Banner: Knocknarea at Sunset.
Kerbstone 67 at Newgrange.
Kerbstone 67 at Newgrange.

Kerbstone 67 at Newgrange.

Kerbstone 67 is located at the northern boundry of the mound and is due north from the triple spiral carved in the chamber. When Michael O'Kelly published his book on newgrange, the drawings and plans of the chamber were aligned to magnetic north rather than true north. This has given rise to an incorrect azimuth of 150° for the orientation of the passage, instead of 135°, the true figure.

Plan of Newgrange
Plan of Newgrange with correct azimuth, showing locations of the three fully engraved kerbstones, and position of Kerbstone 67 in relation to the chamber.

When designing and constructing a huge building such as Newgrange, with proven astronomical alignments, a long period of surveying and measurement must have taken place. At an early stage, before the huge mound was constructed, there was a ring of free-standing kerbstones surrounding the passage and chamber. This concept helps to make sense of the enigmatic hidden or art, which was found on the inner face of several of the kerbstones. The now-hidden carvings may represent astronomical cycles incorporated as builders markers. Kerbstone 67 is due north of the chamber, and the engraved symbol of the large double spiral may refer to the planet spinning on its axis.

Leask's drawing of kerbstone 67.
Leask's drawing of Kerbstone 67 from R.A.S. Macalister's Penny Guide to Newgrange.

The carving on Kerbstone 67 seems to represent a movement or cycle of events. As the double spiral spins or spools and unspools, diamond or lozange-shaped carvings cycle through the spiral. There is a great sense of movement in the carvings. To the left of the spiral, three ranks of diamonds and triangles may well represent the days of the lunar cycle in each moonth.

There are many examples of north to south markers at other passage-grave complexes. Sites K and Z beside Newgrange have chambers pointing south, while a south marker stone is found in the kerb at Knowth, close to Newgrange. Cairn W at Loughcrew points due south. The Hag's Chair, a huge engraved kerbstone, is located north of the chamber of Cairn T at Loughcrew. A large erratic boulder marks due north at Shee Lugh on the ridge of Moytura.

Cairn F, the largest passage-grave and chamber at Carrowkeel has a free-standing limestone pillar, now broken, within the massive collapsed chamber. The monument is oriented due north. Queen Maeve's Cairn at Knocknarea has both a north and a south marker stone.

A recent photo of kerbstone 67.
A recent photo of Kerbstone 67 with R.A.S. Macalister's drawing of the spiral overlaid using Photoshop.

The chamber of the passage-grave on Baltinglass Hill in County Wicklow is oriented due north, and a carving on the basin stone seems to confirm the alignment. The monument at Knockmany in County Tyrone, which has several finely engraved stones in the chamber, is oriented due south.

Mick O'Brien.
Mick O'Brien and his Newgrange table, a life-size wooden replica of K67. The spirals are inlaid with bog oak, which was growing around the time Newgrange was built. Picture © Leo Regan.