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Knowth

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Knowth Megalithic Passage Tomb

The Great Mound at Knowth
The Great Mound at Knowth

The Great Mound was built over 5000 years ago, probably after the construction of Newgrange and before the construction of Dowth. The Great Mound at Knowth is similar in size to Newgrange and is surrounded by 18 smaller satellite mounds. The Great Mound has two passages with entrances on opposite sides, the western passage is 34 metres long and the eastern passage is 40 metre long, ending with a cruciform chamber.

Aerial view of Knowth Images of Knowth with the option to display larger images.

In this aerial view of Knowth the enclosure on top of the mound is a Medieval Grange, the waterway to the rear is the River Boyne.

Knowth and the other megalithic sites of the Boyne Valley were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993. There is no direct access to the Knowth site, access is by guided tour from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre located close to the village of Donore on the south bank of the river Boyne. Guided Tours of Knowth are from April to October, for exact dates and more information see Visitor Centre.


George Eogan and his team of Archaeologists began excavating the Great Mound and the smaller surrounding mounds at Knowth in 1962, five years later they discovered the first passage and chamber. Subsequent excavation revealed a second passage and chamber and a collection of decorated stones that comprises a quarter of Western European Neolithic art. More ...
Western Passage - Orthostats 48 & 49


Knowth Kerbstone Secrets from the Grave - Irish Times article where George Eogan talks about uncovering 18 satellite tombs around the great mound at Knowth. They also found evidence of pottery, houses and flint artefacts from a pre-passage-tomb stage of early Neolithic settlement around 4000 BC. More ...


Knowth from The Sacred Island by Martin Byrne.

Engraved Knowth Kerbstone K15, possibly a sundial or lunar calendar. Drawing by Martin Brennan superimposed using Photoshop by Martin Byrne.
Knowth Kerbstone K15, possibly a sundial or lunar calendar


Orthostat 47 from the back of the eastern chamber at Knowth Lunar Maps at Knowth - the carvings on orthostat 47 at the end of the chamber in the eastern passage have been identified by Philip J. Stooke as lunar maps. The right-hand section appears to be a map of the lunar maria. The remaining two sections of the carving are simpler but crudely similar to the first, sharing the overall arc shape of the maria surrounding the lunar central highlands as well as an isolated spot representing Mare Crisium.


Knowth from Mythical Ireland by Anthony Murphy.

Calendar stone - a kerbstone at Knowth which shows that the people who constructed the great mound were well aware of what we call the 'Metonic Cycle' of the moon.

Lunar Stone - a 5000-year-old stone device used to calculate the lengths of the lunar tropical month, synodic month, and the length of the year.
Orthostat 44 in the western passage at Knowth

Knowth Kerbstone 5

Kerbstones

There are 124 surviving Kerbstones at the base of the main mound at Knowth. The kerb is roughly circular and measures 80 metres (east-west) by 95 metres (north-south). The Kerbstones are generally oblong in shape and average 2.5 metres in length. More ...

Equinox sunrise/sunset alignment?

Summary of surveys undertaken by Frank Prendergast and Tom Ray to determine and interpret the alignments of the western and eastern passage tombs at Knowth. The findings indicate that contrary to earlier suggestions, the eastern passage and the western passage are not aligned towards sunrise and sunset respectively at the equinoxes. More ...
The elevated sun viewed from close to the entrance of the western passage

  • Knowth - A Virtual Tour by Bryn Coldrick.
  • Knowth by Jeffrey May from the magazine Current Archaeology.
  • Knowth from an Archaeoastronomy point of view by Paul Griffin. Archaeoastronomy is the study and interpretation of solar, lunar and stellar alignments found at Megalithic Sites and other ancient sites such as the Pyramids
  • Knowth from Geniet by Victor Reijs, includes cross sections of the Great Mound and good technical data.
  • Irish Historical Mysteries by Sean Murphy. "It has now become clear that Knowth is an even more fascinating monument than Newgrange, containing as it does not one but two chambers, and holding on its site the remarkable total of one-quarter of the known megalithic art of Europe."
     
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Knowth Eastern Passage
Eastern Passage at Knowth.
 
The eastern passage of the Great Mound at Knowth measures 40 metres, making it the longest megalithic passage in Western Europe. At the end of the passage is a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof similar in style to Newgrange.
Knowth Plan
Stonelight
       
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