Newgrange Ireland

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George Eogan
Professor George Eogan entering a souterrain at Knowth when he brought the Committee for Archaeology from the European Science Foundation on a tour of the Boyne Valley at the weekend.

Newgrange - April 1984 ­ Irish Times

Sir, - Like your correspondent, Ursula Walsh (March 26th), I was disappointed that the article about the Boyne Culture on March 17th did not mention the recent findings of Martin Brennan (Stars and Stones). Mr Brennan claims that many of the megalithic monuments in the Boyne Valley and the Loughcrew region were used for calendrical purposes; if his theory is accepted, these structures will assume a new significance for our understanding of the development of Neolithic culture in Western Europe. Radio carbon dating shows that Newgrange is at least as old as the oldest parts of Stonehenge and Irish megaliths may provide valuable data for the emerging science of archaeoastronomy. For a critical assessment of the state of archaeoastronomy, readers may refer to "Megalithic Science" by Douglas Heggie (1981).

Ireland has a rich heritage of field monuments which are tangible links with its ancient inhabitants. This heritage is in jeopardy from mechanised farming and farm improvement. In the booklet "Monuments in Danger" produced by the Royal Society of Antiquaries in Ireland, it is estimated that about 30 per cent of ancient field monuments have been destroyed since the beginning of the last century and most of this has happened in the past two decades. Megaliths which are astronomically aligned are particularly vulnerable to disturbance as the components may be widely separated and appear unconnected.

We have a responsibility to future generations to identify, study and protect these unique parts of our cultural heritage; time is running out and decisive action must be taken before it is too late ­ Yours etc.

Co. Dublin

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Boyne Valley Private Day Tours

Boyne Valley Tours Pick up and return to your accommodation or cruise ship. Suggested day tour: Newgrange World Heritage site, 10th century High Crosses at Monasterboice, Hill of Tara the seat of the High Kings of Ireland and the Hill of Slane where St. Patrick let a Paschal fire in 433  More ...