entrance to Newgrange
mound should be properly referred to as a cairn, because it
consists of water-rolled pebbles, each of which is between
6 to 9 inches across.
entire mound contains an estimated 200,000 tonnes of material,
and it has been estimated construction would have taken about
30 years using a workforce of about 300.
is not known with any certainty how the larger stones which
form the kerb and passage and chamber of Newgrange were brought
to the site. Many of these stone slabs, 550 in number, were
collected from where they had been lying in the landscape.
Because many of the stones were found to be weathered, it
is believed they were not quarried, so there would have been
a huge logistical task in finding suitable boulders dotted
throughout the landscape.
Newgrange sits atop a ridge, many of the large slabs would
have needed to be brought uphill, again suggesting a highly
organised community was behind its construction.
J. O'Kelly, who excavated Newgrange, felt that the workforce
involved in building Newgrange would have been divided up
into about six gangs or teams, each with its own set of tasks
and area of expertise.
and standing stones
is no doubt that the people in charge of Newgrange's construction,
from the master builder and architect down to the team foremen,
were "intelligent and experienced", according to
passage and chamber orthostats would have been put in place
before construction of the cairn itself actually began, and
it is probable the kerb would have been marked out at this
addition of grooves onto the top surface of the passage roof
stones shows that the builders were aware of the need to redirect
water seepage from the cairn, and therefore keep the passage
is known that the white quartz, which was found on the ground
in front of Newgrange during excavations, was not originally
placed there by the builders. Some of the kerbstones which
had fallen forward some time after the construction of the
monument were found to be directly in contact with the subsoil,
with no quartz beneath them.
estimates of the original height of Newgrange have been guessed
at in recent centuries, with some explorers of the site giving
estimates as high as 45.7 metres (150 feet). Archaeologists
believe the actual height would not have been much more than
11 to 13 metres.