Newgrange is an exceptionally grand passage tomb built during the Neolithic period, around 3200 BC. The site consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and chambers. Human bones and possible grave goods or votive offerings were found in these chambers. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it is believed that it had religious significance.
About Newgrange in brief
Newgrange is an exceptionally grand passage tomb built during the Neolithic period, around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The site consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and chambers. Human bones and possible grave goods or votive offerings were found in these chambers. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it is believed that it had religious significance. Its entrance is aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice, when sunlight shines through a ‘roofbox’ located above the passage entrance and floods the inner chamber. After its initial use, Newgrange was sealed for several millennia. It continued to feature in Irish mythology and folklore, in which it is said to be a dwelling of the deities, particularly The Dagda and his son Aengus. It is the most famous monument within the Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mound is 76 metres across and 12 metres high, and covers 4,500 square metres of ground. Within the mound is a chambered passage, which may be accessed by an entrance on the southeastern side of the monument. The passage stretches for 19 metres, or about a third of the way into the centre of the structure. At the end of the passage are three small chambers off a larger central chamber with a high corbelled vault roof.
Each of the smaller chambers has a large flat \”basin stone\” where the bones of the dead may have been deposited during prehistoric times. Twelve standing-stones survive out of a possible thirty-five-five. Some of the material that makes up the monument came from as far away as the Mournes and Wicklow Mountains. The walls are decorated with slabs of large stone slabs called orthostats, twenty-two of which are on the western side and 1½ metres in height; several further carvings decrease into the further further into the passage. Most archaeologists suggest that they were added later, during the Bronze Age, after the original stone centre had been abandoned as a ritual centre. The monument is a popular tourist site and, according to the archaeologist Colin Renfrew, is ‘unhesitatingly regarded by the prehistorian as the great national monument of Ireland’ and as one of the most important megalithic structures in Europe. It consists of approximately 200,000 tonnes of rock and other materials, It is 85 metres wide at its widest point. It has a retaining wall at the front, made mostly of white quartz cobblestones, and it is ringed by engraved kerbstones. The wall is made up of alternating layers of earth and stones, with grass growing on top and a reconstructed facade of flattish white quartz stones studded at intervals with large rounded cobbles covering parts of the circumference.