107O'Sullivan, Muiris, Michael Herity, and Ursula Mattenberger. Duma na nGiall: the Mound of the Hostages, Tara. Bray, Co. Wicklow: Wordwell, 2005, p. 3.

Excavation of the tomb in 1959 revealed undisturbed Neolithic burial deposits, not from the tomb's interior, but from the spaces in the back of the structure's orthostats. "Sealed beneath the cairn, these deposits are a rare example of undisturbed primary passage tomb burial stratigraphy. By comparison...the primary cremation deposits in the main tomb had been subjected to considerable disturbance, caused in particular by activity associated with the insertion of early Bronze Age burials..." (p. 65)

O'Sullivan quotes the excavator (S.P. Ó Riordain): "Excavation of the tomb is a particularly slow process. The passage was completely filled with clay and stones which rose to the level of the outer face of the capstone. This fill contained numerous burials, burnt and unburnt, with and without pottery vessels. At the base of the fill a mass of bone was found-mainly cremated but with unburnt bones interspersed-the remains of scores of individuals of all ages.The main portion of the passage has now been cleared. There remains the task of completing it and the very much larger task of dealing with the chamber filled almost to the roof level. This work will take a long time and must be reserved for next season." (pp. 79-81)

In considering the later symbolic meaning of the Mound of the Hostages, the author writes, "Albeit limited to the Mound of the Hostages, the Rath of the Synods and a relatively small area between the two, the excavated archaeological evidence concurs with the generally held historical view that Tara's role after the arrival of Christianity narrowed to being a symbol of sectional kingly power and ultimately a focus of myth-laden cultural memory about the prehistoric and proto-historic past." (pp. 234-6)

According to Frank Prendergast, of the 221 passage tombs on the Island of Ireland, 15 have definite solar alignments. But the Mound of the Hostages is not listed as one of them. (Prendergast, Frank. Solar Alignment and the Irish Passage Tomb Tradition. Archaeology Ireland, 2018). However, the phenomenon is included in this database, and there is visual evidence in Ken William's photograph.