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Secrets Of The Stones: Decoding Ireland’s Lost Past

Airs Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Tomb five at Carrowmore. Carrowmore is the largest cemetery of megalithic tom...

Credit: American Public Television

Above: Tomb five at Carrowmore. Carrowmore is the largest cemetery of megalithic tombs in Ireland. The megaliths of Carrowmore, located five kilometers south-west of Sligo town, are at the heart of the Cúil Irra peninsula and are one of the greatest megalithic complexes of ancient Ireland.

Isolated on the fringe of the Atlantic, Ireland was the last place in Europe to be inhabited. Yet with 150,000 ancient monuments, it holds an unprecedented record of its prehistoric past — a record that has been largely obliterated elsewhere in Europe.

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The beautifully shot two-part special "Secrets Of The Stones" reveals the cutting edge science that is slowly peeling away layers of the secrets lost in time and rewriting Ireland's ancient story. The truth about Ireland's distant past is finally emerging. There are gaps in history that have never been explained. Can extraordinary new discoveries shine light on Ireland's dark ages?

The questions themselves are remarkable: were we almost wiped out 4000 years ago in a climate change event? Why did Ireland, unlike Europe, become Christian so quickly and change religion so peacefully? Have we discovered remains of a new structure on the hill of Tara so vast that it rivals Croke Park in its footprint size? Are the religious symbols carved on the great mounds Knowth and Dowth proof that Ireland was at the center of a great ancient European religion? By answering these questions we will hopefully help redefine our views of Ireland’s ancient societies, reshaping our knowledge of the past.

"Secrets Of The Stones: Decoding Ireland's Lost Past" is available for online viewing.

Video Excerpt: Secrets Of The Stones: Decoding Ireland's Lost Past

Watch an excerpt from the second episode of RTE's "Secrets Of The Stones" documentary series, profiling the use of RealSIM's simulation technology to re-create the site of an early 5th century Christian settlement in Caherlahillan in Co. Kerry, Ireland.

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