Knowth cemetery, Tomb 2: Situated c. 3.5m S of the great mound, Tomb 1C. This is the remains of a kerbed mound (ext. diam. c. 22m), with orthostats and sockets representing a cruciform passage tomb (L c. 13m) opening to the NE. An old ground surface was preserved within the kerb together with some of the mound (max. H 0.8m), which was a mixture of sods and boulder clay. A spread of charcoal in this produced a C14 date of 4158 +- 126 bp (2725 +- 153 cal. BC), which is clearly anomalous. Of the 42 surviving kerbstones 22 were in position NW-NE, and most were set on the old ground surface. Of the 30orthostats in the passage (L 9.5m; Wth 0.5-0.75m) only 10 (H c. 1m) survived, and of the cruciform chamber (dims c. 4m NE-SW; c. 4m NW-SE) only the stones in the NW or right-hand recess remained. This contained a stone basin (dims 1m x 0.8m; H c. 0.48m; D 0.25m) with a picked line around its inner edge, and both cremated and unburned remains were confined to the chamber area.
The cremated remains consisted of two males and 12 other adults as well as four juveniles. One male and four other adults were represented amongst the unburned remains as well as those of four juveniles, and over half the remains were from the right-hand or NW recess (Buckley et al. 2017, 302-06). The artefacts included a piece of Carrowkeel ware, a chalk ball and a hoard of 16 flint flakes stashed under one of the kerbstones. Artistic motifs are present on one kerbstone (a circle), two orthostats from the passage (6 circles; chevrons and lozenges) just at the entrance to the chamber, and the backstone of the recess (circle with tail). Further work identified more displaced kerbstones, increasing the total to 68, one of which had a single motif in a simple circle, and a collapsed orthostat from the chamber had multiple circles on the underside (Eogan and Cleary 2017, 252). Bayesian analysis of two dates produces a range of 3329-2929 cal. BC and 3348-3100cal. BC and there is a slightly later outlier of 3261-2901 cal. BC from a burial in the passage, but other determinations already published (Eogan 1984, 305) are anomalous and should be disregarded (Schulting et al. 2017, 351-2). The tomb was completely reconstructed with a full mound. (Eogan 1974, 58-66, site 13; 1984, 15-27, Site 2; 1986, 67-8)
Compiled by: Michael Moore
Date of upload: 16 September 2020
See the attached plans:
_1 Cemetery plan from Knowth 6, Fig. 2:1
_2 Plan of Tomb 2 From Knowth 1, Fig. 6Description Source: National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.