Among the passage tombs and megalithic structures that may be discovered at Bru Na Boinne, which is a holy site located in County Meath along the banks of the River Boyne, Newgrange is the most significant one. The monument is located on a small hill on a bend in the river approximately five miles inland from the ancient Norman city of Drogheda and a couple of miles upstream from the site of the Battle of the Boyne. Both of these locations are roughly the same distance from the mouth of the river.
Is it True that Newgrange Predates the Pyramids of Giza?
Yes. Since it was constructed circa 3,200 BC, Newgrange is older than the Great Pyramid of Giza and is also older than Stonehenge by around one thousand years. When we take into account that it was built during the Stone Age, when metal had not yet been found in Ireland, the building is an impressive accomplishment.
Who exactly constructed Newgrange remains a mystery to historians. There is no way that it was constructed by the Celts since the first known arrival of Celtic tribes to Ireland was not until about the year 500 B.C., some 2,700 years after the structure was constructed.
In the year 1699, the local landowner Charles Campbell gave instructions to his laborers to remove stones from the mound, and as a result, they found the entrance to the passage tomb while doing so.
Who was laid to rest at the Newgrange burial site?
It is stated that the Tuatha Dé Danann were the people that controlled Ireland back in ancient times. It is also said that they were the ones who constructed Newgrange as a burial site for their ruler, Dagda Mór, and his three sons. It is common practice to refer to one of his sons, whose name is Aonghus, as Aonghus of the Brugh.
Why was Newgrange built in the first place?
In spite of the fact that Newgrange was at one time thought of as a passage tomb, more recent research has shown that it was really a monument whose objective, which did involve the act of interring the dead, was far more important and widespread.
What kind of discoveries were made at Newgrange?
The majority of the bodies that were buried in those tombs had been cremated. Excavators working at Newgrange in the 1970s discovered the uncharred remains of a man, identified as NG10, is a niche inside the structure that was embellished with stones that had been intricately carved. DNA was successfully extracted by Cassidy and her co-authors from the petrous bone of NG10, which is a dense component of the inner ear.
Did Celts construct Newgrange?
When you take into account that it was built during the Stone Age, when metal wasn’t even known to exist in Ireland, you have an impressive accomplishment on your hands. About the people who erected Newgrange, little is known. There is no way that it was constructed by the Celts since the first evidence of Celtic tribes in Ireland does not appear until approximately 500 BC, which is some 2,700 years later!
Newgrange Contains a Decoration Based on a Celtic Spiral
The base of the mound is encircled by ninety-seven big rocks that are known as kerbstones. Many of these kerbstones are lavishly ornamented with sculptures that have been etched into the stones. Circles, spirals, arcs, chevrons, and lozenges are some of the more typical motifs that are employed. However, a broad variety of patterns are used. It is speculated that these recurring geometric patterns have some kind of symbolic meaning. Regardless of what significance these designs may have had in the past, they continue to serve as outstanding examples of Neolithic art in Ireland.
What was the Carving Technique Used at Newgrange?
The kerbstone that serves as Newgrange’s entry is the one that has the most elaborate ornamentation. The pattern is centered on a massive triple helix that is encircled by many smaller spirals as well as lozenges. The carvings, according to the opinions of the specialists, were created utilizing two distinct methods. In the beginning, a sharp stone or flint was used to carve out the groove in a crude fashion. The pattern was then refined using a pebble, which was used to make it deeper and smoother. This is how intricate patterns were cut into the stone using this method.
Newgrange’s Celebration of the Winter Solstice
Professor Micheal O’Kelly, an archaeology professor at University College Cork, oversaw the excavation of Newgrange from 1962 to 1975. He was in charge of the project during its whole.
Local residents would inform the professor in the early years of the dig that at some moments, even the deepest depths of the chamber would be illuminated by light from the rising sun. This was something that would happen at particular periods.
A hunch led the professor to visit the chamber on the morning of the winter solstice, which occurred on December 21, 1967. He was astounded to see the dawn light begin to enter the passageway and travel inwards, “lighting up everything as it came until the whole chamber – side recesses, floor, and roof six meters above the floor – were all obviously illuminated.”
At Newgrange, he was the first human to see the winter solstice since the site was first inhabited thousands of years ago.
The winter solstice heralded the beginning of a new year and represented fertility and rebirth for the people who constructed Newgrange. This event took place on the 21st of December.
Not only was Newgrange used as a cemetery, but it was also an important ritual location for the people who lived in the vicinity.