Human remains believed to be as old as 6,000 years were discovered earlier this week in County Kerry.

Archaeologists suspect they belong to the first people to settle permanently in the area.

Ken O’Neill, the owner of land in Milltown, Co, Kerry where the portal tomb at Killaclohane is found, had noticed that the top stone on the tomb, which dates to 3,800 BC, was coming loose.

He notified the Kerry County Council, who sent in archaeologists to inspect tomb during July.

In order to carry out the excavation, the almost 30,000 pound top stone had to be removed.

The portal tomb at Milltown at a site now believed to one of earliest human settlements in Kerry: pic.twitter.com/vJ4JvSqDKV

— Owen O'Shea (@OwenOShea) September 23, 2015

Items uncovered from the Neolithic structure include: pottery fragments, flints, arrowheads and the cremated human remains.

The remains are believed to be those of two people – an adult and an adolescent – though further testing is being carried out to confirm this. Their placement within the portal tomb likely indicates that they were of high standing within the community.

They are also believed to have been among the first settlers in the area, 6,000 years ago, when humans first transitioned into a settled, farming lifestyle

Michael Connolly, an archaeologist with the Kerry County Council, told the Irish Independent the discovery was one of the most significant in all of Ireland.

"Portal tombs are the earliest type of megalithic tombs. This tells us that very early in the Neolithic period when people were beginning to settle and farm, rather than wander around, they settled in the Milltown area," he said.

 

The excavated portal tomb at Killaclohane, Milltown, Co. Kerry.Irish Independent/Kerry County Council