Standing stones in the south-west quadrant of the Avebury stone circle
What has long been suspected, that the earliest stone monuments in Britain were built with astronomy in mind, has now been proven. Writing in the NewHistorian, Daryl Worthington reports that –
Through innovative use of 2D and 3D technology, researchers from the University of Adelaide have statistically proven that spectacular stone circles constructed up to 500 years before Stonehenge, were deliberately built in line with the movement of the Sun and Moon.
The findings, published last week in the Journal of Archaeological Science, give fresh insight into the relationships ancient Britons held with the sky; connecting the earth to astronomical phenomena through spectacular monuments.
“Nobody before this has ever statistically determined that a single stone circle was constructed with astronomical phenomena in mind – it was all supposition,” said project leader and University of Adelaide Visiting Research Fellow Dr Gail Higginbottom, who is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Australian National University.
Callanish, on the Isle of Lewis, and Stenness, Isle of Orkney; are the oldest stone circles in Scotland, built during the late Neolithic over 5000 years ago. It has long been thought that the megaliths were laid out to reflect the cosmos, but the quantitative tests carried out by the team on the patterns of alignment of the standing stones have finally provided convincing evidence that this was indeed the case.