Newgrange Neolithic Monument
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Panoramic photo by Gerard Healy Taken 14:58, 04/09/2012 - Views loading...

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Newgrange Neolithic Monument

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Newgrange (Irish: Sí an Bhrú) is a prehistoric monument located in County Meath, on the eastern side of Ireland, about one kilometre north of the River Boyne.[1] It was built around 3200 BC[2] [3], during the Neolithic period. There is no agreement about what the site was used for, but it has been speculated that it had some form of religious significance because it is aligned with the rising sun, which floods the stone room with light on the winter solstice. Newgrange is also older than Stonehenge and the great pyramids of Giza[4] It is in fact just one monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site. Newgrange also shares many similarities with other Neolithic constructions around Western Europe, such as Maeshowe tomb in Orkney, Scotland[5] and the Bryn Celli Ddu site in Wales. After its initial use, the entrance to Newgrange was sealed and it remained closed for several millennia, subsequently gaining several associations in local folklore and mythology. It first began to be studied as a prehistoric monument by antiquarians in the seventeenth century AD, and over subsequent centuries various archaeological excavations took place at the site before it was largely restored to an interpretation of its original Neolithic appearance by conservators in the 1970s. Today, Newgrange is a popular tourist site, and according to the archaeologist Colin Renfrew, is "unhesitatingly regarded by the prehistorian as the great national monument of Ireland" and is also widely recognised as one of the most important megalithic structures in Europe.[6]

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Nearby images in Ireland

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A: Bru na Boine Newgrange Landscape

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This panorama was taken in Ireland, Europe

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Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.

The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.

Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".

Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.

Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.

In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. 

Text by Steve Smith.

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