A major programme of archaeological excavation commenced on 18 June 1962 at the passage tomb cemetery at Knowth, Co Meath. This research excavation continued on a seasonal basis for more than 40 years, resulting in the excavation of a considerable area of the monument complex. Other work, such as geological investigations and topographical, electrical resistance and magnetometer surveying, is ongoing. Knowth is a multi-period and multi-functional archaeological complex. It is part of the ancient Brú na Bóinne complex that also includes Dowth and Newgrange and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Knowth had a long, though not continuous, history of both ritual and settlement that spanned some six millennia, from the beginning of the Neolithic to the modern era. The monuments at Knowth represent not just local expressions of ideas and ritual practices spread over extensive geographical areas of western and northern Europe, but also some of the most impressive architectural and engineering developments.
The Royal Irish Academy has the responsibility and the privilege of bringing the invaluable research work undertaken at Knowth into the public domain through the Excavations at Knowth series of publications. To date, six volumes have been published in the series, which has been produced on behalf of and with the support of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The first volume in the series was published in 1984, it dealt with aspects of prehistoric activity at Knowth.
Volume 2 reported on further aspects of the prehistoric settlement excavated after 1989.
Volume 3 dealt with the animal bone assemblage from Knowth.
Volume 4 explored the historical role of Knowth and wider Brú na Bóinne.
Volume 5 presented the artefacts found at Knowth from the first and second millennia AD.
Volume 6 dealt with the archaeological history of the achievements of the passage tomb builders who constructed and used the Great Mound (Tomb 1) at Knowth.
Volume 7 in the series is currently in preparation. It will deal with the megalithic art from Knowth.
The Royal Irish Academy is delighted to make the research presented in this series of publications available as an open-access resource through this collection in the Digital Repository of Ireland. The availability of the volumes as an open-access resource means that the material from the excavations to date will be easily accessible for current and future generations of archaeologists to draw on.
It is also intended that the excavation archive, which contains the original excavation reports and other specialist research that has gone in to making the published series of monographs possible, will be made available as part of this collection. The archive material will be added to the collection on a phased basis as its digitisation is completed.