“A German academic believes he has solved one of Malta’s enduring archaeological enigmas and intends to sail the Mediterranean on a replica Bronze Age vessel to prove it.
The Tal-Qadi Stone, discovered at the temple complex of the same name in Salina and exhibited at the National Museum of Archaeology, in Valletta, is a book-sized limestone slab, divided into five segments and incised with figures of stars and what has usually been thought of as a crescent moon.
Most archaeologists believe the stone, probably a fragment of a larger whole, was a star map or moon calendar but its exact purpose remains a mystery.
Kai Helge Wirth, a geographer and art scientist who has been researching the stone for some four years, believes he has cracked the mystery.
The stone, he says, was an ancient navigational tool, a map not only of the stars but of water currents in the Mediterranean.
Illuminated from the right angle, he suggests, the moon figure on the stone reveals itself to be not a moon at all but a boat: a ‘proto-Phoenician bird-bark’.
The stars are the constellations Scorpio, Virgo and Leo.
They correspond directly to the early Phoenician shipping routes.”
[Amazing story from the Times of Malta! That one ancient stone could carry information about various star patterns as well as ocean current tells us that ancient mariners were far more sophisticated than previously thought by mainstream archaeologists, though many are now considering the widespead ancient knowledge of astronomy with greater respect that they have done for more than 100 years.
We really recommend a visit to read the full story and see the clear image of this amazing stone artifact that has puzzled archareologists since it was first discovered – Ed]
[An excellent story from BBC News! Astrolabes were efficiently accurate enough to allow mariners to navigate the seas, and this is another important discovery. Well worth a visit to the BBC site to see the images of the astrolabe and a video of the marine archaeologists at work – Ed]
“It turns out that nearly 1,000 years ago our ancestors were just as keen to share news about a solar eclipse, but in the absence of smartphones or computers they used more primitive means to depict the stunning solar event: rock art.
Researchers believe they have discovered a rock carving in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon that represents a total eclipse that occurred more than 900 years ago.
The engraving, known as a petroglyph, shows a circle with curved, intricate swirling emissions issuing from it.
Around the circle, believed to depict the sun, human figures can be seen in different positions and engaged in different activities.
University of Colorado Boulder Professor J. McKim Malville has said the circle shown in the rock art represents the sun’s outer atmosphere, known as its corona, with the tangled, looped protrusions on its edges dating it to a total eclipse that occurred in the region on July 11, 1097.”
[Well done Newsweek for highlighting this discovery! Eclipses were very important to ancient peoples all over the world, as they gave a glimpse of the corona and any major activity such as Cornonal Mass Ejections (CMEs) that may have been happening at the time of the eclipse. This story is well worth reading in full to understand the thinking behind the discoverers’ conclusions regarding exactly what this petroglyph represents – Ed]
“Ancient stone monuments may have been used for mysterious night-time ceremonies, archaeologists believe, after finding that some rock carvings only appear in moonlight.
Traditionally Neolithic structures were believed to align with the movements of the Sun, with the huge Wiltshire circle of Stonehenge lining up perfectly with the summer solstice.
But a new investigation of the Stone Age engraved panel Hendraburnick Quoit in Cornwall by Dr Andy Jones, found nearly 10 times the number of markings when viewed in moonlight or very low sunlight from the south east.
They also discovered that pieces of quartz had been deliberately smashed up around the site which would have glowed in the dark under moonlight, or firelight, creating a gentle luminescence.
Dr Jones, of the Cornwall Archaeological Unit said: ‘I think the new marks show that this site was used at night and it is likely that other megalithic sites were as well.'”
[WOW! What a revelation! That ancient megalithic sites were also used at night to view and study the moon’s movements, and that very precise surveying, complex mathematics and astronomical knowledge was incorporated with precision into many megalithic sites, has been known for more than 50 years with the excellent scientific studies of megalithic stone structures done by Oxford Uni Prof. Alexander Thom, revealed in his classic book, “Megalithic Lunar Observatories”.
