December 21, 2020 Winter Solstice at Newgrange
Ireland, Neolithic, Newgrange, Winter Solstice
Newgrange is a prehistoric monument in County Meath, Ireland, located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) west of Drogheda on the north side of the River Boyne. It 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. The mound has a retaining wall at the front, made mostly of white quartz cobblestones, and it is ringed by engraved kerbstones. Many of the larger stones of Newgrange are covered in megalithic art. The mound is also ringed by a stone circle. Some of the material that makes up the monument came from as far away as the Mournes and Wicklow Mountains. 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.
The original complex of Newgrange was built between c. 3200 and 3100 BC. According to carbon-14 dates, it is approximately five hundred years older than the current form of Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, as well as predating the Mycenaean culture of ancient Greece.