A researcher will X-ray the base of the 5,000-year-old Neolithic monument at Newgrange, Co Meath, in an effort to determine the source of its granite boulders.

Dr Ian G Meighan of the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland, who holds an honorary research position in Trinity College Dublin, will determine whether the boulders come from Newry or Mourne, the Irish Times reports.

Details of the project were revealed at the launch of First Light: the Origins of Newgrange, a new book on the monument by Office of Public Works archaeologist Dr Robert Hensey.

Speaking at the event, Dr Meighan revealed that, using technology used previously at Tara mines and which is now in the possession of Trinity College, he will be able to detect and quantify trace metals and identify the origins of the granite.

Newry and Mourne granite were “like chalk and cheese,” he said. 

Newgrange was the largest building in the world, until the pyramids of Egypt were built, said Minister of State with responsibility for the OPW Simon Harris, at the launch of Dr Hensey’s book.

First Light: the Origins of Newgrange is part of the “Insights in Archaeology” series by Oxbow Books, Oxford.

Newgrange, Co. Meath by The Discovery Programme on Sketchfab