Orthostat, the Mound of the HostagesPetroglyphs, the Bend in the Boyne

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Petroglyphs, the Art of Ancient LandscapesOrthostat, the Mound of the Hostages  
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'Orthostat, the Mound of the Hostages'

Orthostat: Mound of the Hostages - TaraForeword

Stretching back in time, the Hill of Tara has been the spiritual heart of Ireland, yet little is known about the site other than what has been gleaned from the ancient manuscripts, which tell us nothing about how it appeared during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. Although the excavations in the 1950ʼs of Ráith na Senad and Duma na nGiall; the Mound of the Hostages, by Professor Sean P. OʼRiordain and Professor Ruaidhri de Valera have given us a glimpse into that period of history, they merely scratched the surface. It is therefore the purpose of this paper to examine an 'historical record' that has been overlooked ever since its discovery nearly sixty years ago... one that is quite literally carved in stone.

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'Petroglyphs, the Bend in the Boyne'


At least since the advent of modern archaeology, archaeologists have proposed numerous interpretations of the petroglyphs found throughout Ireland and Britain, yet none have ever been tested, nor can they ever be tested, and therefore do not meet the criteria of a scientific hypothesis or theory. This paper explores the likelihood that many of the panels of petroglyphs decorating the orthostats and kerbstones at sites such as Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth, simply depict the monuments that were constructed during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages. The spatial distribution of the motifs on stones at Knowth, Newgrange and Dowth for example, were a way of drawing in the wider ritual landscape, creating for the community a way of connecting the physical landscape, with the realm of the dead.

Though many of the monuments within the Boyne Ensemble are still visible in the landscape, there are hundreds of sites where nothing can be seen, except for the panels that exhibit this enigmatic art, with hundreds more yet to be discovered. With the advances in geo-prospecting technology, and using the probable cartographic information on the panels, undiscovered sites and monuments beckon.

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'Petroglyphs, the Art of Ancient Landscapes'


'Petroglyphs, the Bend in the Boyne' predominately explored the hypothesis that many of the panels of artwork found within the Boyne Ensemble, are 'maps' of the site as it existed during the Neolithic. While that hypothesis was applied to a number of other sites in Ireland, the UK and France, any hypothesis must undergo repeated testing. As such this paper, which for all intents and purposes is an addendum to 'Petroglyphs, the Bend in the Boyne', addresses a number of points and observations not previously covered, as well as a number of additional sites, both in Ireland and the UK, where this enigmatic art has been discovered.

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