New Stone Circle Discovered ? 1000’s years older than Stonehenge.

10 11 2010

A stone circle located high in the highlands of Southern Armenia may in fact be the oldest stone observatory in the world, predating England’s Stonehenge. According to newly started excavations, the Armenian Stonehenge (Karahunj) has a history of 7500 years. It’s discovery has sparked a scientific debate in astronomical and astrological circles. Yerkir Media’s Gayane Avetisyan reports on the story for CNN World View.

7,500-YEAR-OLD STONE CIRCLE IN ARMENIA ALIGNED TO CYGNUS’S BRIGHTEST STAR
A Report by Andrew Collins

A new study into Armenia’s Carahunge stone circle complex, has shown that it is arguably one of the oldest known megalithic sites outside of Turkey, dating to around 5500 BC. Moreover, investigations by Russian prehistorian Professor Paris Herouni indicate that Carahunge (car means “stone” in Armenian, and hunge means “voice” or “sound”), located some 200km from the Armenian capital Yerevan, not far from the town of Sisian, was created as an astronomical observatory marking the movement not only of the sun and moon, but also the stars.

Indeed, Herouni’s work at Carahunge was impressive enough to draw in the expertise of the late Professor Gerald Hawkins, who was impressed by the thoroughness of the survey undertaken by his Russian colleague.

Key hole to Cygnus
More significant is that Carahunge’s principal stellar alignment is towards Deneb, the bright star in the constellation of Cygnus the swan.

One of the holed stones at Carahunge aligned to celestial events and key starsA number of the standing stones bear smooth angled spy holes that are 4 to 5cm in diameter, each one being angled towards different points on the horizon or ancient targets in the heavens.

A key stone had a hole that was focused due north towards the meridian. This suggested that it targeted a bright star at its culmination – i.e. the highest or lowest point it reaches as it revolves around the north celestial pole.

One of the holed stones at Carahunge aligned to celestial events and key stars.
Herouni ran the angle of the stone through various astronomical programmes and found that it was aligned to Deneb at a date of around 5,500 BC, suggesting that this was the time frame in which Carahunge was in use by an advanced society of astronomer priests. It was this alignment that provided the key to finally dating the site, which was expected to have been constructed during this distant epoch.

It is even now being claimed by Professor Herouni that Carahunge is the oldest stone obervatory in the world, although surely the stone setting at Nabta Playa in Egypt’s Libyan desert is at least as old as Carahunge, and arguably older. Plus there are my own findings with respect to the orientations of various Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN) sites in southeast Turkey, including the 12,000 year old Gobekli Tepe. In The Cygnus Mystery (2006) I demonstrated that, like Carahunge, they seemed to be orientated towards Cygnus’s brightest star, Deneb.

The importance of Professor Herouni’s findings regarding Carahunge is that in a time frame little different to the Neolithic city of Catal Huyuk in neighbouring Turkey, there was an astronomical observatory in Armenia not just aligned to the sun and moon, but also to the stars, and Cygnus in particular. I suspect that the interest in this star group goes back beyond the PPN sites of southeast Turkey to the Palaeolithic age, and the peoples who created the amazing cave art in Western Europe. Representations of Cygnus certainly exist in the Lascaux cave in the Dordogne region of southern France, and I suspect it is present in various other painted caves as well.

So why was Cygnus important?
Primarily it is because of its use as a time marker, its stars being so close to the north celestial pole they move very little across hundreds of years. Then there is its position on the Milky Way, exactly where this starry stream bifurcates to form what is known as the Cygnus Rift or Dark Rift. Universally, this area of the sky has been seen as the point of access into the sky-world, as well as a place of cosmic birth and death. It was also the place where the souls of the dead travelled in the afterlife, very often accompanied by, or in the form of, a bird, seen as a psychopomp, a soul carrier. Very often the identity of these birds corresponded with how the stars of Cygnus were represented in regional mythologies – a falcon in Egypt, a vulture on the Euphrates and a swan in Hellenic Greece and Turkey.

I am not surprised that Carahunge is aligned to Cygnus, although it is always pleasing when one’s theories are shown to be real. I think that in years to come we shall find a lot more about the cult of the swan, and its relationship to the earliest sky-religions of the ancient world. I also think there is much more to learn about the prehistoric beliefs of the proto Armenians, and how they held true age old beliefs that went back all the way to Palaeolithic times.

