'Mountdrum Archaeological Complex' : Megalithic Complex

Grid RefH 308 433
Longitude7° 31' 35.14" W
Latitude54° 20' 14.62" N
ITM east480366
ITM north584435
Nearest TownEnniskillen (6.8 Km)
OS Sheet18
UTM zone29U
UTM x449041
UTM y5761192

This site has subsites

Mountdrum - Court TombMountdrum - Wedge Tomb
Mountdrum - Stone CircleMountdrum - Stone Circle
Mountdrum - Stone CircleMountdrum - Wedge Tomb
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Visit Notes

Monday, 9th April 2007

I first heard of this place a couple of years or so ago and it's taken me this long to return to the area. The complex consists of a group of Beaghmore (County Tyrone) type stone circles and associated rows, and several tombs.

There is good parking at the heart of the site and the information boards are pretty good. As the tombs are not in too good a condition they have used pictures of other (better) sites to illustrate them. I'm not sure if the plan of Ballyedmonduff (County Dublin) is really a 'typical wedge tomb ', however.

The main board by the car park shows a couple of paths that aren't in place yet, making two of the monuments a bit difficult to locate.

I could tell that someone had recently cleared some of the monuments of their gorse covering, as there were big piles of the stuff close by. All-in-all it's a well-signed, well-maintained site and worth stopping at if you're close by. Unfortunately there are no signs pointing to the site on the roads and, amazingly, there isn't even a sign pointing up the track that leads to the car park!

Wedge tombs are most easily catagorised by their main characteristic - they are taller and wider at the entrance than they are at the rear. Like court tombs they have a gallery which is split either by septal slabs or sill stones into smaller chambers. Galleries can be anything up to 8m in length.

The side walls are, uniquely, made of two rows of stones (three in some cases), which is refered to as double or triple walling. This double walling is perhaps the best feature to identify a wedge tomb by.

The roofs are constructed by laying large blocks or slabs across the gallery, resting on the tops of the walls.

They are often quite small, an amazing exception being Labbacallee (County Cork), one of the largest in Ireland. It is very rare to find a wedge tomb with its roof still in situ, although, occasionally, one or two of the roof slabs are present (see Proleek (County Louth)).

In some examples the roof would have extended beyond the front closing slab forming a portico at the front, which in a few specimens was split by a vertical stone place centrally in the entrance.

Like court tombs, portal tombs and passage tombs they were covered by a cairn, which, at many sites, it is still often possible to determine. A few, such as Burren SW (County Cavan), still retain a large proportion of the cairn.

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A Selection of Other Megalithic Complexes

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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