Poulnabrone represents one of the very few Irish portal tombs that have been archaeologically investigated. This excavation, uncovered the remains of twenty two people, sixteen adults and six children within the interior of the tomb. Of these bodies only eight could be sexed and these were equally split between males and females.
The bones were disarticulated and appear to have been placed within the tomb in a de-fleshed condition. This suggested a complex burial ritual, where the bodies were firstly stored or buried elsewhere until they decomposed. The bare bones were then transferred to the portal tomb for final interment. A number of the bones contained scorch marks suggesting that they had been held over a flame prior to burial, possibly during a purification ritual.