Professor Herouni has published a book of his findings with respect to Carahunge. Entitled ARMENIANS AND OLD ARMENIA “, it provides compelling evidence that this impressive megalithic site of over 200 standing stones spread out across 7 hectacres, was constructed and used by an advanced civilization. The book provides a detailed explanation of how the stone monument works as an astronomical observatory, and explains its context as the foundation point of Armenia and Armenian history.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





‘The Computer at Stonehenge’ Poem of the week

9 11 2010

THE COMPUTER AT STONEHENGE

Strange things are done to be number one
In selling the computer
IBM has their stratagem
Which steadily grows acuter,
And Honeywell competes like Hell,
But the story’s missing link
Is the system old at Stonehenge sold
By the firm of Druids, Inc.

The Druids were entrepreneurs,
And they built a granite box
It tracked the moon, warned of monsoons,
And forecast the equinox
Their price was right, their future bright,
The prototype was sold;
From Stonehenge site their bits and byte
Would ship for Celtic gold.

The movers came to crate the frame;
It weighed a million ton!
The traffic folk thought it a joke
(the wagon wheels just spun);
“They’ll nay sell that,” the foreman spat,
“Just leave the wild weeds grow;
It’s Druid-kind, over-designed,
And belly up they’ll go.”

The man spoke true, and thus to you
A warning from the ages;
Your stock will slip if you can’t ship
What’s in your brochure’s pages.
See if it sells without the bells
And strings that ring and quiver;
Druid repute went down the chute
Because they couldn’t deliver.

On a more serious note. Stonehenge: Eclipse Computer?
Every year on the first day of summer, the Sun rises at a point that is farther north than on any other day of the year. At the ruins of Stonehenge in England, this solstice sunrise appears on the horizon in direct alignment with the massive heel stone. This is the most outstanding feature of this ancient monument, built during the same era as the Great Pyramid of Egypt. There is little doubt that the builders of Stonehenge used it to mark this special day as the beginning of each year. By counting the number of days between these annual alignments, they could determine the length of the year. This could serve as a practical calendar to mark holidays and seasonal festivals and to ensure the timely planting and harvesting of crops.

But to predict eclipses, knowledge of two other cycles is required. One of these — the length of the lunar month — is easily determined. It is simply the number of days between one full Moon and the next. This cycle of 29-1/2 days is marked at Stonehenge by two rings of 29 and 30 holes, which together average 29-1/2. The other cycle, however, is of an altogether different character: it is a cycle of rotation of two invisible points in space. The evidence shows that the builders of Stonehenge probably discovered this cycle and could have used it to predict eclipses.

These two invisible points in space are called the lunar nodes (from the Latin for “knot”). They are the points where the Moon’s orbit, which is tilted at a slight angle, intersects the plane of the Earth’s orbit. It would have taken many decades of watching countless risings and settings of the Moon to figure out the cycle of the lunar nodes. This information — which must have been passed on from generation to generation — is preserved at Stonehenge. All the Moon alignments necessary for determining this cycle are marked by massive stones.

Who were these people who observed this subtle cycle even before the first metal tools were used by humankind? Some have suggested that Stonehenge was built by Druids, but we don’t really know much about the builders. We do know that the actual motions of the Sun and the Moon are reflected in the structure of Stonehenge, and we can reason how it may have been used to keep track of these cycles. The number of stones or holes in the ground in the various rings around Stonehenge each represents a certain number of days or years in the cycles. By moving markers (such as stones) around a ring in time with the cycles, the positions of the Sun and Moon — and the two invisible points — can be tracked. (The details of this method are explained in Chapter 2 of the book ECLIPSE, by Bryan Brewer.)

An eclipse can occur only when the Sun is close to being aligned with a node. By using Stonehenge to keep track of the position of the Sun and the nodes, these “danger periods” for eclipses can be predicted. A new (or full) Moon appearing during one of these periods would call for a special vigil to see if the solar (or lunar) eclipse would be visible from Stonehenge. A total solar eclipse would be a rarity. But the law of averages confirms that either a partial solar eclipse or a lunar eclipse can be seen (weather permitting) from the same point on the Earth about once every year.

