It is said the white quartz stones on the side, and skylights or the ‘roof box’ at Newgrange reflected light. Newgrange (Irish: Sí an Bhrú) is a 1.1 acre prehistoric monument in County Meath in Ireland, located on a rise overlooking the River Boyne. It was built around 3200 BC. The main monument in the Brú na Bóinne is up to 12 meters or 39ft high, an incredible accomplishment for this time. An estimated 200,000 tonnes of material was used there to build it, including multiple layers of earth and stone, in the grass roof. Its composition of other smaller henges, burial mounds and standing stones make, Brú na Bóinne, Newgrange or Sí an Bhrú a world heritage site.
It is believed they pulled and shaped many of the white quartz from the river, and moved in position rolling logs. It probably also took decades to construct.
The skylight or “roof box” above the entrance, is “proven without doubt, that it was deliberately aligned to the sunrise of the winter solstice”. During this time, it shone 60 feet down a hallway past megaliths, and megalithic art, into a barrial chamber.
The front entry way stone has also been described as one of the most important pieces of megalithic art. Triskele-like features found on it are almost three metres long and 1.2 metres high (10 ft long and 4 ft high), and its weight is about five tonnes.
Back in Neolithic times, we didn’t understand forces of nature. Most say we still don’t.
One thing is for certain though, we may be able to harness its beauty for these brief and precise moments.
Bibliography: Renfrew, Colin, in O’Kelly, Michael J. 1982. Newgrange: Archaeology, Art and Legend. London: Thames and Hudson.
Phillips, W.E.A.; M. Corcoran; E. Eogan (2001), Identification of the source area for megaliths used in the construction of the Neolithic passage graves of the Boyne Valley, Co. Meath. Unpublished report for the Heritage Council., Department of Geology, Trinity College Dublin, archived from the original on 12 December 2011. Retrieved Aug 2022
Eriksen, Palle (2008). “The Great Mound of Newgrange, An Irish Multi-Period Mound Spanning from the Megalithic Tomb Period to the Early Bronze Age”. Acta Archaeologica. 79 (1): 250–273. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0390.2008.00118.x.