The many campaigns to write Prof. Thom’s ground-breaking work out of the history of prehistoric astronomy is not so well known, but a full expose of this corrupt academic smear campaign run by the archaeological establishment can be found in the well-researched book by Robin Heath, “Alexander Thom: Cracking the Stone Age Code”
This Telegraph story is well worth reading in full for its important new insights, but also see the short video above on Hopewell Archaeoastronomy Lunar Alignments – Ed]
“Blackened and irregular, the prehistoric beads found in a centuries-old Illinois grave don’t look like anything special.
But the latest analysis1 shows that they were fashioned from an exotic material: the shards of a meteorite that fell to Earth more than 700 kilometres from where the beads were found.
The link between the Anoka meteorite, which landed in central Minnesota, and the Illinois beads confirms that ‘2,000 years ago, goods and ideas were moved hundreds of miles across eastern North America’, says Timothy McCoy, co-author of the analysis and curator-in-charge of meteorites at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC
The beads were made by people of the Hopewell culture, which flourished in the US Midwest from 100 BC to 400 AD – spreading from its epicentre in Ohio to as far as Mississippi.
The culture is known for sprawling ceremonial earthworks and for objects made of non-local materials such as mica.”
[Again we see that meteorites were held to be ‘sacred’ stones in yet another ancient culture. Most of these cultures have common themes throughout their religious and scientific beliefs, specifically a belief in Mother Earth and Father Sky. There are local differences but the common themes will go back much further to the times when meteorite bombardments from the sky destroyed their origin culture. This story is well worth reading in full – Ed]
April 09 2017, Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, USA
“Seen from the air, the structure is a D-shape, perched on the lip of a mesa that overlooks the famous “Cliff Palace” dwelling at Mesa Verde National Park.
Scientists call it the Sun Temple.
But what is it? An 800-year-old observatory? A ceremonial structure? A mix of both?
The only people who would know are the ancestral Puebloans — also known as the Anasazi — who built structures across the Southwest and then started abandoning them in the 13th century.
In a recent paper, an Arizona State University mathematician examined aerial imagery and concluded that the Sun Temple contains sophisticated geometric patterns, including Pythagorean triangles and other shapes used by other ancient civilizations.
The mathematician, Sherry Towers, also concluded that the Sun Temple’s builders had used a common unit of measurement — roughly 30 centimetres — in designing the site.”
[Another interesting story about ancient peoples use of sophisticated maths and geometry combined with astronomy! It only goes to show that when inter-disciplinary investigations review the archaeological records they find ancient peoples to have been far more sophisticated than previously thought by archaeologists and prehistorians – Ed]
“While excavating an ancient Roman villa buried in volcanic ash, 18th-century workers found an unusual lump of metal small enough to fit in a coffee mug.
Cleaning it revealed something both historically important and hilarious: one of the world’s oldest known examples of a portable sundial, which was made in the shape of an Italian ham.
Recently re-created through 3-D printing, a high-fidelity model of the sundial is helping researchers address questions about how it was used and the information it conveyed.
The model confirms, for instance, that using the whimsical timepiece required a certain amount of finesse, says Wesleyan University’s Christopher Parslow, a professor of classical studies and Roman archaeology who made the 3-D reconstruction.
All the same, ‘it does represent a knowledge of how the sun works, and it can be used to tell time.’
The vertical lines are marked for the months of the year. The horizontal lines indicate the number of hours past sunrise or before sunset.”
[A great story! It seems that ancident people’s could invent devices to tell the time of day, as well as devices and structures that record the solstices, equinoxes and lunar ectremes positions relative to Earth. Well done NatGeo – Ed]
[Some more interesting info about the Winer Solsice discovery in Sicily. Well worth a visit to read the full story and see the amazing image of the Winter Solstice sun shining right through the hole in the stone – Ed]
“A group of friends stumbled across an unusual arrangement of stones in Sicily, which experts have now confirmed form a prehistoric sundial dating back to the Bronze Age.
Their report was read by Professor Alberto Scuderi, a regional director of Italy’s Archaeologist Groups, who suggested the discovery get scientific confirmation.
