Newgrange facts menubar
101 facts about Newgrange
Newgrange facts menubar

Newgrange index page

Live Webcast


Newgrange Monument to Immortality
Newgrange: Monument to Immortality book
Megalithic Art
A spiral inside Newgrange

A spiral inside Newgrange

81 Archaeologists categorise the range of motifs which make up the decoration on the stones of Newgrange. These categories are: circles, spirals, arcs, serpentiforms, dot-in-circles, zigzags (chevrons), lozenges, radials or star shapes, parallel lines, and offsets or comb-devices.

82 Of all the categories of motif, the most common at Newgrange are lozenge and zigzag (chevron). The lozenge is most prominent in the interior of the site.

83 In his study of "Megalithic Art in Ireland", Muiris O'Sullivan points out that by decorating the convex surface of the entrance kerbstone, Kerb 1, with a "curvilinear" arrangement, the artist has managed to make the stone look "considerably more massive" than it actually is.

84 Despite the presence of some of the most beautifully and intricately designed kerbstones (e.g. K1 and KI52), the kerb art at Newgrange does not match that of Knowth in terms of volume and overall grandeur.

85 The majority of decorated passage-mounds, accounting for more than four-fifths of the decorated stones, are located in Co. Meath, including Newgrange.

The "face" on stone L19

The "face" on stone L19 in the passage

86 About seven-tenths of the kerbstones uncovered during archaeological work at Newgrange are decorated with megalithic art.

The Triple Spiral at Newgrange

The famous "triple spiral" in the chamber. Click for more.


87 The famous so-called "triple spiral" on a standing stone in the central recess of the chamber actually consists of a total of six spirals.

88 Despite an apparent lack of megalithic art on some of the passage orthostats, every one of these stones features a style of decoration which archaeologists call "pick-dressing". On stones which feature other types of art, the pick-dressing tends to overlap onto the existing art.

89 An arragement of spirals, lozenges and zigzags on a passage orthostat (L19) has been interpreted by many people as representing a face, possibly a god or deity of some kind.

90 Curiously, some of the megalithic art at Newgrange was found on the reverse side of some of the kerbstones and chamber stones - in locations where they could not be seen.

Visit this page for more photos of the megalithic art inside Newgrange.

Newgrange facts bottom bar
Home | Ancient sites | Myths | Art | Astronomy | Stone Map | High Man | Forum | Awards