Orientation of Stone Age graves in Denmark could have astronomical explanationDecember 19th, 2008 - 5:30 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Dec 19 (ANI): A new research, from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, has indicated that the orientation of Stone Age graves at the Danish passage could have an astronomical explanation.
According to the research, the Danish passage graves are most likely oriented according to the path of the full moon, perhaps even according to the full moon immediately before a lunar eclipse.
There are many Stone Age graves in Denmark, where archaeologists estimate that around 40.000 large stone graves were built from around 3500 to 3000 BC.
Only about 500 of the large passage graves, called giant tombs are preserved today, but one of the great mysteries is their orientation in the landscape.
With the help of GPS, a compass and a surveying instrument, Claus Clausen, who graduated as astronomer from the Niels Bohr Institute, measured the orientation of entrance tunnels of approximately 100 passage graves.
It turned out that there was a remarkable concentration of certain orientations.
Rasmussen, astronomer and supervisor of the special project, suggested that Clausen look at the connection between the sun and the moon and especially lunar eclipses, because there were two orientations that occurred frequently and that could suggest something with specific full moons.
Astronomer Ole Einicke, who for many years has calculated data for the Danish Almanac, had made a computer program that could calculate the position of the planets for the next year.
The program was now used to calculate back in time.
It was found that there is a significant concentration of orientations towards east/southeast as seen from within the passage grave. It can be interpreted that the passage graves are oriented according to the winter sunrise.
But, researchers think it more likely that they are positioned according to the rise of the full moon, for example, the first full moon after the spring equinox.
The calculations show, that in the period from 3.300 to 3.100 BC, there was an over frequency of 50 percent in the number of lunar eclipses that could be seen in Denmark.
The exciting thing was that the pattern indicated that it could fit with the rise of the full moon immediately before a lunar eclipse.
The passage graves had been used for burials and the orientation of the entrance is concentrated towards the full moon points to a ritual practice that involved the moon. (ANI)
- Sky Watchers Enjoy Lunar Eclipse Spectacle - Dec 21, 2010
- Star gazers catch glimpse of year's last lunar eclipse - Dec 11, 2011
- Total lunar eclipse Dec 10 - Dec 06, 2011
- Lunar Eclipse Viewed By Icelanders The Best - Dec 22, 2010
- Lunar eclipse coincides with winter solstice in 400 years - Dec 21, 2010
- Lunar Eclispe Coincides With Winter Solstice After 456 Years - Dec 20, 2010
- India to witness darkest lunar eclipse June 15 - Jun 03, 2011
- Planetary collision created Earth and Moon - Jun 08, 2010
- Total lunar eclipse on Saturday - Dec 07, 2011
- Ice age to interglacial period: Greatest climate change - Jul 24, 2012
- Skygazers All Set To Witness Lunar Eclipse This Month - Dec 18, 2010
- It Is Once In A 'Blue Moon' Tonight - Nov 21, 2010
- China's orbiter survives lunar eclipse - Dec 23, 2010
- India to witness darkest lunar eclipse Wednesday - Jun 14, 2011
- Full moon's luster to be lost during Thursday's lunar eclipse - Dec 31, 2009
Tags: archaeologists, astronomer, clausen, east southeast, full moon, full moons, great mysteries, Lunar Eclipse, lunar eclipses, niels bohr institute, orientations, passage grave, passage graves, position of the planets, remarkable concentration, stone age, sun and the moon, surveying instrument, university of copenhagen, winter sunrise