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meaning for other features on the kerbstones, such as wavy lines. Although seemingly ad hoc, these ideas merit consideration because they are applied in a context in which alignment and shadow effect appear to be genuine. One possible alternative has been suggested. Stooke (1994) maintains that the "crescents" are actually fairly realistic images of the maria of the Moon rather than stylistic images of a crescent Moon. We find this unconvincing.

Dowth is the third great funerary site in the Boinne valley complex. The layout is seen in Figure 6.7. Examples of ornamentation at the exterior and interior of this site can be seen in Figure 6.15. Note the spirals on the entrance kerbstone and circle and starburst symbols in the interior.

Differences of motifs have been magnified into separate "styles" in megalithic art to an extent that seems baffling to an outsider. DHK does not think that the decorative

Figure 6.13. Ornamentation on a kerbstone at Knowth, as it appeared on a visit to the site in August 1990: Spiral structures strongly suggest solar and calendrical concerns, and the radiating lines from the central shallow depression invoke the features of a vertical sundial. If it was indeed used as such, it would be the earliest known sundial. Photos by E.F. Milone.

Figure 6.13. Ornamentation on a kerbstone at Knowth, as it appeared on a visit to the site in August 1990: Spiral structures strongly suggest solar and calendrical concerns, and the radiating lines from the central shallow depression invoke the features of a vertical sundial. If it was indeed used as such, it would be the earliest known sundial. Photos by E.F. Milone.

symbols should be classified into separate styles unless there is objective external evidence of differences of distribution that can be linked clearly either with specifiable geographic areas, time periods, or both.

The monuments in the bend of the Boinne have been referred to as a complex. This might be taken to imply that all were built at about the same time, or that a major and continuing plan was in effect. In a more limited sense, it must at least imply that similar or identical governing concepts determined the placement of newer features in ways that were congruent with those already there. We think that even a cursory examination of the layout of the area supports the view that it is, indeed, a complex in at least the latter sense. The east-west line through mound U to the great Newgrange mound, to mound L (off-center) and mound K, may be such an indication because it is parallel (as any east-west alignment must be) to the equinoctial alignment of Knowth. Another may be the north-south line through the New-grange mound and the earthen ring or henge to the south,

Figure 6.14. Ornamentation on kerbstone 52 shows possible lunar representations. Drawing by Sharon Hanna.

paralleling an alignment involving mound K. Although one is disposed to give weight to the argument that astronomical alignments were being replicated, somewhat higher weight could be given to less obvious geometric factors that influence the placement of monuments. For example, the alignments through the Dowth mound to the NE and through the Knowth mound to the NW are both at angles between 31° and 34° north of the east-west line through Newgrange. Each is on top of a separate ridge, and this purely topographic feature seems to be of central importance in determining the relative distances. More details can be found in Brennan (1983, pp. 70-71) and O'Kelly (1982/1984, pp. 83-84), where reference is made also to work by J. Patrick.

Not only is the Brugh na Boinne complex well marked in astronomical and artistic contexts, but it is also the only set of megalithic monuments in Europe that is directly relatable to pre-Christian myths and clearly incorporate astronomical motifs. However, words of warning are in order. We know of no one who would maintain that Celtic mythology is an unmodified representation of the views of megalithic farmers.

Even if existing stories and scraps of information allow us to glean some aspects of belief in the late centuries b.c., it must be remembered that Celtic warriors in their chariots at that time were as far removed temporally from the builders of Newgrange as we are from those Celts. Nonetheless, Brugh na Boinne plays a role in several Irish myths, which may well retain in modified form older beliefs. They should be considered in any attempt to determine the meaning of the site. In Irish, the common name for a mound is brugh, "mansion" and the different mounds are assigned to different gods. The mound of Newgrange is assigned to Oengus Mac nOg, spelled and interpreted in various ways. O'Rahilly (1946/1957, pp. 516-517) argues convincingly that Mac nOg is the Gaelic equivalent of the god known from British inscriptions as Maponos, and there identified as Apollo, although one need not accept all the linguistic details of O'Rahilly's argument. The name Maponos means "youth," whereas Mac nOg seems to incorporate the words for "boy, son" and for "young." Such names are typical for sun-gods,

Figure 6.15. (a) Exterior and (b) interior views of a tomb at Dowth, Ireland: Note the spiral on the kerbstone and the circle and starburst symbols within. Photos by E.F. Milone.

Figure 6.15. (a) Exterior and (b) interior views of a tomb at Dowth, Ireland: Note the spiral on the kerbstone and the circle and starburst symbols within. Photos by E.F. Milone.

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