A team of archaeologists lead by Professor Michael J O'Kelly from University College Cork have made fresh findings at the centre mound of Newgrange in County Meath.
Discovered in 1699 the megalithic passage-tomb of Newgrange, is considered to be one of the best decorated tombs of its type in Western Europe. Along with nearby Knowth and Dowth, Newgrange forms a complex of archaeological sites at Brú na Bóinne in County Meath.
Prior to repair work being undertaken at Newgrange, Professor O’Kelly from University College Cork UCC and his team are excavating the site, to ensure the archaeological value of the tomb itself will not be damaged. The monument,
Now needs some repairs, so it was thought that the time had come when we should do some investigation around the edge of the mound before these repairs are undertaken.
Professor O’Kelly's team consists of three students from Uppsala University in Sweden, two students from Harvard University and Helen Kelly and Elizabeth Murphy from UCC. They work alongside two local labourers.
Folklore says the High Kings of Tara were buried at Newgrange, but Professor O’Kelly dismisses this as Newgrange dates 2000 years before Tara became an important historical monument. He postulates that chieftains were buried inside, remaining untouched until the tomb was plundered in the ninth century by the Vikings.
Some of the new findings uncovered by Professor O'Kelly's team include decorated kerbstones with chevron ornamentation and an intriguing mound of turf, which may be part of the passage grave itself or part of a preexisting structure made before the great cairn was thrown up.
The question to be solved now is,
Whether this turf mound is the same or an earlier time than the tomb or whether it belongs to an earlier time.
The answer to this could provide a very valuable contribution to archaeology.
Ninety-year-old Anne Hickey, caretaker of Newgrange mound for sixty years describes the customs and local superstitions held about the mound. She says old people think fairies live there and they are
Terrified of them.
There is also a white lady connected with the mound. This woman vanished when Anne Hickey approached her, mistaking her for a friend.
I was very vexed that she disappeared so quick without me getting a chat with her.
This episode of ‘Newsview’ was broadcast on 14 August 1962. The reporter is Sean Egan.