers and passage tombs can have anything from one to five chambers, although usually passage tombs are considered to have a main chamber with extra subsidary chambers.

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About Coordinates Displayed

This is an explanation of (and a bit of a disclaimer for) the coordinates I provide.

Where a GPS figure is given this is the master for all other coordinates. According to my Garmin these are quite accurate.

Where there is no GPS figure the 6 figure grid reference is master for the others. This may not be very accurate as it could have come from the OS maps and could have been read by eye. Consequently, all other cordinates are going to have inaccuracies.

The calculation of Longitude and Latitude uses an algorithm that is not 100% accurate. The long/lat figures are used as a basis for calculating the UTM & ITM coordinates. Consequently, UTM & ITM coordinates are slightly out.

UTM is a global coordinate system - Universal Transverse Mercator - that is at the core of the GPS system.

ITM is the new coordinate system - Irish Transverse Mercator - that is more accurate and more GPS friendly than the Irish Grid Reference system. This will be used on the next generation of Irish OS maps.

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