Archaeological Ensemble of the Bend of the Boyne*
UNESCO World Heritage Site

File:Bru na Boinne - Newgrange.jpg
State Party Irlanda Irlanda
Type Cultural
Criteria i, iii, iv
Reference 659
Region** Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1993  (17th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.

Brú na Bóinne (Irish for Palace of the Boyne) is a World Heritage Site in County Meath, Ireland and is the largest and one of the most important prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe. It is a complex of Neolithic chamber tombs, standing stones, henges and other prehistoric enclosures, some dating from as early as 35th century BC - 32nd century BC. The site predates the Egyptian pyramids and was built with sophistication and a knowledge of science and astronomy, which is most evident in the passage grave of Newgrange. The site is often referred to as the "Bend of the Boyne" and this is often (incorrectly) taken to be a translation of Brú na Bóinne (Palace of the Boyne). In 1690 it was the site of the famous Battle of the Boyne.

The site covers 780ha and contains around 40 passage graves, as well as other prehistoric sites and later features. The majority of the monuments are concentrated on the north side of the river. The most well-known sites within Brú na Bóinne are the impressive passage graves of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth all famous for their significant collections of megalithic art. Each stands on a ridge within the river bend and two of the tombs, Knowth and Newgrange appear to contain stones re-used from an earlier monument at the site. There is no in situ evidence for earlier activity at the site, save for the spotfinds of flint tools left by Mesolithic hunters.

Numerous other enclosure and megalith sites have been identified within the river bend and have been given simple letter designations, such as the M Enclosures. In addition to the three famous tombs, several other ceremonial sites constitute the complex including:

Each of the three main megalith sites have significant archaeoastronomical significance. Newgrange and Dowth have Winter solstice solar alignments, while it is claimed Knowth has an Equinox solar alignment. In addition, the immediate environs of the main sites have been investigated for other possible alignments. The layout and design of the Brú na Bóinne complex across the valley has also been studied for astronomical significance.

As well as being surrounded its southern, western and eastern sides by the Boyne, one of the Boyne's tributaries, the Mattock, runs along the northern edge, almost completely surrounding Brú na Bóinne with water. All but two of the prehistoric sites are within this river isthmus.

Brú na Bóinne Visitor CentreEdit

All access to Newgrange and Knowth is by guided tour only: tours begin at the Visitor Centre in Donore, Co. Meath.

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  • Lewis-Williams, D and Pearce, D, Inside the Neolithic Mind, Thames and Hudson, London, 2005, ISBN 0500051380

External linksEdit

Template:World Heritage Sites in Ireland

Coordinates: 53°41′34″N 6°26′58″W / 53.69284°N 6.44932°W / 53.69284; -6.44932cs:Brú na Bóinne de:Brú na Bóinne es:Brú na Bóinne eo:Brú na Bóinne fr:Brú na Bóinne ga:Brú na Bóinne he:ברו נא בוין lt:Bru na Boinas hu:Brú na Bóinne ja:ブルー・ナ・ボーニャ pl:Brú na Bóinne pt:Conjunto Arqueológico do Vale do Boyne ru:Бру-на-Бойн fi:Bend of the Boyne zh:博因河河曲考古遗址

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