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It features prominently in Irish mythology, especially in the tales of the Ulster Cycle.
According to the Oxford Dictionary of Celtic Mythology, "the [Eamhain Mhacha] of myth and legend is a far grander and mysterious place than archeological excavation supports".
It is a large circular hilltop enclosure—marked by a bank and ditch—inside which is a circular mound and the remains of a ring barrow.
Archeological investigations show that there were once buildings on the site, including a huge roundhouse-like structure which has been likened to a temple.
'Navan' is an anglicisation of the Irish An Eamhain.
The Irish name of Navan Fort is Eamhain Mhacha, from Old Irish: Emain Macha.
Scholars suggest that the event was a sacrificial offering to the gods and that the structure was symbolically given to the Otherworld by being ritually burned and buried.
Some scholars believe this refers to Emain, and Gregory Toner has derived it from Proto-Celtic *isa-mon ("holy mound"). The site consists of a circular enclosure 250 metres (820 ft) in diameter, marked by a large bank and ditch encircling the hill.
In a ritual act, this timber structure was filled with stones, deliberately burnt down and then covered with earth to create the mound which stands today.
It is believed that Navan was a pagan ceremonial site and was regarded as a sacred space.
In the 8th century BC (Bronze Age), a ring of timber poles was raised at the western site, where the high mound now stands.
It was 35m in diameter and surrounded by a ring ditch with an eastern entrance.