Although Knowth is not the most famous of the passage tombs in the Boyne valley personally I think it is the real gem of the Bru na Boinne complex. Excavations began here in 1962 and it was not until 1967 and 1968 that the two passage-tombs were discovered. These passages are opposite each other, the western passage is a 34 metre long undifferentiated passage tomb and the Eastern has a 40 metre long passage leading to a 7 metre high cruciform chamber. The thing that makes Knowth really special is the amount of passage stones and kerbstones that feature rock art, a total of 261 stones at Knowth are decorated, approximately 45% of the total of engraved megalithic stones in Ireland.

The only way you will gain admission to Knowth is through the Bru na Boinne visitor centre on the Donore road, where there is a permanent exhibition of artefacts on display all of these on show are replicas, the originals are now in the National Museum of Ireland. As can be seen in the picture above Knowth has a number of satellite mounds encircling the main mound, seventeen in total most of which are passage tombs. There is also a reconstruction of a wooden henge that stood outside the eastern passage, pictured right.

Reconstructed Henge.

Macehead replica.

Amongst the artefacts found in the Eastern passage tomb were a giant basin, also known as the Dagdas cauldron, found in the right hand recess of the chamber and now in the National Museum and a beautifully engraved macehead carved from flint, pictured left. A small stone phallus was also found in the Western passage. It is now believed that the passages at Knowth have a lunar alignment rather than being aligned to the spring and Autumn equinoxes as first thought.

Pictured left is one of the smaller passage mounds viewed from the top of the main mound. There are a total of 127 kerbstones surrounding the great mound at Knowth, most of which are decorated in some way, and supporting the suspected lunar alignment of the passages these kerbstones are thought to bear lunar symbols or lunar calculations. There are two numbering systems for the Kerbstones The first Number is George Eogans and the numbers in brackets are from Martin Brennans numbering system.


Satellite site Number 15

Kerbstone 1 (NE10)

Kerbstone 2 (NE9)

Kerbstone 3 (NE8)

Kerbstone 4 (NE7)

Kerbstone 5 (NE6)

Kerbstone 6 (NE5)

Kerbstone 7 (NE4)

Kerbstone 8 (NE3)

Kerbstone 9 (NE2)

Kerbstone 10 (NE1)

Pictured right is the entrance to the Eastern passage with the decorated entrance stone known as kerbstone 11. You can also see the bridge which allows access to the passage and the newly constructed visitors chamber..


Kerbstone 11 (East 0) entrance stone

Kerbstone 12 (SE1)

Kerbstone 13 (SE2)

Kerbstone 14 (SE3)

Kerbstone 15 (SE4)

Kerbstone 16 (SE5)

Kerbstone 17 (SE6)

Kerbstone 18 (SE7)

Kerbstone 19 (SE8)

Kerbstone 20 is one of three kerbstones that are missing. From here Martin Brennans numbering system makes a slight adjustment as some of the stones were still buried when he estimated that there were 134 kerbstones.

The image of kerbstone 19 is by John Donnellan.

Kerbstone 21 (SE27)

Kerbstone 22 (SE28)

Kerbstone 23 (SE29)

Kerbstone 24 (SE30)

Kerbstone 25 (SE31)

Kerbstone 26 (SE32)

Kerbstone 27 (SE33)

Kerbstone 28 (SE34)

Kerbstone 29 (SE35)

Kerbstone 30 (S 0)

Kerbstone 31

Kerbstone 322

Kerbstone 33

Kerbstone 34

Kerbstone 35

Kerbstone 36

Kerbstone 37 is also one of the three missing kerbstones. In time I will add drawings to the High resolution images in order to illustrate the rock art inscribed on some of the kerbstones.


Kerbstone 38

Kerbstone 39

Kerbstone 40

Kerbstone 41

Kerbstone 42

Kerbstone 43

Kerbstone 44 (SW30)

Kerbstone 45 (SW29)

Kerbstone 46 (SW28)

Kerbstone 47 (SW27)

Kerbstone 48 (SW26)

Kerbstone 49 (SW25)

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