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The passage tombs, archaeology and landscape of Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site

Table of Contents

Introduction 2

Brú na Bóinne Archaeological Complex 2

Neolithic Life in Brú na Bóinne 2

When was the Neolithic period? 2

A changing landscape 3

The importance of the river 3

Neolithic tombs 4

Passage Tombs 4

What is a passage tomb? 4

Introduction

Knowth

Dowth

Newgrange

Visitor Centre

The position of the monuments within the bend in the Boyne

Brú na Bóinne Archaeological Complex

Brú na Bóinne is about eight kilometres inland from Drogheda and describes an area where the river Boyne meanders into a dramatic loop or bend. Brú na Bóinne (The palace or mansion of the Boyne) is the name given to one of the world’s most important archaeological landscapes. Today about forty mounds can be seen within the complex, dominated by the three great passage tombs of Knowth, Dowth and Newgrange.

In recognition of the international importance of this archaeological landscape, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), has designated the Brú na Bóinne area a World Heritage Site. Sites selected for World Heritage listing are deemed to be of outstanding universal value to humanity and approved on the basis of their merits as the best possible examples of cultural or natural heritage. The passage tombs, associated monuments and Visitor Centre at Brú na Bóinne are in the care of the Office of Public Works.

Most of the information we have on the monuments at Brú na Bóinne is as a direct result of archaeological investigation. Excavations at Newgrange and Knowth began in 1962 by Professor Michael J. O’Kelly and Professor George Eogan respectively. Investigations at Newgrange lasted thirteen years, while those at Knowth lasted nearly forty.

Neolithic Life in Brú na Bóinne

When was the Neolithic period?

The earliest inhabitants of Ireland arrived around 8000 BC and were known as hunter-gatherers due to their nomadic lifestyle, hunting local wildlife such as red deer and wild boar, and gathering naturally occurring foodstuffs like nuts and berries. This was the ...

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