The professor, who specializes in archeoastronomy, has been studying the find for three months, completing the work on Tuesday, January 3rd. Scuderi was due to present the full results of his analysis on Thursday at Gela’s Archaeological Museum.
But a professional verification carried out on December 21st – the winter solstice – confirmed that the sundial would have been used to determine the season and solstices.”
[Really great story from The Local in Italy! The Solstices were likely the most important of seasonal markers for both hunter-gatherers as well as early farmers, and this story underlines the importance of people who find ancient remains reporting them to the appropriate authoritites so they can be investigated and protected – Ed]
Astro-Archaeology & Archaeoastronomy Discoveries that were
“In a very significant discovery, historians and archaeologists have claimed to have discovered ‘undoubtedly the earliest astronomical observatory from India or even south Asia’ dating back to 5000 BC.
The site in Mudumal village in Telangana’s backward Mahbubnagar district is being described as the only megalithic site from India, where a depiction of star constellation has been identified.
A team of archaeologists from Korea, involving professors from a university, will be visiting the site in December to ascertain the veracity of the discovery, according to officials of Telangana Archaeology Department.
A cup-mark depiction of Ursa Major was noticed on a vertically planted squarish stone with a slanting face.
An imaginary line drawn through the top two stars – Merak and Dubhe – point to pole star or the North Star.
The two cup-marks representing Merak and Dubhe are aligned almost exactly on north-south axis.
Just on the eastern periphery of this concentration, there is a stone circle arranged with menhirs alternating with three or four circle stones.”
“In a significant discovery, historians and archeologists have found what they describe as the only megalithic site in India, where a depiction of star constellation has been identified.
The site was discovered in Mudumal village in Telangana and is estimated to date back to 5000 BC.
No other site in India has so many menhirs concentrated at one place, claim the historians and archeologists who also believe that this is ‘undoubtedly the earliest astronomical observatory found in India or even south Asia’.
A cup-mark depiction of Ursa Major was noticed on a squarish stone planted vertically.
About 30 cup-marks were arranged in a pattern similar to the appearance of Ursa Major in the sky.
Not only the prominent seven stars, but also the peripheral groups of stars are depicted on the menhirs
Mudumal contains about 80 big menhirs as tall as 12 to 14 feet, and about 2000 alignment stones of about 1-2 feet high.”
[An excellent discovery in south India. Now that archaeologists are considering the siting of ancient sites and their possible relationship with phenomena visible in the skies, astro-archaeology is progressing at an incredible pace. Their new understanding that ancient megalith builders on every continent were not just avid skywatchers but more than capable of recording various astronomical phenomena perhaps the old Euro-centric misinterpretation of prehistory will die its well-deserved death – Ed]
[Another really good story from ABC News that shows how previous notions of Australian aboriginals was jus so wrong. The Euro-centric misinterpretations of prehistory which have dominated the past few hundred years were simply racist, and it’s about time credit is given where it is due for the much greater understanding of the cosmos that ancient peoples undoubtedly had but which has been played down by past racist academics – Ed]
“For more than 120 years the Venus Table of the Dresden Codex – an ancient Mayan book containing astronomical data – has been of great interest to scholars around the world.
The accuracy of its observations, especially the calculation of a kind of ‘leap year’ in the Mayan Calendar, was deemed an impressive curiosity used primarily for astrology.
But UC Santa Barbara’s Gerardo Aldana, a professor of anthropology and of Chicana and Chicano studies, believes the Venus Table has been misunderstood and vastly under-appreciated.
In a new journal article, Aldana makes the case that the Venus Table represents a remarkable innovation in mathematics and astronomy – and a distinctly Mayan accomplishment.
‘That’s why I’m calling it discovering discovery’, he explained, ‘because it’s not just their discovery, it’s all the blinders that we have, that we’ve constructed and put in place that prevent us from seeing that this was their own actual scientific discovery made by Mayan people at a Mayan city.'”
