Decorated stone, orthostat L2, Mound of the Hostages by Ursula Mattenberger
O’Sullivan, M., & na Ngiall, D., 2005, Duma na nGiall (The Mound of the Hostages),Tara. Wicklow, 246.
The Mound of the Hostages (Duma na nGiall), is the oldest visible monument on the Hill of Tara. The mound covers a passage tomb built 5,000 years ago (around 3,000 BC). It was used as a place to bury human remains for more than 1,500 years. The mound lies near the northern edge of a large enclosure called Ráith na Ríg (Fort of the Kings) which was built around 100 BC. The line of Ráith na Ríg was laid out so that the ancient mound would lie within it thus respecting its importance. The Mound of the Hostages got it name in the medieval period because it was the place where the symbolic exchange of hostages took place.
The Tara excavation project began in the early summer of 1952, directed by Seán P. Ó Ríordáin, Professor of Celtic Archaeology at University College, Dublin. In 1956, after two seasons excavation at the mound, Prof Ó Ríordáin became ill. He died in 1957. His successor, Professor Ruaidhrí de Valera completed the excavation of the Mound of the Hostages in 1959. Dr Muiris O’Sullivan completed the task of publishing the excavation Duma na nGiall - The Mound of the Hostages in 2005.