Newgrange: an Irish Neolithic Cremation Engine?

Archaeo𝔡𝔢𝔞𝔱𝔥

DSC00263 Newgrange from the visitor centre beside the River Boyne

The winter solstice has come and gone once more and Newgrange hits the headlines. I visited Newgrange last month, and sadly Knowth was (again) closed to me as it had been on my visit in 2004. I hope to go back in summertime and see the wider landscape at some point.

Newgrange is one of Europe’s most iconic late Neolithic monuments. Dating to around 3,200 BC, it is the largest passage grave among a concentration of around 70 such monuments in the Boyne Valley, Co. Meath, situated between the other giant passage graves at Knowth and Dowth, and many smaller monuments on the north side of the valley and on the flood plain.

DSC00326 Newgrange from the south, in low evening late-autumn sunlight

It is best conceptualised in popular literature as a ‚tomb‘ excavated by M. J. O’Kelly for over a decade from 1962-75…

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