[A great story from Space Daily. The ancient Mayan people were competent astronomers and avid skywatchers who recoded their observations in monuments that academic scientist are starting to really appreciate. And about time too – Ed]
“University of Adelaide research has for the first time statistically proven that the earliest standing stone monuments of Britain, the great circles, were constructed specifically in line with the movements of the Sun and Moon, 5000 years ago.
The research, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, details the use of innovative 2D and 3D technology to construct quantitative tests of the patterns of alignment of the standing stones.
‘Nobody before this has ever statistically determined that a single stone circle was constructed with astronomical phenomena in mind – it was all supposition’, says project leader and University of Adelaide Visiting Research Fellow Dr Gail Higginbottom, who is also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Australian National University.
Examining the oldest great stone circles built in Scotland (Callanish, on the Isle of Lewis, and Stenness, Isle of Orkney – both predating Stonehenge’s standing stones by about 500 years), the researchers found a great concentration of alignments towards the Sun and Moon at different times of their cycles.”
“Hopewell earthworks and mounds are some of the most intriguing and mysterious geometric formations created in the ancient world.
‘Hopewell’ refers to a Native American mound-building era that developed from the earlier Adena culture, with both names derived from excavated mound sites on historic plantations.
Adena and Hopewell spanned the approximate time frame of 1500 BC to AD 900 and were gradually replaced by another mound culture called ‘Mississippian’.
Archaeological research the past few years has shown that many ancient Native American mound/earthwork sites were constructed in a way that facilitated a death ritual that would lead deceased souls to the stars.
This ‘Path of Souls’ ritual took place on the Winter Solstice and involved Orion’s Nebula and the Cygnus Constellation.
The key alignments for the death ritual on the Winter Solstice were the sunset, the setting point of Cygnus (specifically the star Deneb), and the rising and setting points of Orion’s Nebula.
On the night of the Winter Solstice a series of star alignments were viewed.
These alignments were typically made from the top of a prominent mound directly across another important mound or an important earthwork point such as an opening or corner of the formation.
On the distant horizon and directly above the aligned mound, observers would see the setting and rising of the stars involved.”
[An incredible article from Digital Journal published as a press release from AP Magazine. The achievements of Native American astronomners and shaman skywatchers never fails to impress us, and this analysis by Dr. Greg Little is typical of what is increasingly being discovered in ancient sites all over the Americas.
The Digital Journal article is well worth a visit to read the full story, and the original article by Dr. Greg Little published in the August 2016 issue of Alternate Perceptions magazine is also a Must Read to see the diagrams with which Dr. Little illustrates his discoveries – Ed]
“Researchers think that the entrance passages to 6,000 year-old tombs could have been used to enhance visibility for ancient stargazers.
Ancient passages to stone tombs could have been used by prehistoric humans to boost their view of the night skies as part of an ancient ritual, archaeologists have proposed.
Researchers say that the dark entrances to 6,000 year-old tombs in Portugal could have been an early form of astronomical tool that enhanced the visibility of the stars.
In particular, they say, the orientation of the entrances to the passage graves suggests that they are aligned to offer a view of Aldebaran, the red star that is the brightest body in the constellation of Taurus.
The star might have been important to ancient communities who moved their herds and flocks to summer grazing grounds in the mountains each year.”
[A great story from The Guardian. But the speculation that observations of Aldebaran, the brightest star in the Taurus constellation, ‘might’ have been used ritually, and marked the times to move flocks to higher ground, is just specualtion. No-one knows when the fragmenting comet (known as proto-Encke) first became visible, but all astronomers and astrophysicists agree that when the fragments began bombarding the Earth they appeared to come from Taurus. It is more likely that observations oriented to Taurus would have been to monitor the fragmenting comet and the resultant meteor showers/storms. Well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed]
“When you’re trying to fathom a mangled relic of very old hi-tech, it helps to have the manufacturer’s instructions.
For over a century since its discovery in an ancient shipwreck, the exact function of the Antikythera Mechanism – named after the southern Greek island off which it was found – was a tantalizing puzzle.
From a few words deciphered on the twisted, corroded fragments of bronze gears and plates, experts guessed it was an astronomical instrument. But much more remained hidden out of sight.
