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Martin Brennan

Martin Brennan
The most exciting discovery yet in the Boyne Valley.

American finds world's oldest sundial in Ireland by Bairbre Power

An American researcher working in Ireland has discovered what is thought to be the first scientific instrument used by man ­ in a megalithic passage-mound in Co Meath.

Thirty-nine year old New Yorker Martin Brennan, who cracked the code of the earliest form of writing known in the world while studying Irish Stone Age art, made his latest discovery of a 5,000-year old sundial while examining a passage-mount in the Boyne Valley which was first excavated by Irish archaeologists in the 1940's.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent, Martin outlined the latest, most exciting discovery yet to come from the Boyne Valley.

Measuring a mere 18 inches, the 5,000-year-old stone sundial is divided into eight perfect sections, which enabled its Stone Age creators to tell the time of the day with extreme precision.

And though sundials thousands of years old have been excavated throughout Europe ­ the most recent being a Roman sundial discovered two months ago by German archaeologists ­ experts believe that the sundial discovered under a pile of stone in Co. Meath in 1980 is the oldest and most invaluable ever found.

According to Martin, who has been studying megalithic Irish art for the last ten years, Ireland's megalithic tombs and passage mounds contain a wealth of Stone Age art and astrological material yet to be uncovered, but they are suffering from appalling neglect and some of the most important passage-mounds excavated in the past in Co. Meath have been completely ignored and even blocked up, he claims.

"One passage-mound, which clearly illustrates so far alignment far better than Newgrange does, has been completely blocked up, and for some reason, a lot of attention is being focused solely on Newgrange."

In researching Ireland's megalithic mounds and bombs, Martin says that there is overwhelming evidence that Newgrange, was not first discovered in 1969, as is claimed.

"The solar alignment in Newgrange was written about as far back as 1897 by Irish writer George Russell (A E) who, in "The Dream of Aengus Oge", spoke of a light glowing and obliterating the stone walls and lighting up the antique symbols on the passage-mounds.

"And though American anthropologists and British astronomers were writing about the phenomenon in the 1910's, some Irish people still believe that the secret of Newgrange was only discovered as late as thirteen years ago."

Martin, who is currently writing a book The Stars and the Stones for London publishers Thames and Hudson, will be giving a lecture in Dublin tomorrow night on his latest findings.

The lecture, organised by the Irish Astrological Society is being held at Carroll's Theatre, Grand Parade at 8p.m.

Sunday Independent 18/04/82

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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 ...