BAMBU Latest Issues
Dolmens and Megaliths
BAMBU Archives: Contents
Brit-Am Megalithic Bulletin Update (BAMBU)
NEWS AND INFORMATION
Tracing The Israelite Paths of Migration
according to the Directions of the Prophet Jeremiah 31:21
Brit-Am Megalithic Bulletin Update
1. Astronomically Aligned Standing
Stones at Ballochroy,
2. Loughgrow (Central East Ireland) Cairns
3. Desmond Johnston: Ireland in prehistory- Selected Extracts
1. Astronomically Aligned Standing
Stones at Ballochroy,
Best time of year to visit : Summer solstice around the 21st of June.
The alignment also indicates the setting sun at the winter solstice, but the
horizon in that direction is now hidden by trees. However the sunset can still
Extracts from "The Megalithic Portal" on the Loughgrow Cairns
The sunrise on the eve of the autumn equinox illuminates ancient carvings on
the backstone of Cairn T. See photography news item about the equinox alignment
Frank Prendergast's investigations show that two of the largest focal tombs are
oriented towards the rising Sun at the equinoxes. On these days, at dawn and for
a period of some 20 minutes afterwards, the interior of the tombs
are spectacularly illuminated by a shaft of sunlight. At these times, the
elaborate engravings on some of the stones within both chambers are clearly
visible in the otherwise dark interior. Equinoctial orientations are not common
and their interpretation is controversial.
Loughcrew equinox sunrise illumination featured at National Astronomy Meeting
by Andy B
It is well known that many such tombs found elsewhere in Ireland and beyond,
such as at Newgrange, are oriented towards the direction of the rising Sun on
the solstices. These are the days in December and June when the Sun's motion in
the sky reaches a 'turning point'. The direction of the rising Sun reaches its
most northerly and southerly points on these dates and these are observable
events. Our prehistoric ancestors would therefore not have required any advanced
understanding or knowledge to pinpoint them. By contrast, the equinoxes, which
occur in late March and September, are midway between the solstices and are not
obvious unique events: to locate them, an observer must track the total annual
range of the Sun's rising direction and then divide it in half. The question
that immediately arises is, "Why would the tomb builders wish to do this?" Even
more intriguingly at Loughcrew, there is a pattern of orientation between many
of the smaller satellite tombs - both towards each other and towards the two
See Equinox at Loughgnow Sept 4
This image photographed at 7:32am shows the sunbeam illuminating the centre
of the backstone.
3. Ireland in prehistory
A concise account by Desmond
Limited Extracts Only:
The best known source which has survived is -- perhaps misleadingly -- called
"the Book of the Invasions". (Lebor Gabala Erren). This and other sources
deserve to be treated seriously as a basis for getting clues to the early
history of Ireland. In such works there is a lack of chronological sequence,
gross exaggeration, possible intrusion of "manufactured" events, magic, and all
the stuff of mythology. Nevertheless there will be a hard core of real people
and events. Another problem is that in the ancient world heroes tended to become
"gods" and lose their earthly identity. ( Classical Greece being a good example
of this trend). Thus mythology can be regarded almost as a manifestation of
religion. Imperfect as Irish sources are they are unique to Ireland and not to
be discounted as a source of historical knowledge.
The NW European megalithic era is represented in Ireland on a very big scale.
Great passage mounds, dolmens, stone circles, standing stones, alignments are
all an important feature of the landscape. Each aspect of the megalithic of
course tends to have its own unique "Irish" form, as is true for other
megalithic areas -- Brittany and Scotland for example. It is as if each time a
new culture came in contact with an existing culture the original inhabitants
adapted and amended it to fit in with their ideas. Also Ireland possesses on a
large scale examples of its own form of rock scribings, now generally agreed to
represent astronomical events.
The passage mound building...Passage orientation is by now generally accepted to
tie in with solar, lunar, and stellar alignments. The term "passage graves" is
on its way out. Even when used for burials that would not have been the original
purpose -- any more than a cathedral is a tomb.
Ireland is also well supplied with such features as dolmens and circles of
standing stones. It seems to be generally agreed that such features of the
European megalithic came after the passage mounds --... It is however
interesting that Professor O'Kelly in "Newgrange - Archaeology, Art, and Legend"
(Thames and Hudson 1982) produced the argument that there is evidence that the
stone circle at Newgrange predates the mound. ...Again the stone circles so
prevalent in the British Isles and Western Europe are being studied from the
aspect of astronomical orientation. It could well be that they will indicate an
infinitely wider variety of astronomical sightings than the more rigid and
limited passage mounds. Interestingly almost all are ovoid rather than circular,
a characteristic shared with the older henge and related monuments.
