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Stone Age art inside Newgrange

'Ship' stone drawing


This is my drawing of the symbol carved into a stone in the chamber of Newgrange which has been called by some the 'ship'. It is engraved onto the lower portion of stone C4, which is located on the northern side of the western recess of Newgrange.

George Coffey, the former keeper of Irish antiquities in the National Museum, Dublin, noted that: "In my memoir on the tumuli of New Grange, Dowth and Knowth, I have illustrated several examples of ship figures from the Swedish rocks. These I compared with somewhat similar figures on stones in a tumulus at Locmariaker, in Brittany, and with a figure in the chamber at New Grange. From a comparison of the forms I argued that the most probable explanation of the latter was that it was a rude representation of a ship.

According to Clare O'Kelly (Illustrated Guide to Newgrange, 1971 (1967), "doubt has been cast on the antiquity of the markings since they are alien to the rest of the Newgrange ornament but they are certainly there since before 1770AD. The visitor must choose his own interpretation."


This is the beautiful ornament on the roof of the east recess. The large spiral is about a foot in diameter.

Brennan says of the stone: "The Newgrange artists . . . expanded brilliantly on the theme of the sun manifested in its divisions and cycles of time. The quadrangle is directly linked to the sunwheel, and there are two spirals of 8 turnings. The double wheel suggests the sun and the moon and the concentric development of 5 ovals possible represents Venus.

The stone was decorated before being positioned, according to Brennan.

East recess ceiling

East recess corbel

Decoration on the corbel of the east recess.

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