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"Newgrange was not a tomb" says author of new book
The writer of a new book about Newgrange challenges the belief the monument was a grave
A new book challenges the claim that the 5,200-year-old Stone Age monument at Newgrange was a burial tomb. Chris O'Callaghan, author of "Newgrange Temple to Life" argues that the classification of Newgrange as a passage-grave "seriously misrepresents" what the ancient people who built the monument were about.
said there was "no sign . . . that Newgrange had been used as a catacomb,
a mortuary, necropolis, royal or otherwise, or a crematorium. Despite
the assumptions, there is not the faintest evidence that Newgrange had
ever been used as any sort of dedicated repository for bodies, bones,
burial artefacts or ash."
"At no time have reports, or even later excavations, shown that there were any signs of the purposeful storage of human bones and ash within the Newgrange monument."
the very few and mostly fragmented human bones found within the monument,
the 1962-75 researchers recorded that "their minute and careful examination
suggests that in total, parts of only five persons were counted
there were a few human bones within the monument is not questioned. But
as an overwhelming proportion of the bones discovered were unidentified
fragments or animal bones, to classify the few human fragments as human
He claims that the bone fragments found in the chamber could have been taken in there by animals after Newgrange fell into disuse. "Agile carnivores would have encountered little difficulty sliding their sinuous bodies between the debris of the collapsing curtain wall and mound to find a safe refuge, carrying body parts, a few human, mostly animal, that the beasts had scavenged, an easy and natural likelihood."
He said their powerful jaws would have "chomped and fragmented" the bones to the state in which they were discovered 4,000 years later. "But as far as the passage grave classification is concerned, there is no hint that the pieces of fragmented bone, discovered mixed with the sand and grit on the floor of the monument, can be even remotely linked to sacrifice or burial activities," he claimed.
Chris O'Callaghan was born in Salisbury, Rhodesia. At the beginning of 2000, after many years in marketing, he and his wife, Barbara Barrett, left southern Africa to settle in the peaceful Irish countryside. Here the length and richness of Irish history soon persuaded him to turn from researching the O'Callaghan family tree, to writing.