Dolmens and individual menhirs or standing stones are particularly prevalent in
Ireland. The construction of the former has involved the placement of massive
capstones -- a major feat in many cases. It is presumed that all were covered
with a layer of earth and small stones to form minor mounds and erosion has
created the bare stone frameworks we see today. Each has an astronomical
orientation -- particularly to the East.
At some point in time they became used as tombs -- presumably for local
chieftains or the families thereof. But whether or not they were constructed for
this purpose originally is a moot point.
Allied to the dolmens are the chambered mounds with short passages, such as
court cairns, with a ceremonial area marked out in front by stones in a
horse-shoe shape. Again these, too, were at some point used as tombs, but their
apparent provision for ceremonial gatherings and their astronomical orientation
could give a clue as to their real function.
There is a general tendency for stone monuments, in Ireland as elsewhere, to
appear in areas giving a wide view of the horizon, making an astronomical
function the most likely. It has been suggested that such monuments are a legacy
of the copper-using Beaker Culture of around 2500 BC. However Ireland has been
stated to have comparatively few indications of this culture.
A somewhat dated -- but nonetheless interesting -- book is Sonia Bryant's
"Celtic Ireland." (Kegan Paul 1889). She produces an interesting analysis of the
origins of the population of Ireland in each significant area -- with Ulster
largely represented by "Belgic" stock, with the exception of areas of Lagan
Valley, S Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh where the dominant group is "Ugrian"
originating in Scotland. Connaught plus SE Ireland she represents as"
Celtiberian", of Iberian coastal origin. From the centre of the E coast across
to SW Ireland she gives the origin of the population as "Pure Celtic" with
origins in Gaul, NE and Central Spain, Central Europe, N Greece. It could be
interesting , using modern techniques, to check out these ideas -- typical
Victorian reliance of course on the use of the word "Celtic."
Ancient Ireland - Outside Influences
There is a tendency to dismiss such sources as the "Book of the Invasions" as
"mythology" and as such not relevant to the work of archaeologists and
historians. This in spite of the work in the 19th century of Schliemann in Troy
and Mycenae and of Evans in Crete. Both followed their dream that behind
mythology there lies historical fact.
Cesair and Partholon : Here we have an attempt to explain the earliest arrivals.
Both groups were wiped out by natural disasters -- flood and plague
respectively. ...Partholon's people are credited with the introduction of the
first cattle and ploughs - -...The home of this group was reputedly "Greece".
Nemesians : The plague-depopulated land was next visited by the followers of
Nemed -- supposedly of " Scythian" origin. Former achievements had to be
repeated. Again there were "lakebursts" (a good or a bad thing?) and further
land clearance. The lakebursts were accompanied by a "pestilence of fire" and a
rushing noise. (Seismic activity - comets - meteors?) Collision occurred between
the followers of Nemed and the "Fomorians". This could well have represented
sheepmen versus cattlemen or herdsmen versus agriculturalists.
Nemed's followers were defeated and scattered in various directions. (1) Some
departed to "the North of the world" -- Scotland/Scandinavia? Perhaps they
returned generations later as Tuatha de Danann. (2) Some settled in "the North
of Alba" -- North Britain. (3) Some went to" the land of the Greeks" where they
suffered slavery, being made to carry soil up hillsides in leather bags to
create new agricultural land. One can easily relate this to the eroded slopes of
Greece. It is said that when the Phoenicians occupied the barren island of Malta
they imported shiploads of soil for farming. (4) A group stayed in Ireland to
survive as best they could.
Fir Bolg : The term Fir Bolg is used to represent the next group to influence
Ireland's prehistory. These represent one group of Nemesians. The Fir Bolg
themselves took over Connaught and Munster. The Fir Domnan occupied Leinster.
The Fir Galioin went to Ulster.
The Fir Bolg are credited with establishing the first effective system of law
and justice in Ireland. An interesting comment is made that during this period a
change took place in Ireland's trees with "straight" trees ( Conifers?) being
replaced by "knotted" trees (deciduous?). Perhaps an indication of climate
changes which we know took place? The Fir Bolg were supplanted by the next
culture to impact on Ireland -- the Tuatha de Danann.
Tuatha De Danann : This new infusion of life-blood into Ireland is the one which
has suffered most from the shortcomings of myth. Their technology, particularly
in metalcraft, their learning, military skills, etc. have become distorted into
"magical" attributes. Their leadership became sanctified -- deified -- by
They were reputedly a fair-haired race different from the Iberian
characteristics of the most ancient Irish. They came from -- or via -- the
Northern world. All the indications are that they were representatives of a
Bronze Age culture. A Middle Eastern origin has been suggested too -- a source
of Bronze Age culture. Their name has been associated with the goddess Dana -- a
recurring name as in the rivers Don and Danube, in the old name for the Greeks (Danaos),
in the Danaoi -- one of the groups known as the Peoples of the Sea, and in
They are identified with an intellectual - druidic class who were trained in
religious, legal, astronomical skills among others., which system, alongside
other aspects of their culture, was later adopted by the Iron Age Celts.
