New Aspects of Antiquity


Archaeology, Art and Legend

  1. Michael J. O'Kelly
  2. Contributions by Claire O'Kelly
‘The definitive excavation report on the great tomb …’ – Archaeology
'Anyone who has a really serious interest in Ireland should buy this book' – The Sunday Independent
'An imaginatively written and lucid account which should fire the enthusiasm those little acquainted with antiquity' – Peter Harbison, The Irish Independent
'A major contribution to the literature of megaliths and a landmark in these studies' – Professor Glyn Daniel

Professor O'Kelly, the most distinguished authority on Newgrange, demonstrates that this remarkable megalithic tomb, 'the great national monument of Ireland, was built about 3200 BC by Neolithic farmers, who possessed considerable expertise in engineering, architecture, art and astronomy.

Not only did they erect a monument which has stood virtually intact for thousands of years, but they deliberately orientated it so that each year, on midwinter's day, the rays of the rising sun would shine through a special aperture to illuminate the inner passage and chamber.

Every stage in the excavation, interpretation and restoration of the site is described and fully illustrated, with additional major contributions from Claire O'Kelly, who collaborated in her husband's work at Newgrange from its beginning.

Michael J. O'Kelly was Professor of Archaeology at University College Cork from 1946 until 1982. His long career as an excavator culminated in his work at Newgrange, and his formidable list of publications on all aspects of Irish archaeology earned him the award of Doctor of Literature in 1963.