Thursday, May 19, 2016

Newgrange - Ireland

I'm not only collecting cards from UNESCO sites, I also love to visit UNESCO sites and when I travel I always try to visit at least one site. In Ireland I visited Newgrange, the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, classified as WHS in 1993. 
The 1st of these cards was bought by me at the  Brú na Bóinne Visitor Center and the others were sent by Seamus, Claudia and Brian. 

Newgrange is a Stone Age monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland. It was built about 3200 BC during the Neolithic period, which makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. Newgrange is a large circular mound with a stone passageway and chambers inside. The mound is ringed by 'kerbstones' engraved with artwork. 
Archaeologists classified Newgrange as a passage tomb, however Newgrange is now recognised to be much more than a passage tomb. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance. 
The passage and chamber is aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice.

 Photography by Tom Kelly
IE-114018, sent by Seamus
On the mornings around the winter solstice, the rising sun shines directly along the long passage into the chamber for about 17 minutes and illuminates the chamber floor. Professor Michael J. O'Kelly was the first person in modern times to observe this event on 21st December 1967. The sun enters the passage through a specially contrived opening, known as a roofbox, directly above the main entrance. Although solar alignments are not uncommon among passage graves, Newgrange is one of few to contain the additional roofbox feature. 
The alignment is such that although the roofbox is above the passage entrance, the light hits the floor of the inner chamber.
Anyone visiting the historic site can experience an approximation of the phenomenon any time of year, and is often the highlight of the tour. A lottery is held annually for "tickets" to allow the holder into the tomb to view the actual event. 

 Photos by H. Rooney & M. Diggin
IE-42173, sent by Claudia.
The Newgrange monument primarily consists of a large mound, built of alternating layers of earth and stones, with grass growing on top and a reconstructed facade of white quartz stones studded at intervals with rounded cobbles covering part of the circumference. The mound is 76 metres (249 ft) across and 12 metres (39 ft) high, and covers 4,500 square metres (1 acre) of ground. Within the mound is a chambered passage, which can be accessed by an entrance on the south-eastern side of the monument. The passage stretches for 19 metres (60 ft), 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", which was where the bones of the dead were probably deposited. 

 Photo: Liam Blake
Newgrange contains various examples of Megalithic Art including circles, spirals, arcs, chevrons and lozenges, radials. One of the most notable examples of art at Newgrange is the triskele-like features found on the entrance stone. It is about 10 foot (2 meters). long and 4 foot (1.2 meters) high and about 5 tons in weight. It has been described as "one of the most famous stones in the entire repertory of megalithic art." Archaeologists believe that most of the carvings were produced prior to the stones being erected in place, although the entrance stone was instead carved in situ before the kerbstones were placed alongside it. - in

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