Sacredness



Caves


Stones


Mountains


Trees


Water


BIBLIOGRAPHY


© 1998 (text only) Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe

An exploration of how and why places become invested with SACREDNESS and how the SACRED is embodied or made manifest through ART and ARCHITECTURE


NEWGRANGE, IRELAND

Newgrange, built around 3,200 BCE and recently restored, is a great circular mound of earth and stone 250 feet in diameter encircled by a ring of standing stones. The interior is solid except for a single stone-lined and stone-capped passage 62 feet long and 3 feet wide which terminates close to the centre of the mound in main chamber with a corbelled vault 20 feet high and three recessed chambers.

The entrance, in front of which is a massive curbstone (10 feet long, 4 feet high) carved with spirals and lozenges, incoporates a roof box which allows the sun, at sunrise on the morning of the winter solstice on December 21, to penetrate the full length of the interior passage all the way to the main chamber. A similar carefully calculated phenomenon is also found at Abu Simbel in Egypt.


Diagram showing the path of sunlight into Newgrange


Photograph showing sunlight shining through the roof box

Photograph showing sunlight entering the main chamber

Bibliography:

  • Michael J. O'Kelly, Newgrange: Archaeology, Art, and Legend, with contributions by Claire O'Kelly and others, London: Thames and Hudson, 1982.

  • Martin Brennan, The Stars and the Stones: Ancient Art and Astronomy in Ireland, London: Thames & Hudson, 1983.

  • Sean P. O'Ríordáin and Glyn Daniel, Newgrange and the Bend in the Boyne, London: Thames & Hudson, 1964.


SACRED PLACES is written and produced by Christopher L. C. E. Witcombe, Professor, Department of Art History, Sweet Briar College, Virginia, 24595 USA

Lascaux
France

Giza Plateau
Egypt

Stonehenge
England

Newgrange
Ireland

Abu Simbel
Egypt

Delphi
Greece

Athenian Acropolis
Greece

Holy Sepulchre
Israel

Dome of the Rock
Israel

Chartres
France

Lourdes
France

Shrine at Ise
Japan

Bodh Gaya
India

Teotihuacán
Mexico

St. Peter's Basilica
Italy

Mecca
Saudi Arabia

Mosque of Córdoba
Spain

Kata Tjuta
Australia