Faculty Advisor

Erving, George

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2023


The purpose of this study is to quantify the locations of megalithic art within the main passage tombs at Knowth and Newgrange, in the Boyne Valley of Ireland, with the aim of better understanding meanings associated with the art as well as their social contexts. Of particular interest to this study was the identification and analysis of the location of “endogenously-derived arts” as a way to take into account the often overlooked role that altered states of consciousness (ASC) play in rituals throughout prehistory and history. Furthermore, this study places megalithic art at the forefront of its analysis in the context of the tomb’s function as a whole, rather than only analyzing the art or including it as a small piece of evidence. The resulting study identified the kerbstone as the main location for megalithic art, especially endogenous arts. This, in turn, provides evidence against the somewhat dominant belief that huge megalithic tombs were the result of a centralization of power as the Neolithic era progressed. Instead, this research supports the idea that the tombs’ role was primarily communal rather than serving the interests of a specific elite.


Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


University of Puget Sound