Newgrange, the 5,000-year-old Co. Meath site that has attracted countless tourists for the “illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun,” is currently being searched for more passageways, according to RTE.
Although many disagree about the Neolithic site’s original purpose, a common belief is that it was used for religious reasons when the room was flooded with light.
The site encompass a large mound containing a chambered passage, at the end of which three small chambers lie off of a larger central chamber. Researchers are hoping to discover a second passage which is also aligned with the solstice event, like the main passage, which is “synonymous with sunrise on the winter solstice and light entering the chamber,” according to the Independent.
Uncovering Irish History in Lowell, MA and Northern Ireland
Located at the Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site, the team of researchers from Ireland and Slovakia will be utilizing the technique of microgravity survey, a non-invasive method used to detect under the surface density variations. According to the Federal Highway Administration, it is performed by making various measurements of gravity at certain points on the ground surface, and researchers will be using equipment which is new to Ireland for the task.
Microgravity survey has been successfully used in Egypt to identify passages and chambers in pyramids, according to the report.
According to Dr. Conor Brady, an archaeologist at the Dundalk Institute of Technology, "The absolute best-case scenario would be to demonstrate there is an undiscovered passage and chamber within Newgrange because the mound has not been fully excavated."
Brady believes that "it is technically possible there is something there.”
Adding to his optimism is the fact that Knowth and Dowth, the neighboring mounds to Newgrange, both have two passages as well.