10 May 2007 at 6:39 pm Leave a comment

KnowthKnowth is less well known than Newgrange. It is actually slightly bigger, being about 84m in diameter. The great mound of this most spectacular site is outlined by 127 massive kerbstones. There are two passages, aligned to face East and West. The west-facing one is an unbranching curved passage. The east-facing one is cross-shaped and similar to the one in Newgrange. It is claimed that these passages are aligned with the position of the rising and setting sun at the two equinoxes. This claim is not generally accepted and has not been verified.

Knowth has a huge amount of stone carvings. It is reckoned that one quarter of all Europe’s neolithic art is held within Knowth! The same spirals appear throughout Knowth, as well as other patterns based on diamonds and chevrons.

While some people dispute the fact that the primary purpose of these mounds was as tombs, there is no doubt that many people were interred there. The remains of 200 people were discovered in Knowth. The stone age practise was to cremate the bodies outside, then place the remains in a hollow in a special stone within the burial chamber called the basin stone. The basin stone in Knowth’s western passage is no longer in the burial chamber. In 1000 AD, somebody tried to remove it from the mound, not realising it was bigger than the passage. It got stuck in the passage and remains there to this day.

Tours of Knowth are available from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre. The tour does not allow visitors into the passages themselves.


Entry filed under: knowth, neolithic, passage tomb.

Newgrange Poulnabrone dolmen

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