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Fourknocks Passage Tomb
 

County

Meath

Coordinates

N 53° 35' 47.7"   W 006° 19' 35.1"

Nearest town

Naul

Grid Ref.

O 10854 62028

Map No.

43

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

158

Date of visit

Wednesday 28 May 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The Fourknocks passage tomb appears like a green mound as approaching from the south.


The famous Fourknocks passage tomb is at the end of a 150 metres long path. The access to the passage is closed by a steel doorway. The keys can be obtained from Mr. Fintan White, who lives in a cottage one mile away, upon a deposit of 20 euro.
From a distance it appears like a mound, the door is on the other side of the mound, facing north-northeast (25°). The passage is 3.30 metres long, about 90 centimetres wide and 1.45 metres high. At the end of the passage is an oval central area with a diameter of about 6 metres, with three square chambers departing to 120°, 200° and 270°. The three chambers are not similar in size and decoration. The one to 120° is the smallest one, it measures about 1.30 metres of height, 77 centimetres of width and 90 centimetres of depth, the slabs that form the chamber are plain and undecorated. In this chamber the excavations revealed the lowest quantity of cremated bones. The chamber to 200° had the largest quantity of remains and artefacts. With its height of 1.45 metres, a width of 1 metre and a depth of 1.10 metres is the second in size. It has a massive lintel, about 50 centimetres thick, decorated with 6 series of 4 angular and concentric waves. The chamber to 270° has a height of 1.17 metres, a width of 84 centimetres and a depth of 1.32 metres. This too has a massive and more regular decorated lintel, which is about 40 centimetres thick, with 3 series of 10 angular and concentric waves.
Upon entering the mound, at the end of the short passage, high on the right-hand side there's another large decorated stone with four series of angular waves. This stone is 2.52 metres long and about 60 centimetres thick. On the opposite side of the passage there's a large and rounder stone decorated with concentric circles, which is about 1 metre long and 45 centimetres thick. Right under this stone, vertical on the ground, is a slab which has the only antropomorphic image known from that period. A last decorated orthostat with measures of about 1 metre of height and 77 centimetres of width is between the west chamber and the end of the passage. This also carries a decoration of concentric circles.
During the excavations the remains of at least 60 individuals, including more than 20 children, were found in the three chambers and along the passage.
The roof of the passage tomb might have been of timber, but after the excavations it was replaced with a concrete dome with openings that let natural light enter and illuminate the chambers.
This is an amazing place, rich in details, but without the suffocating crowd of a site like Knowth and Newgrange. Once in the tomb it seems that the outer world doesn't exist anymore!


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