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

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The Knowth passage mound and outlying mounds in the Boyne Valley, Co Meath, Ireland.
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Ben Gagnon
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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.
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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.
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December north-western night sky / The Guardian
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Another view of the Knowth passage mound, showing some of its kerbstones, and one of its satellite mounds, also with kerbstones.

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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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