"Museo dei dolmen" (Dolmen Museum) is a virtual museum of Mediterranean and Western Europe prehistory and early history, set up and directed by Federico Bardanzellu.

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Prehistory and Early History of the Mediterranean and Western Europe

 

Stonehenge West Kenneth
Museo dei Dolmen
Silbury_Hill
Stonehenge (Source:Event Horizons,  David Lyons, Ambleside, Cumbria)    Silbury Hill(Source: Aerofilms Library, London) West Kenneth (Source: Diego Meozzi)

 

 

Megalithic burials of Neolithic Age

 

The archaeological diggings and the by now many decennial studies of hundred of prehistoric burials have demonstrated, with greater confidence of results, that their makers knew with precision the motion of the stars and towards them they have oriented their burial constructions.

 

The bearing of this buildings towards particular events, as the rising or the setting of the most luminous stars, astonishes us more then their giantism. Last of a long series of studiouses, British John North, in the book “Stonehenge”, 1996, has recognized many series of astral alignments of neolithic megalithic burials; we have elaborated the following data of such locations:

 

Name

Country

Tipology

Age

Dating (B.C.)

Astral Target

Fussel's Lodge

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

4250/3950

Aldebaran, Spica, Beta Crucis, Beta Centauri, Deneb, Rigel

Wayland's Smithy

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

3800/3440

Capella, Spica

Wayland's Smithy II

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

3800/3440

Capella, Spica, Alpha and Beta Crucis

Horslip (Windmill Hill)

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

4160/3840

Betelgeuse, Sirius, Venus

West Kenneth

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

3800/3400

Spica, Pleiades, Betelgeuse, Beta Tauri, Antares

West Kenneth/ditches

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

3790/3360

Sirius, Vega

Silbury Hill

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

3630/2500

?

Beckhampton Road

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

3480/3320

Rigel, Pollux, Beta Centauri

South Street

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

3700/3375

Sirius?, Vega?

Skendleby Giant's Hills 1

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

3350/2700

Vega, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse

Skendleby Giant's
Hills 2

England

Long Barrow

Neolithic

3940/3540

Deneb, Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, solstice sunrise/sunset ?

Radley

England

Burial Parallelogram

Neolithic

3730/3670

Deneb, Bellatrix

Grendon

England

 Dice mound

Neolithic

3630/3350

Deneb, Betelgeuse, solstice sunrise/sunset

Hazleton North

England

Cairn

Neolithic

3870 ?

Vega, Sirius

Windmill Hill (inner ring)

 

England

 

Circular mound

Ditch az. 156

Neolithic

3945/3515

Sirius

Ditch az. 346,5

Neolithic

3945/3515

Vega

Windmill Hill (middle ring)

 

 

England

 

 

Circular mound

Ditch az.23

Neolithic

3520

Vega

Ditch az.107

Neolithic

3420

Antares

Ditch az.130

Neolithic

3480

Bellatrix

Ditch az.275

Neolithic

3600

Altair (sunset)

Windmill Hill (outer ring)

 

 

England

 

 

Circular mound

Ditch az. 90

Neolithic

3450

Spica

Ditch az.122

Neolithic

3520

Antares

Ditch az.138

Neolithic

3520

Aldebaran

Ditch az.157

Neolithic

3510

Bellatrix

Ditch az.276

Neolithic

3480

Pollux (sunset)

Source: John North 1996 (Processing by F.B.)

 

 

 

 

Weyland_Smithy

 

Weyland Smithy

(Source: Event Horizons,

David Lyons, Ambleside, Cumbria)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Callanish

 

Callanish 

(Source: Event Horizon,

David Lyons, Ambleside; Cumbria, G.)

 

 

 

 

 

Avebury

Avebury

(Source: Diego Meozzi)

 

 

 

Reference to the "Heliacal Star"

Astronomical alignments were incorporated inside Neolithic and Bronze Age buildings;  this factor pleads in favor of the argument that the sky was gilding a leading role in prehistoric religions. This circumstance is a realy indicator of a religious belief in the divinity of the heavenly bodies, and the stars  may have probably been considered, at least in the remote past, a representation of the ancestors become gods after their dead. Very rarely in prehistory, the Neolithic burials are fully aligned to a solar phase, as can be seen in the table. There is, in fact, a constant deviation to the right, ie to the north-east.

The approach seems to correspond to the sunrise star (in some cases the sunset star) visible in the region of the horizon where the sun was rising (or setting). The star of reference, therefore, seems to be what astronomers call "Heliacal Star".

 

Classic Anglo-saxon Megalithism

In Pottery Neolithic,  it appear another kind of buildings that seem have hosted, inside them , some  religious ceremonies oriented towards the astral motions, particularely towards the lunar or solar phases. Their typology has been codified with the following denominations:

Cursus: space between one brace of parallel banks, with ditches annexed  inside or outside;

Row: great dimension stones (menhir) aligned in one direction;

Avenue: space between parallel stone rows.

In Pottery Neolithic,  the burial of the members of a clan was probably geared towards the star or constellation that was thought as totemic or protector of the clan, for a possible rebirth. (Even today there is the saying "born under a lucky star").

Marcel Moreau, in Les civilizations des Etoiles has an interesting explanation of this phenomenon: "The prehistoric men hooked up some stellar groups with imaginary lines, drawing in the sky some approximate figures of men and animals, easily recognizable. For orientation, it was only necessary the indication of the brighter star of a constellation.

