time, cairn material slipped off Newgrange and buried the
kerbstones, most of which remained totally hidden until excavations
began in the 1960s.
52 at Newgrange
smallest kerbstone is 1.7m long, the largest 4.5m. The diameter
of the kerb is between 79m (260ft) and 85m (280ft).
of the kerbstones are made of grit (grey-wacke) or slate,
and according to the archaeologists they were collected rather
to archaeologists, the best edges of the kerbstones were placed
at the top, while the bottom edges were put into sockets or
supported above the ground so that an even top line was formed
around the cairn.
line is not horizontal all the way around the mound, however.
The line of the kerb follows the contour of the ridge upon
which Newgrange sits.
Macalister attempted to expose the entire kerb in 1928, when
he and his workers began digging to the west of the entrance
stone and continued until they had revealed 54 stones. At
this point, the landowner objected and the work was halted!
kerb was constructed in such a way as to curve inwards on
either side of the entrance to the passage. This is a common
feature which is found in many Irish passage-tombs.
famous entrance stone at Newgrange, kerbstone 1
the often repeated prediction that the highly-decoratede kerbstone
52 marked an entrance to a possible second passage on
the northwestern side of Newgrange, no such passage was found
or indicated during archaeological work.
of the kerbstones were decorated before being put into place.
Some stones were found with art on their rear, side and on
the surface touching the ground. Other kerbstones, such as
Kerb 1 and Kerb 52, were decorated in situ.
excavations it was found that some kerbstones were not placed
in sockets, but rather on top of a bed or layer of turves.