After more than a decade’s efforts using cutting-edge scanning equipment, an international team of scientists has now read about 3,500 characters of explanatory text – a quarter of the original – in the innards of the 2,100-year-old remains.
They say it was a kind of philosopher’s guide to the galaxy, and perhaps the world’s oldest mechanical computer.”
[What an excellent story from CBC! The ongoing research is showing just how sophisticated the makers of the ‘Antikythera Mechanism’ were, and the images are also superb. Whether or not it was the ancient Greeks who made it remains uncertain, as there were other older cultures whose remains indicate a much more advanced astronomy than that possessed by the Greeks at the time scientists believe it was ‘probably’ made. It’s well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed]
[This is really great research. Meteoritic iron seems to have been universally ‘worshipped’ in many ancient cultures, and regarded as some form of “heaven’s mandate” for the governance of societies by the incumbent ruler. Well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed]
“Researchers in Mexico have discovered that an ancient Mayan observatory isn’t only aligned to the sun, it’s also designed to track the movement of the planet Venus across the sky, confirming that the ancient Central American civilization had extensive knowledge of astronomy and the solar system.
First unearthed at Acanceh in Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula in 2002, the observatory is thought to have been used in the Mayan’s early Classic period, between 300 and 600 AD, a millennia or more before the arrival of the Spanish in the Americas.
‘We believe this building used to be a multifunctional facility that was used exclusively by the Mayan elite, specifically for priests-astronomers’, Beatriz Quintal Suaste, a researcher at the Yucatán National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), told the Mexico City newspaper Excelsior.
Doors in the structure align with the rising and setting of the sun during the spring and fall equinoxes, and the semicircular building is set up so that it casts no shadow in the midday sun.
That Venus, the brightest object in the sky after the sun and moon, was important to the priests-astronomers of Acanceh shows in how the southern edge of the observatory, which aligns with the planet’s northernmost position in the night sky.”
[This is an excellent story from Fox News Latino. The ancient Maya were very accomplished astronomers, and this new research shows that, as with ancient skywatchers in Britain and elsewhere, the movements of Venus were carefully tracked in Central America also. Well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed]
[What a great piece of research! Building structures sited so as to mirror the constellations is something that seems to have been a common practice throughout the ancient world, and this is an excelent example of this practice. Amazing satellite images. Well done William! – Ed]
“In early 2017, hundreds of media outlets around the world reported that a set of recently deciphered ancient clay tablets revealed that Babylonian astronomers were more sophisticated than previously believed.
The wedge-shaped writing on the tablets, known as cuneiform, demonstrated that these ancient stargazers used geometric calculations to predict the motion of Jupiter.
Scholars had assumed it wasn’t until almost A.D. 1400 that these techniques were first employed-by English and French mathematicians.
But here was proof that nearly 2,000 years earlier, ancient people were every bit as advanced as Renaissance-era scholars.
Judging by the story’s enthusiastic reception on social media, this discovery captured the public imagination.
It implicitly challenged the perception that cuneiform tablets were used merely for basic accounting, such as tallying grain, rather than for complex astronomical calculations.”
[To reiterate the points made before – the abilities of ancient peoples to observe the movements of various celestial bodies, and accurately record their observations and calculate their movements, seem to have been more accurate the further back in time they are traced. A seriously radical rethink of ancient people’s scientific abilities is long overdue – Ed]
“Tracking and recording the motion of the sun, the moon, and the planets as they paraded across the desert sky, ancient Babylonian astronomers used simple arithmetic to predict the positions of celestial bodies.
Now, new evidence reveals that these astronomers, working several centuries B.C.E., also employed sophisticated geometric methods that foreshadow the development of calculus.
Historians had thought such techniques did not emerge until more than 1400 years later, in 14th century Europe.
Astroarchaeologist Mathieu Ossendrijver of Humboldt University in Berlin bases his findings on a re-examination of clay tablets, one of them unknown until recently, dating from 350 B.C.E. to 50 B.C.E.
One week each year for the past 14 years, Ossendrijver has made a pilgrimage to the British Museum’s vast collection of tablets inscribed in the Babylonian cuneiform script.
