|Countryside near Newgrange|
There is something about ancient tombs and artifacts that appeals to me. I like thinking about who these humans were and what they may have thought, and I like the mysteries--the fact we will never know for sure what these cultures were like.
Visiting Ireland, we, of course, had to go to Newgrange, the megalithic tomb near Drogheda. Newgrange is a huge passage tomb that dates to about 3,200 B.C. [I've corrected my dates twice, because the guides at the site and different authorities give differing dates. It's safest to simply say that Newgrange is anywhere from 500 to 1000 years older than Stonehenge and centuries older than the Pyramids of Giza.]
There are many other tombs scattered throughout the Irish countryside and in Europe, many of which have never been excavated. Often, they were built upon by successive generations.
We visited another tomb near Newgrange as well, Knowth, which is also a passage tomb, but because it is structurally unsafe, we weren't allowed to enter.
|Kevin at Knowth|
Knowth is the largest passage tomb. It ncludes many satellite tombs and contains more than one-third of the megalithic art known in Europe. This stone may be an ancient calendar.
|View of Newgrange|
The entrance stone at Newgrange may indicate the six days that the sun enters the tomb, the three days preceding the winter solstice, the day of the solstice, and the two days after. The three spirals (showing the passage of the sun?) before the line pointing to the entrance are moving one direction, while the two swirls on the other side move in the opposite direction. The sun enters the tomb through the window above the door.
|Entrance stone at Newgrange (Line pointing to entrance is barely visible in photo.)|
|View from the top of Knowth tomb.|
Next: Drogheda and our wonderful hosts