The Neolithic chambers of Brú na Bóinne
Slane Travel Blog› entry 4 of 7 › view all entries
June 6th, 2008 – by: Adrian_Liston
Luke drove us from Dublin to Slane, unphased by his first time driving on the left-hand side of the road. Slane is a tiny village north of Dublin, of only around 1000 people. It has Slane Castle (unfortunately closed on Fridays), the Four Sisters (four large stone houses at the intersection of the two highways, by legend built facing inwards so that the four nosey sisters could spy on each other) and a number of rather crummy places to eat.
We were in Slane to visit Brú na Bóinne, one of the three World Heritage sites on the island of Ireland. It is one of the largest prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe, in fact of the 900 or so megalithic carvings in Europe, around 600 are in Brú na Bóinne. The area has multiple ancient complexes (older than Stonehenge or the Pyramids), including chamber tombs, standing stones and henges, dating back as old as 3500 BCE. Remains found at Brú na Bóinne have been used to reconstruct the life history of the ancient peoples, showing that on average men lived to be 29 and were 5'8", while women lived to be 26 and were 5'6" (but a small number of people lived out into their 50s).
We went to the burial mound of Newgrange. The mound at Newgrange is 76m across and 12m tall, built in a circle on the hill-top to house the narrow 18m long passage into the small central chamber (with a 6m high roof).
It was very interesting to see, and even more to be inside, this ancient monument. Mind-boggelling to think that genetically we are identical to these ancient peoples, and any child of theirs raised today would be indistinguishable from us, and conversely the break in the transmission of modern science for a single generation would make our children indistinguishable from them.
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