Knowth-Fiction & Facts: LAPC & TTC

Walking towards the burial mounds of Knowth, in County Meath, Ireland, it’s easy to imagine they must have many stories to tell. The largest mound was likely created circa 3200 BC. This is part of the World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne. I featured another passage tomb nearby in The façade of Newgrange.

Each image tells a story on its own, but I created a Tale of Knowth to go along with the photos.

Tale of Knowth

Knowth, County Meath, Ireland

“Go to the mounded land on the day fall begins.” Maimeó said to me weeks before her passing.

Once I found the 18 mounds, I didn’t know where to turn. I followed the curving trail around the largest mound. A cool gust from the north made the emerald grass covering the mound dance in the wind.

“Find the sunburst kerbstone. It will show you the way.” I remembered Maimeó’s words.

The sunburst kerbstone? I thought. Spirals, crescent, and other patterns covered the boulders encircling the mound. I wondered how I would find the right one.

I trudged around the perimeter of the mound, pulling my cloak close. Light snowfall drifted by me and settled in the characters carved into stone.

Why is it snowing on autumn’s eve? I thought to myself. I tried to keep warm by rubbing my arms and stamping my feet. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something.

Kerbstones

“This must be it,” I said. I traced sunburst rays carved into an enormous boulder with my fingertip. The accumulating snowfall made the shapes stand out.

“How does this sunburst point me in the right direction?” I scratched my head.

Then I remembered something Daideó often said. “Look behind to find the way forward.”

I didn’t know what he meant then, but now I understood. On the back edge of the stone, I found a crude arrow pointing east. I quickened my pace and soon found a low doorway entering the mound.

Once inside, I found doorway after doorway. Where should I go next? I thought. Night was falling and the hallway of doors ahead of me darkened. I shuddered in the deepening gloom.

Passageway at Knowth

Suddenly, something strange happened. The light narrowed into a single beam shining through one door. I dashed towards the light.

A pale-colored column of stone reaching towards the ceiling reflected the beam of light. I remembered Daideó’s words again and reached behind the stone.

I felt a delicate chain and pulled it into the bright light. It held a golden triskele charm with three spirals connected to the center. If I wore it, I knew it would help me move forward in the spiritual world, the present world, and the celestial world.

After that day, I always wore my triskele and though I often stumble backwards, I find my way ahead.

Triskele
Triskel by AnonMoos, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

More about Knowth

This fictional story contains elements of fact including:

  • The kerbstones carved with images represent more than 1/3 of megalithic art in all of Western Europe.
  • The kerbstones often had a type of megalithic art known as “hidden art” carved on the backs of the stones.
  • The east-west alignment at the time of construction indicates Knowth was used to recognize the spring and autumnal equinoxes.
  • Triskeles, or Triskelion, are an ancient symbol recognized in Ireland and other countries. This symbol can be seen at the entrance to Newgrange, another part of this Heritage Site.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge (LAPC) – One Image/One Story

Three Things Challenge (TTC) #796

The façade of Newgrange – A short history: LAPC

The stone façade surrounding the 5,000-year-old Newgrange monument in County Meath, Ireland is impressive. However, I learned Newgrange’s façade is not what it appears to be.

façade of Newgrange March 2020

I liked the way the patterns in the wall changed from dark-colored stones to dark dotted with white…

Dark & light wall at Newgrange March 2020

To light dotted with dark stones.

Façade - Dark & light wall at Newgrange March 2020

The white stones over the entryway make it stand out.

Entranceway at Newgrange March 2020
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Petroglyphs & pictographs in Harney County, Oregon

In April 2019, I went on a field trip to see petroglyphs & pictographs in Harney County, in eastern Oregon. This is one of the many trips offered as a part of the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival. Our guides that day were Bureau of Land Management archaeologists, Scott Thomas and Carolyn Temple.

One of the first things we learned was the difference between petroglyphs and pictographs.

Pictographs

Pictographs, like the images shown below, are painted onto rocks. These works are generally drawn with red, black, white, or yellow paint.

Pictographs frequently include depictions of animals. For example, the drawing at the top of the picture below appears to be a lizard.

petroglyphs & pictographs, Harney county, OR
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Catlow Cave Artifacts: Monochrome Monday

Catlow Cave artifacts, including sagebrush bark sandals, grass & bark baskets, and arrowheads & spearpoints, are displayed at the Harney County Historical Society Museum in Burns, Oregon. There are a couple pointed sticks that may be “knitting needles”, used to knit the sagebrush bark together.

