Sample essay on Newgrange Essay

Published: 2020-02-15 22:50:47
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Category: Archaeology

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Nestled in a ridge near a bend in the Boyne River in Ireland is one of the most amazing examples of ancient monuments that can still be seen today. This monument is called Newgrange. It is a megalithic passage tomb that predates Stonehenge by roughly 1,000 years, according to carbon dating done at the site. The area surrounding Newgrange is rich with ancient Irish history and Newgrange is no exception. Newgrange was built around 3200 BC. Experts believe that it would have taken a group of 300 workers around 30 years to complete the tomb. After the people who built Newgrange stopped using it, the tomb became largely unrecognizable over time. It wasnt until 1699, when material was being removed for use on roads, that Newgrange became known to modern man. Between 1962 and 1975, archaeologists restored and excavated the site. They discovered an amazing wealth of prehistoric artwork both inside and outside of the tomb. They were also able to get a very good idea of how Newgrange was built and why it was built the way it was. The exterior of Newgrange is a large mound of rocks and turf that is roughly 280 ft. in diameter.

The mound is retained by 97 kerbstones that skirt its base. Most of them have very clear examples of prehistoric Irish artwork carved into them. Outside of Newgrange there are also 12 standing stones that were likely placed at the site roughly 100 years after the tomb was built. Some archaeologists believe that they were once part of a group of 38 stones that once encircled the mound. During the excavation of Newgrange, a large amount of white quartz was found at the base of the mound on the southeast side. This lead the man who was leading the excavation to believe that there had once been a wall there. So, during restoration, a new wall of quartz and granite was built on the southeast rim of the mound. Some archaeologists believe that the original wall never existed and that the addition of the new wall was a mistake.

Through the entrance to Newgrange there is a passage that goes in 62 feet to the burial chamber. The passage is decorated in the same fashion as the kerbstones, as are the burial chamber and its adjacent rooms. There is also a specially designed roof box over the entrance to Newgrange. It allows light to shine through the passage onto the chamber floor during sunrise on the winter solstice. The light lingers for around 17 minutes and also occurs a few days before and after the winter solstice. The main chamber of Newgrange sports a fantastic example of a corbelled roof. It is also here that archaeologists found the remains of two burials and three cremations.

There are also three rooms off of the main chamber. It is widely believed that the burial chamber and its adjacent rooms were used for rituals. Despite the controversy concerning the authenticity of some of the reconstruction done at Newgrange, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland. The fact of the matter is that without the reconstruction we wouldnt be able to see much of what is there today. It is likely that most of it would still be buried. Whether or not Newgrange is in its exact original state, it is still a wonderful example of ancient architecture that we are lucky to be able to view in modern times.

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