Bid to solve mystery of swan glyph found on kerbstone at 5,500-year-old Irish passage mound

Discovery at Knowth links the Boyne Valley to ‘swan and sunrise’ winter solstice motifs found in ancient cultures worldwide

The Knowth passage mound and outlying mounds in the Boyne Valley, Co Meath, Ireland.
Ben Gagnon
The K-15 kerbstone, with its fan-like and spiral artwork and two sockets or cupules (upper centre), in the base of the Knowth passage mound.
The K-15 kerbstone image inverted, revealing the swan glyph (head and eye with beak resting on the fan) just discernible on the right-hand side.
December north-western night sky / The Guardian
The wall carving at Ara Pacis at Rome: swan at left, serpent at right, the veil of the mother figure forming an upside-down U-shape.
An Akkadian cylinder seal showing the Sumerian god Enki inside the inverted U-shape of a river bend and touching a bird. Isimud, Enki’s messenger, right, touches the river, an element repeated in other examples of the motif.
The K-15 kerbstone image inverted and flipped horizontally — with the outline of the swan glyph highlighted — to show how it would appear if observed in a reflecting pool.
Another view of the Knowth passage mound, showing some of its kerbstones, and one of its satellite mounds, also with kerbstones.

Writer, poet, tutor and mentor in literature and creative writing (MA and BA Hons degrees in English literature), editor, journalist and musician.

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