Tag Archives | Solstice

Was Stonehenge A Giant Musical Instrument?

I’m starting to wonder if maybe the ancients left stonehenge around just to mess with us.

Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge. Photo: Andrew Dunn (CC)

Summer Solstice Sunrise over Stonehenge. Photo: Andrew Dunn (CC)

Before dawn Saturday, thousands of revelers will again gather among the monoliths at Stonehenge to sing, bang drums and frolic beneath a solstice sunrise.

Theories surrounding the monument’s intended purpose — temple? observatory? big sundial? — go in and out of fashion. But this year, the partygoers will show up outside Salisbury, England, with fresh evidence that the site was always intended to host such shenanigans.

Specifically, making loud rock music.

Researchers from the Royal College of Art in London have found that some of the monument’s rocks possess unusual acoustic properties; when struck, they make a loud, clanging noise. Perhaps, they say, this explains why these particular rocks were chosen and hauled from nearly 200 miles away — a significant technical feat some 4,000 years ago.

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Winter Solstice Today

Goseck-CircleThe winter solstice is upon us this weekend. While it’s far too soggy outside for the bonfire I had half-considered, I’ll still probably tip a glass of rum later tonight to the passing of another winter. I’m not religious, but I try to be mindful of the natural world’s cycles and remember my place within them.

If you’re interested, here’s a nice little list of ancient tribute sites from Live Science.

Goseck circle, Germany

The Goseck circle is a series of concentric rings dug into the ground — the largest of which measures about 246 feet (75 m) in diameter — located in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It dates back to about 4900 B.C., but was forgotten and covered by a wheat field before being discovered through aerial surveys in the early 1990s. Archaeological remains suggest Goseck circle was the site of religious rituals, such as sacrifices.

Upon discovery and excavation, researchers realized that two gates cut into the outermost circle aligned with the sunrise and sunset of the winter solstice, suggesting this the circle was somehow a tribute to the solstice.

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