|Dowth (Irish: Dubhadh) is a Neolithic passage tomb which stands in the Boyne Valley, Co Meath, Ireland. It is found at 53░42′10.5″N, 6░26′57″W.|
It is the oldest of the three principal tombs of the Br˙ na Bˇinne ("mansion on the Boyne") complex of passage-tombs (the others being Newgrange and Knowth). It is less developed as a tourist attraction than its neighbours, partly because the chamber is much lower, and partly because the decoration is poorer. It was partly excavated in 1847 though it had been pillaged (by Vikings and earlier looters) long before that.
The cairn or tumulus is about 90 metres in diameter and 15 metres high, and surrounded by kerbstones, some of which are decorated. Quartz was found fallen outside the kerbing, showing that the entrance to this tomb was surrounding by glittering white, as at Newgrange. Three stone-lined passages lead into the mound from the west.
The long passage is crossed by 3 sill-stones and ends in a cruciform (cross-shaped) chamber with a lintelled (not corbelled as in Newgrange or Knowth) roof. Several of the orthostats (upright stones) of passage and chamber are decorated with spirals, chevrons, lozenges and rayed circles. On the floor stands a single stone basin - somewhat the worse for wear after 5,000 years. The right-hand arm of the cross leads into another long rectangular chamber with an L-shaped extension entered over a low sill. This may be the earliest part of the tomb, later brought within the design of the cruciform tomb. It is floored with a 2.4 metre long flagstone containing an oval bullaun (artificial depression). Until recently the cruciform tomb was reached by climbing down a ladder in an iron cage, and crawling about over loose stones. Now, access is restricted, and all the features are guarded by metal grilles.
A kerbstone with cup-marks, a spiral and a flower-like design marks the entrance to the second, smaller tomb - with modern concrete roof. This tomb has a few decorated stones, and a single, massive right-hand recess.
At the entrance to the passage of the cruciform tomb is an early medieval souterrain.
Access to the Dowth site is unrestricted. Access to the southern chamber of Dowth is limited; visitors must request a key from the management of the Br˙ na Bˇinne Visitor Centre and leave a deposit. There is no public access to the northern passage and chamber or souterrains.