Listoghil is surrounded by a crude oval of chamber tombs (or 'dolmen circles') concentrated on the eastern end of the Cuil Irra Peninsula but is much different from these other structures, which it overlooks. It was partly excavated by Goran Burenhult and his Swedish team between 1996 and 1998 after quarrying had left it unstable. Petrie speculated that the monument was originally 40 or high. He was assuming that a now-absent outer boulder circle functioned as a kerb. Recent research has tended to assume that the cairn covered only the inner circle. If so, it may have been up to high; Queen Maeve's tomb close by, on Knocknarea, has twice the diameter, and stands at about 10 m. A further complication is that Burenhults excavation yielded evidence of a third, inner kerb, although this appeared incomplete.
Although the district of Knocknarea, Cuil Irra, Cailleach a Vera, etc., is steeped in legend, Listoghil has never been satisfactorily connected with the ancient legends in the way that say, Newgrange has. Writings by Charles Elcock from the 1880s describe workmen removing the stones for 'road metal' and perhaps building field walls. Only when quarrymen uncovered the tomb chamber in the middle of the mound did its destruction end. Antiquarians in the 1800s made references to another cairn nearby at Leacharail, but the site of this has never been located.
Listoghil was constructed some time between 3640 and 3380 BC, meaning it was constructed towards the end of megalithic activity at Carrowmore despite its central position. The human bones found there were a mixture of cremated, and un-cremated bones; the older, smaller tombs around it generally contain burnt bones. Evidence of some earlier activity on the site - carbon material calibrated to around 6100 years ago - was found by the Swedish archaeologist who excavated Listoghil. This was discovered in the context of an area of 'massive stone packing', set on the earthen platform on which Listoghil is constructed, outside the kerb, to the south of the tomb. Extensive burning took place on the area of the site before the tomb was erected.