These cave artifacts are between 9,000 to 10,000 years old. The Northern Paiute people lived in this region. There are several caves in the Catlow Valley cliffs. Petroglyphs adorn some of the rock faces.

Cave artifacts, Catlow Cave, Oregon 12April2019
Cave artifacts, Catlow Cave, Oregon 12April2019

Do you want to learn more about the native peoples who lived in this area thousands of years ago? Consider taking a guided tour to the Fort Rock Cave hosted by Oregon Parks and Recreation. Be sure to visit the nearby Fort Rock Valley Historical Society Homestead Museum. This small museum has more examples of cave artifacts from this region. The woven items were practical but also works of art with distinctive patterns.

Newspaper Rock – Ancient Messages in Stone

Newspaper Rock, UT 4May2017An amazing example of petroglyphs can be seen on the road into the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Wow! I have seen petroglyphs before but never so many in one spot. There are more than 650 drawings on Newspaper Rock at this state historical monument. The dark desert varnish provides a nice contrast to the messages carved into the stone.

Newspaper Rock 2, UT 4May2017The first carvings at this site have been determined to be 2,000 years old. People of the Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, and Pueblo cultures have carved their messages into the rock over the years. Unfortunately, it looks like some more modern graffiti artists added to parts of the scene.

Newspaper Rock 3, UT 4May2017The meanings of the messages here have been difficult to figure out. Do they tell a story or are they merely scribbles? The Navajo refer to Newspaper Rock as Tse’ Hane – translated as  “Rock that tells a story.” It does indeed appear to tell many stories. Only the people who made the carvings know exactly what those stories were.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Heritage
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Looking back to Fort Rock

View of Fort Rock, Oregon 10June2016A sky streaked with clouds frames Fort Rock, rising from the sagebrush sea in central Oregon. This is the view from a cave where ancient sandals made from sagebrush were found. Sandals and other artifacts found there were determined to be 9,300-10,250 years old. Walking from the cave back towards the mountain, you can almost imagine some of the sights ancient people may have seen.

For more about the cave, visit my post. Read more about the excellent  Fort Rock Valley Historical Society Homestead Village Museum, on another one of my posts.

Weekly Photo Challenge – The road taken

Inside Fort Rock Cave: Signs of ancient past

View from Fort Rock Cave 9June2016
View from Fort Rock Cave, Oregon

Looking out of the mouth of the Fort Rock cave at the Sagebrush Sea, one can only imagine the thoughts of those that lived there thousands of years ago. Sagebrush sandals, found inside Fort Rock Cave, were determined to be 9,300-10,250 years old. These sandals are the oldest ever found in the world.

Fort Rock Cave 9June2016
Cave entrance

A small hearth was found in the cave and it was radiocarbon dated to be 15,000 years old. Several stone tools were found nearby. Though that date was questioned by some, in 2009 human coprolites (fossilized poop) determined to be from 14,300 years ago were found in nearby Paisley Cave. In 2009 a multiple function tool made from agate was discovered in Rimrock Draw Rock Shelter, near Riley, Oregon. It may have been made as long ago as 16,000 years ago.

Inside Fort Rock Cave 9June2016
Inside Fort Rock Cave

Other ancient sandals have been found but never in the quantity found at Fort Rock. Nearly 100 sandals were found ranging from child-sized to adult. They are all the same style with a flat bottom and flap covering the toe area. The sagebrush bark is woven in a distinctive twining style. Sandals of this type were found at various locations in southeast Oregon and northern Nevada. In more recent times, ethnographers found that members of the Klamath and Paiute tribes, who lived in the Fort Rock area, wore footwear woven from sagebrush and tule.

Inside Fort Rock Cave in the past and present

The location where the sandals were found was likely a lake shore 10,000 years ago. Native peoples may have lived there because of the easy access to game, fish, and edible plants. At the present time, the cave borders a huge expanse of dry sagebrush steppe habitat. The climate changed after Mount Mazama blew 7,600 years ago. A thick layer of ash from that eruption blanketed an area covering 500,000 square miles in western North America.

If you want to see this site, you will need to go with a guide since access is regulated by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department in partnership with the University of Oregon. Go here for more information – Fort Rock Cave.

Fort Rock Valley Museum Sagebrush Sandal display
Fort Rock Valley Homestead Museum – Sagebrush Sandal display

If you want to see the sandals in person, there are some on display at the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Click here for a good photo of them – sandals. The Museum also has a collection of stone tools and other fiber artifacts excavated from the cave. You can see a small display about the sandals at the Fort Rock Valley Homestead Museum. See my post on that Museum and information about the Fort Rock formation here.