Bronze Age

(c. 2500 BC – c. 600 BC)

Ulster History Park reconstruction of a typical Fulacht Fiadh ie cooking pit of the deer.



Earthen circles, often associated with other features such as standing stones, stone circles, palisades, avenues and later-period burials. Henges are categorised into four classes depending on the number and location of ditches and entrances at each site.

An essay on henge distribution, construction and suggested purposes is available here.

The Giant's Ring, Ballynahatty, Belfast, Co. Down. Class I-IC henge, ie probably no internal ditch, material for bank probably derived from scraping interior. Situated on edge of a flat plateau, in river valley, accessible but separate from surrounding countryside. Single entrance, perhaps built in a series of segments indicating either constructed over several years or simultaneously by different groups (or both). Remains of passage tomb at centre. Bank up to 4m high, henge diameter approx 200m. 1954 excavation revealed outer revetment bank and inner boulder revetment providing steep inner bank. Bank top originally flat, perhaps a deliberate viewing area to observe ceremonies or rituals conducted by a separate elite in interior. Admission free. Map reference: 327677, map 15. There is an ongoing seasonal excavation conducted by Queens University, Belfast, School of Archaeology of the immediate surroundings where aerial photography and surface surveying has indicated other neolithic/bronze age structures.

the western bank

the eastern bank

the remains of the portal tomb

the top of the bank.