On 11 Dec 97 at 11:32, Tom wrote:
> So how do you explain Newgrange and numerous other cairns which dot
> Ireland and Scotland?
As you say later in your letter, they predate the Celts by about 2000
> Their construction also predates the arrival of what today are
> considered "Celts" in those isles. Some historians believe they were
> built by an earlier, undocumented wave of Celts, but that remains
I think it is fairly well established that the people who we now know
as Celts first appeared about 2700 years ago. We simply don't know
who built the burial mounds such as Newgrange.
> What the archeological record does make certain, however, is that the
> later Celts certainly USED Newgrange and other cairns, even though they
> didn't build them. So it seems apparent that they did certainly mark the
> passining of the solstices.
Yes, they used Newgrange but we don't know for what purpose. I
mentioned in another mail that Newgrange features in Celtic mythology
as the home of the sidhe and as CuChullain's place of conception. It
is most likely that they never actually entered the chamber because
archaeological evidence suggests that the entrance had been buried
when part of the structure collapsed prior to the arrival of the
Celts in Ireland. So they didn't see the sunlight shining through
the roof-box and therefore couldn't have known that it had any
connection with the winter solstice.