They were opposed by the Fomorians whom they eventually defeated, and with whom
interestingly they had some common points of origin. The remaining Fir Bolg
population they confined to Connaught.
A whole body of "theology" grew up around the leaders of the Tuatha de Danann
who included such names as the Dagda, Oengus, Lug, Manannan mac Lir, Ogma,
Goibniu, Dian Cecht, and Creidne. This subsequent "deification" is a tribute to
the impact of the superior skills and knowledge of this gifted race. As a people
they were associated with light and the sun.
Eventually they were supplanted by yet another culture, that of the Milesians.
So great was the status of the Tuatha de Danann it was deemed unthinkable that
they should vanish from human ken and they acquired the status of immortality,
being said to vanish into the already ancient and sacred passage mounds --the
Sid -- whence they wandered the earth as spirits.
Fomorians : Having now "disposed of " the Fomorians it is a good time to review
their influence on Ireland. Chronologically they do not fit easily into our
picture. They appear first in the antique period of Partholon and continue to
reappear until their ultimate defeat by the Tuatha de Danann. Long as their
tenure was they are not represented as the "aboriginal" Irish race but as a
sea-roving people who established themselves on a base in Tory Island, off the
Donegal coast. Their influence seems over the years to have extended over a
large part of the country. Sheep-farmers in life-style, they are given a "bad
press" by their more civilized (?) rivals. Thus we hear they were associated
with evil - night - death. They are described as grotesque -- sometimes with one
arm, one eye, one leg. Interestingly there are drawings of the" unusual" people
found in the West Indies and in America after Columbus which have many points in
common with the Fomorians! (Psychological reaction to the new - unfamiliar - and
therefore terrifying) .They were also stated to practise child sacrifice, not
unknown among many ancient peoples, and certainly attributed to the
Phoenicians/Carthaginians -- another seafaring race and avid colonists. The name
of one of their leaders -- Balor -- has been suggested as being derived from the
Phoenician/Carthaginian god Baal (also spelt Bealiah). As sea-rovers they are
also suggested to have a Scandinavian origin. (Rock scribings in Norway indicate
the use of quite large ships from the Bronze Age at least).
Milesians :- If the coming of the Tuatha de Danann represents the coming of the
Bronze Age to Ireland then the arrival of the Milesians embodies the Iron Age.
The story of their wanderings before reaching Ireland is an elaborate one. It is
generally assumed that they -- or at least their culture -- were Celtic in
origin. Their point of origin, for what it is worth , is Scythia in SE Europe.
Part of their mythology is made to associate them with Egypt at the time of the
Exodus, but this chronology would upset Celtic/Iron Age connections...
One way or another a group of Milesians reached Ireland via Spain and
confrontation with the Tuatha de Danann led to the defeat of the latter....
Contributions of the Milesians to Irish culture -- apart from the introduction
of iron implements which greatly increased agricultural yield -- include fine
craftsmanship in metal generally, astronomically-determined dates for popular
assemblies, weaving of variegated-coloured cloth. Their astronomy and
agriculture were both advanced.///
The Milesians already had a strong cultural heritage, as embodied in the
warrior-poet Amairgen. Poetry and harp music were particularly revered. They
followed the Tuatha de Danann in the intellectual, religious, artistic, Druidic
system with its privileged role in society.
As part of the militaristic Iron Age tradition hill-forts were established
throughout the land. The Milesians were said to have divided Ireland into two
halves administratively -- with the River Boyne being the dividing line. ...The
Milesians are said to have set aside the province of Leinster for the prior
inhabitants. This however would presuppose their arrival in greater numbers than
was probably the case
Desmond Johnston - April 2004
Megalithic Monuments may serve as proof of the Migratory paths of the Israelite
For a Map and List of Israelite Migratory Routes see:
For more maps of the Megalithic Trail of Migration see:
There is much archaeological evidence some of which we have
quoted in the past.
Dolmens and the Bible
Pictures: Dolmens from Around the World
Answer to Queries on Archaeology Question no.3:
"What do Dolmens and other megalithic monuments such as Stonehenge tell us?
Dolmens by Yair Davidiy
Dolmens in Biblical Codes
Immanuel Velikovsky and the Change in Our Calendar
Join the Brit-Am Ephraimite Discussion Group
Just Send an
with "Subscribe" in the Subject Line
and in the Message
Your Offerings and Orders for our Publications