Newgrange Speaks for Itself

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Trafford Publishing, Nov 28, 2008 - Nature
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Firmly grounded in the structure and engravings of Newgrange, this book offers several revolutionary insights into both its science and its religious faith. Forty carved motifs are explained as emblems of site features which the builders provided to ensure an afterlife for the dead, including the nine carved rungs in the passage, the leak that delivered water to the chamber bowl and slab, the two round sockets in the rim of the bowl, the stone marbles found in the chamber, and the starry outviews originally possible through the chamber vault. The author argues that some of Michael O'Kelly's discoveries suggest Newgrange may have been retooled when precession displaced the targets of those outviews. The book explores the builders' competent astronomical and mathematical skills, and shows how these were combined with an afterlife faith capable of engaging both mind and spirit. A radical analysis of five related motifs exposes unexpectedly sophisticated characteristics of the Newgrangemen's mode of expression. The rich cluster of afterlife agencies identifiable at Newgrange, unique as a fingerprint, can also be recognized in certain myths, fairytales, religious traditions, and superstitious observances. Mrs. Garnett shows how these resources may shed light on the heretofore almost completely unknown afterlife faith and practice of these stone-age people.

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