Thursday, May 2, 2013

I visit passage tombs in the Boyne Valley

With Cork Astronomy Club last weekend to Newgrange (top photo) in the Boyne Valley. A passage tomb - a vast mound covering a passage of stone slabs, and a chamber where cremated remains were interred. Older than the pyramids of Egypt. You can stand under a 5000 year old roof, as good today as the day it was built.

Am penning an essay which will include the regrettable reconstruction by O’Kelly in the 1970’s, why passage tombs were not observatories, why neolithic farmers didn't need calendars to tell them when to plant, and why I was unconvinced by a film at the visitor centre suggesting the builders of Newgrange believed they had to propitiate the sun-god to prevent it disappearing entirely in midwinter.

At Loughcrew several passage tombs are built at the top of a high hill (bottom photo - yes I'm afraid that old codger is me). I'm not clear if they had to haul the stones up the hill, or did they find them at the top?

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