abandoned, the last of its priests probably leaving soon after a.d. 72.

Nemrud Dam was rediscovered in 1881 by one Karl Sester; an 1882–1883 German exploratory expedition followed, as well as a Turkish investigation. The findings of both groups were published, but no more research was carried out until 1938, when Germans F. Karl Dörner and Rudolf Naumann visited the site. Dörner returned after 1951 to work with the American Teresa Goell. In 1984–1985 a Turkish-German restoration team, led by Dörner, reerected the bases of the statues in their places. In 1987 the site was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, and the following year a 35,000-acre (13,850-hectare) region around Nemrud Dagi was declared a national park. In July 1997 the Turkish government assured the world that the stone heads—all had fallen from their places—would be reset, and measures would be taken to protect the site, not only from natural damage but also from that caused by vandals or just careless tourists. Eighteen months later, the Netherlands-based International Nemrud Foundation received presidential support for a five-year master plan to restore the site, and work commenced at the end of May 2000.

Further reading

Bey, Osman Hamdy, and Osgan Effendi. 1987. Le tumulus de Nemroud-Dagh. Istanbul: Archaeology and Art Publications.

Sanders, Donald H., ed. 1996. Nemrud Dagi: The Hierothesion of Antiochos I of Kommagene. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns.


County Meath, Ireland

Newgrange is one of the most notable archeological monuments in Europe. Named in Gaelic Uaimh na Gréine (Cave of the Sun), the great passage tomb stands on a low hillock beside the River Boyne in County Meath, Ireland, about 9 miles (14 kilometers) from the sea. Newgrange was built around 3150 b.c., making it as old as some of the neolithic temples on Malta and much older than the pyramids of Egypt. It is a dramatic testimony to the ancient Celts’ scientific and architectural sophistication. Its designers employed great mathematical skills to create such an uncannily accurate astronomical instrument of gargantuan scale. It forms the center of Brú na Bóinne, a region steeped in megalithic culture and ritual. Around it are more than forty prehistoric sites: standing stones, burial mounds, and other passage tombs. Irish mythology identifies Newgrange as the burial place of the high kings of Tara and the home of a preternatural race known as Tuatha de Danainn (people of the goddess Danu); other traditions are attached to the mystical place.

Newgrange is a colossal stone-and-turf tumulus, 1 acre (0.4 hectare) in area and approximately circular in plan, averaging about 280 feet (85 meters) in diameter; the top of its flattish dome is 44 feet (13.5 meters) high. The mound is surrounded by a retaining wall of white quartz and water-washed round granite boulders standing on a foundation of ninety-seven huge curbstones, many of which are decorated with incised patterns of triple and double spirals, concentric semicircles, lozenges, and zigzag lines. It has been estimated that there are some 224,000 tons (203,200 tonnes) of material in the structure. None of the stone is local: the curbstones and those used inside the tumulus were quarried about 20 miles (36 kilometers) from the site; the quartz comes from Wicklow, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) to the south; and the 1,600 granite boulders come from the Mourne Mountains, just as far to the north. All were quarried, transported, dressed, and fitted into place using only stone tools, and without the use of the wheel. The mound was encircled by about 40 widely spaced standing stones, up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) high, in a 340-foot (104-meter) ring. They were probably erected about 1,000 years later. Only twelve survive. The reconstruction as it can now be seen is based on some scholars’ interpretation of the position of the quartz layers found during excavations under the direction of Michael J. O’Kelly between 1962 and 1975.

For all its size, the mound encloses very little space. A single low passage, 3 feet (less than a meter) wide, penetrates 62 feet (19 meters) into the interior. The passage is lined with standing stones from 5 to 6.5 feet (1.5 to 2 meters) high and richly decorated with