Newgrange Burial Mound

Newgrange Burial Mound
Newgrange Burial Mound

There are many great prehistoric monuments for which an astronomical explanation has been sought. And in some cases that link has been found. One of the most splendid examples is the Newgrange Burial Mound in County Meath, in Ireland. A huge circular tomb, whose interior is illuminated through a corridor precisely at sunrise on the day of the winter solstice, on December 21.


Newgrange Burial Mound

It is true that in the British Isles the most famous place in Prehistory that is linked to astronomical events is the Stonehenge complex in England. But the Tumulus at Newgrange shows much more accurately that it was built for that purpose. And it was also made more or less a thousand years before, since thanks to Carbon 14 dating techniques it is thought that it was built between 3,300 and 2,900 BC.

As usual in other archaeological sites, such as the Ring of Brogdar in the Orkney Islands, it is not an isolated megalithic monument. Throughout the Boyne Valley area there are burial mounds of a similar shape, but none of such dimensions. It is 90 meters in diameter and up to 13 meters high. And its interior is accessed through a long corridor 18 meters long.

Its existence has been known since around the 17th century, but excavationsSerious archaeological investigations did not occur until the 1960s. It was then that its full visual power was discovered.

The whole tomb is built from a white wall where different stones such as granite or quartzite are combined. And a little further outside there was even a wide circle with dozens of menhirs, although they would be a later addition, as from the II millennium before Christ.

Still today there are endless mysteries regarding the monument. For example, both the external and internal walls of the corridor are full of petroglyphs with spirals, triangles, curves, all very schematic, of hidden meaning for us and with similarities to the ornamentation that many centuries later continued to use the Celtic tribes of Ireland.

When its interior was excavated, the remains of several dead were discovered. So it is clear that it was a tomb. That is spectacular, since to get to these remains you have to cross the aforementioned corridor of almost 20 meters to lead to a large room in the shape of a cross covered by a false vault created by approximation of rows. Spectacular considering its antiquity and its resistance to the passage of more or less 5,000 years.

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