Why would eclipses have been so important to the ancient people of Stonehenge? Perhaps they considered the darkening of the Sun or the Moon a fearsome event — a celestial omen of doom or disaster. Many cultures have interpreted eclipses this way. But the sophistication of the astronomy of Stonehenge suggests that the builders had something different in mind. Their understanding of the solar and lunar cycles must have led to a high regard for the cosmic order. Eclipses may have been seen as affirmations of the regularity of these cycles. Or perhaps the unseen lunar nodes formed an element of their religion as invisible gods capable of eclipsing the brightest objects in the heavens.

The idea that Stonehenge may have been a center for some kind of worship has occurred to many. It is not hard to imagine Stone Age people gathering at a “sacred place” at “sacred times” (such as solstices, equinoxes, and eclipses) to reaffirm their religious beliefs through ritual practices. British antiquarian Dr. William Stukeley, who in 1740 was the first to note the summer solstice alignment at Stonehenge, advanced the notion that the monument was built by Druids to worship the serpent. He claimed that Stonehenge and similar stone circles had been serpent temples, which he called “Dracontia.” Could this serpent symbolism be related to eclipses? Recall that the key to eclipses is the position of the lunar nodes. The length of time for the Moon to return to a node (about 27.2 days) astronomers call the draconic month. (Draco is the Latin word for “serpent” or “dragon.) Perhaps the mythical serpents of Stonehenge and the legendary dragon that eats the Sun are symbols of the same thing: the invisible presence in time and space that eclipses the Sun and the Moon.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge builders had geometry skills to rival Pythagoras

8 11 2010

Stone Age Britons had a sophisticated knowledge of geometry to rival

The Stone Age Britons who built Stonehenge had a knowledge of advanced geometry, 2,000 years before Pythagoras

The Stone Age Britons who built Stonehenge had a knowledge of advanced geometry, 2,000 years before Pythagoras

Pythagoras – 2,000 years before the Greek “father of numbers” was born, according to a new study of Stonehenge. Five years of detailed research, carried out by the Oxford University landscape archaeologist Anthony Johnson, claims that Stonehenge was designed and built using advanced geometry.

The discovery has immense implications for understanding the monument – and the people who built it. It also suggests it is more rooted in the study of geometry than early astronomy – as is often speculated. Mr Johnson believes the geometrical knowledge eventually used to plan, pre-fabricate and erect Stonehenge was learnt empirically hundreds of years earlier through the construction of much simpler monuments. He also argues that this knowledge was regarded as a form of arcane wisdom or magic that conferred a privileged status on the elite who possessed it, as it also featured on gold artefacts found in prehistoric graves.

The most complex geometrical achievement at Stonehenge is an 87-metre diameter circle of chalk-cut pits which mark the points of a 56-sided polygon, created immediately within themonument’s perimeter earthwork. Mr Johnson used computer analysis and experimental archaeology to demonstrate that this outer polygon was laid out using square and circle geometry. He believes the surveyors started by using a rope to create a circle, then laid out the four corners of a square on its circumference, before laying out a second similar square, thus creating an inner octagon. The points of the octagon were then utilised as anchors for a surveyor’s rope which was used to “draw” arcs which intersected the circumference so as to progressively create the sides of a vast polygon. Indeed, his work has demonstrated that a 56-sided polygon is the most complex that can easily be created purely through square and circle geometry using a single piece of rope.

The Stonehenge Tour Company

The Stonehenge Tour Company

It is likely that this basic limitation determined the number of sides of Stonehenge’s outer polygon – and may also have led to the 56-sided polygon concept becoming important within wider European religious belief. Ancient Greek classical mythology associated just such a 56-sided polygon with Zeus’s great rival for divine supremacy, the weather god Typhon. Johnson’s research, published as a book this week, shows that Stonehenge derived its design from geometrical knowledge and features no less than six concentric polygons – a 56-sided outer one built around 2950BC; a regular octagon built around 2500BC) inside that; two concentric (though partly inaccurate) 30-sided polygons built around 1650BC, which were based on a series of hexagons; a 30-sided inner polygon (the sarsen stone ring which was built around 2500BC) also based on hexagonal geometry; and two probable 40-sided concentric polygons (probable former blue stone positions built around 2600BC) that were later modified to 30-sided ones.