So they said: The Eye of Taurus, Virgo's Spica, Vega of Lyra etc. (Moreau, 1973, 27)". All these groups of stars, ideally linked together, in fact, are indicated (probably in the same way of the prehistoric times) with the name of an animal (ex: Bear, Taurus, Aries, etc.), or some human figures or, in some cases, with some zoomorphized figures (Sagittarius, Capricorn, etc..).

This could have led to the identification of a clan, a tribe, or even of their ancestors, with their hero or animal identified in the heavenly constellation of reference. The religious ceremonies celebrated on regular basis, inside this megalithic buildings, should therefore be similar to many rituals that still are existing among primitive peoples.

"That 's what - continues Moreau - it's called getting into the skin of another, or under a protective mask, to be more powerful. It's  the origin of all the mythic skins and totemic masks. It's the introduction of a human being in the skin of a celestial animal, then a totem animal".

 

Here is the table specifying the astronomical alignments:

 

Name

Country

Tipology

Age

Dating (B.C.)

Astral target

Dorset

England

Cursus

Neolithic

3880/3070

Rigel, Pollux, Rigel Centauri, Sirius

Stonehenge (Lesser
Cursus)

England

Cursus

Neolithic

3430

Altair, Spica, Antares

Stonehenge (Greath
Cursus)

England

Cursus

Neolithic

3420/3240

Antares, Pollux, Arcturus, Rigel

Dorcester

England

Cursus

Copper Age

2450

Pollux

Brandyshop Bridge

Wales

Cursus

Copper Age

2700

Rigel

Bledlow Cross

England

Giant representation

Neolithic

3660/3620

Rigel, Sirius

Whiteleaf Cross

England

Giant representation

Neolithic

3650/3620

Spica, Capella

Wilmington Long
Man

England

Giant representation

Neolithic

3480

Orion

Uffington White
Horse

England

Giant representation

Neolithic

3230

Taurus

Dartmoor
(Corringdon Ball)

England

Row

Copper Age

2720/1980

Rigel

West Kenneth
Avenue

England

Avenue, with some Menhirs

Copper Age

2235

Rigel, minor southern lunar sunrise and sunset, minor northern lunar sunrise and sunset, major southern lunar sunset

Stonehenge Avenue

England

Avenue

Copper Age

2165

Minor northern lunar sunset

Stall Moor/Green Hill

England

Row

Copper/Br. Age

2010/1660

Deneb, Arcturus

Butterdon Row

England

Row

Bronze Age

1720

Arcturus

Staldon Row

England

Row

Bronze Age

1660

Arcturus, Vega

Source: John North 1996 (Processing by F.B.)

 

 

 

Stonehenge

 

Stonehenge

(Source: Diego Meozzi)

 

Devon

Devon

(Source: Diego Meozzi)

 

 

 

Astral calendars

With the development of the civilization, very complex constructions appear, with a function of calendars for ceremonial using; only in minimal  part with stellar target, but lunar and solar for the greater part:

a) Henge:  circular enclosure with internal or external ditches and often one or more inner rings of wooden poles (treehenge) or rocks;

b) Cromlech: breton expression indicating a stone circle surrounding a mound-shaped peristyle.

 

 

Some scholars record, in the course of the 3rd millenium B.C., the introduction in Great Britain of the bell-beaker by a  population coming from the continent. However, every hypothesis of connection between the arrival of new populations and the development of the religious cult of the moon and the sun has to be taken with extreme caution. The writer, on the contrary, thinks somewhat singular this hypothetic connection between a particular glass style and the changing of the religious cult by a part of a population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a third table concerning more complex constructions, with a calendar function for ceremonial use and their astronomical orientations.

 

Name

Country

Tipology

Age

Dating (B.C.)

Astral Target

Arminghall

England

Treehenge

Neolithic

3100

Solstice sunrise and sunset

Stonehenge (Access road poles)

England

Treehenge

Neolithic

3000

Winter solstice sunset, Rigel

Stonehenge
(Aubrey Holes tangent lines)

England

Treehenge

Neolithic

2850

Winter solstice sunset, southern lunar solstice sunset

Stonehenge
(station stones rectangle)

England

Henge

Neolithic

2600

Northern lunar solstice sunset

Avebury

England

Henge

Neolithic

2600

Deneb?, northern and souther lunar solstice sunrise and sunset, summer and winter sunset solstice

Mount Pleasant

England

Treehenge

Copper Age

2500

Vega, Aldebaran, sunrise and sunset solstice

Stonehenge
(Heel Stone-Altar Stone-Trilithon)

England

Henge

Copper Age

2460

Winter solstice sunrise

Durrington Walls

England

Treehenge

Copper Age

2440/2320

Deneb, Vega, Aldebaran, sunrise and sunset solstice, northern lunar sunset solstice

Woodhenge

England

Treehenge

Copper Age

2270

Sunrise solstice, northern lunar sunset solstice?

Harenermolen 1st
Phase

Nederland

Treehenge

Copper Age

2100/2000

?

Harenermolen 2nd
Phase

Nederland

Treehenge

Copper/Br. Age

2000/1500

?

Callanish

Hebrides

Henge + Row

Copper/Br. Age

1800

Capella, Betelgeuse, major southern lunar sunrice solstice, northern lunar sunset solstice, winter sunrise and sunset solstice

Harenermolen 3rd
Phase

Nederland

Treehenge

Bronze Age

1500/1100

major southern lunar sunrice solstice, sunrise and sunset solstice

Drizzlecomb

England

Henge + Row

Bronze Age

1510?

Pollux, Capella?

Source: John North 1996 (Processing by F.B.)

 

Credits - Text by  Federico Bardanzellu  2011      facebook