They also created the famous central stone “horseshoe” utilising the survey markers used to create the thirty-sided sarsen polygon. The experimental archaeology demonstrates that most of the monument was pre-planned and that the great stones were pre-fabricated off-site and then installed by surveyor-engineers. “For years people have speculated that Stonehenge was built as a complex astronomical observatory. My research suggests that, apart from mid-summer and mid-winter solar alignments, this was not the case,” said Mr Johnson. “It strongly suggests that it was the knowledge of geometry and symmetry which was an important component of the Neolithic belief system.” “It shows the builders of Stonehenge had a sophisticated yet empirically derived knowledge of Pythagorean geometry 2000 years before Pythagoras,” he said.

A leading British prehistorian, Sir Barry Cunliffe, from Oxford University, believes that Anthony Johnson’s research is “a major step forward in solving the puzzle of Stonehenge”.  Details of Anthony Johnson’s research can be found in his book ‘Solving Stonehenge’ published by Thames and Hudson. Further information can be found at solvingstonehenge.co.uk/

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Private Access tours 2011 – Go beyond the fences!

4 11 2010

Hot off the press – Stonehenge Access Dates!
I have just been sent 2011 dates for Stonehenge ‘private access’ tours (see below)  If you are planning on visiting Stonehenge in the next 12 months then I highly recommend joing one of these trips.

Stonehenge Inner Circle Tours - Go beyond the fences

Stonehenge Inner Circle Tours – Go beyond the fences

For those of you who have not visited this sacred site, I should mention that the complex is roped off. Visitors observe the stones from a distance and are not permitted within the temple complex……….Stonehenge special access tours allow you to be amongst the stones and to experience the magic.

There are a few sightseeing tour operators who offer this service and I have just been advised of the 2011 dates.  There are limited spaces and I highly recommend booking sooner rather than later – this is a very popular tour.  A fantastic photograph opportunity!

  • Stonehenge Special Access dates 2011
    January 2011 – 2nd, 14th, 21st, 24th, 31st
    February 2011 – 4th, 7th, 18th, 28th
    March 2011 – 7th, 14th, 25th, 28th
    April 2011 – 3rd, 6th, ,7th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 24th, 25th, 28th
    May 2011 – 1st, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 18th, 22nd, 23rd, 26th, 29th
    June 2011 – 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, 9th, 12th, 15th, 21st
    July 2011 – 3rd, 6th, 7th, 11th, 10th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 28th, 31st
    August 2011 – 4th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 17th, 18th, 21st, 22nd, 25th, 28th
    September 2011 – 1st, 5th, 8th, 11th, 15th, 18th, 29th

Private tours can often be arranged for alternative other dates for families and small groups  but need to be booked well  in advance

These Stonehenge access tours can be booked through the excellent  ‘Stonehenge Tour Company’  website.  For a selection of other Stonehenge Tours from London that can also include:  Bath, Lacock Village, Salisbury Cathedral, Windsor Castle, Avebury Stone Circle, The Cotswolds, Oxford etc click here

The Stonehenge Tour Company

The Stonehenge Tour Company

Avebury Stone Circle

One or two operators offer tours that include Stonehenge and Avebury plus nearby Silbury Hill, West Kennet Long Barrow, Chalk hill figures and even crop circles (April – September) Try The Stonehenge Tour CompanyHistouries UK and Salisbury Guided ToursShould you need any unbias advice on organising a tour to Stonehenge please do email me – tours@stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Druids mark festival after becoming official religion

1 11 2010

Druids are celebrating their first major festival since their beliefs were granted official status as a religion.

Samhain

Sanhain

For them and other pagans, 31 October is not Halloween, but Samhain, and marks the turning of the year from light into dark.

Earlier this month, the Charities Commission ruled that the Druid Network should have the same status as other faiths such as Christianity and Islam.

Pagans do not worship one single god, but look for the spiritual in nature.

The number of pagans, including druids, witches and wiccans, has grown in recent years.

Many believe that the absence of rules, the focus on the environment and particular regard for the female have a strong resonance in contemporary society.

Druids worship the spirits they believe inhabit the earth. Among them are those embodied in forces of nature, such as thunder, and places, like mountains and rivers.

Their rituals, including Samhain, are focused particularly on the turning of the seasons.

After a four-year inquiry, the Charity Commission decided that druidry offered coherent practices for the worship of a supreme being, and provided a beneficial moral framework.

Earlier this month the Charities Commission gave the Druid Network the status of a religion.

Happy New Year Pagans!
Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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