Between 2002 and 2008, Ossendrijver, an astrophysicist turned historian, studied two other tablets that also prescribed the drawing of a trapezoid, and in these he thought he could make out a reference to Jupiter.”
[The abilities of ancient peoples to observe the movements of various celestial bodies, and accurately record their observations and calculate their movements, seem to have been more accurate the further back in time they are traced. This very important discovery demonstrates their mathematical genius, and we can only hope that more tablets such as these are still safely left to be discovered given the recent destruction by Daesh radicals – Ed]
January 25 2016, Stone Pages/RILKO Magazine, Italy/UK
“Following nearly 40 years of research, Norman Stockdale and Peter Harris conclude that a standard unit of length was used in the construction of megalithic monuments, but not the same unit proposed long ago by Professor Thom.
Thom had been Professor Emeritus of Engineering at Oxford, and an expert in astro-navigation and surveying, and drew plans for hundreds of ancient monuments prior to publishing his book, ‘Megalithic Sites in Britain’, in 1967.
[A great story showing how ancient peoples could not only observe the movements of various celestial bodies, accurately record their observations and calculate their movements, but also incorporated that knowledge into the architechture of megalithic monuments. You can get the book by Norman Stockdale & Peter Harris “Astronomy & Measurement in Megalithic Architecture” if you want to read more about this very important astro-archaeological research – Ed]
[In October 1900, Captain Dimitrious Kondos was leading a team of sponge divers near the the island of Antikythera off the coast of Greece. They noticed a shipwreck about 180 feet below the surface and began to investigate. Amongst the artifacts that they brought up was a coral-encrusted piece of metal that later archaeologists found was some sort of gear wheel.
The rest of the artifacts, along with the shape of the boat, suggested a date around 2000 years ago, which made the find one of the most anomalous that had ever been recovered from the Greek seas. It became known as The Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2006 the journal “Nature” published a letter, and another paper about the mechanism was published in 2008, detailing the findings of Prof. Mike G. Edmunds of Cardiff University. Using high-resolution X-ray tomography to study the fragments of the anomalous Antikythera Mechanism, they found that it was in fact a bronze mechanical analog computer that could be used to calculate the astronomical positions and various cycles of the Moon – as seen from the Earth: – Ed]
More Antikythera Mechanism Information & Commentary:
“The 2300 BC Event takes a new look at an old puzzle: what happened at this date to cause the various advanced societies on the Earth to simultaneously collapse?
Civilizations in Anatolia and Greece, through Egypt and the Middle East, and eastward to India and Central Asia were at their height. The collapse of these civilizations due to earthquakes and climatic changes has been mirrored by similar interruptions on all continents, in the Arctic, and extending to the Pacific.
The discontinuities have long puzzled archaeologists and historians. New religions and accompanying mythologies appeared at this time in all cultural regions describing bombardment and flooding from the skies.
Strangely, the dominant aspect of the mythologies, however, is the observation and worship of a ring appearing to surround the Earth, oriented to the two Ursa (Bear) constellations.”
“Some time around 2300 BC the Eath encountered a dense clustering of space debris, the early Southern & Northern Taurid meteoroid stream. The result was an intense fall of meteoroids, some of them sufficiently large to cause surface destruction.
Simultaneous with the meteoroid fall was a huge downpouring of water which caused flash flooding. Extensive destruction and loss of life resulted. An astonishing aspect of the event was the formation of a ring surrounding the Earth, reflecting sunlight during the day, hiding some stars at night, and moving around the sky through a 24-hour period.
Following the ‘main event’, there were crustal movements which shifted the location of water sources, and caused earthquakes which destroyed settlements. Abrupt severe climate changes occurred.”
“The Northern/Southern Taurid meteoroid stream is identified as the specific meteoroid stream that the Earth encountered at 2300 BC.
The Earth’s encounter with a dense cluster of large objects would produce atmospheric phenomena very different from the pleasant and interesting night displays of meteor trails that are within our own experience.
The rain of objects would have generated extraordinary visual and auditory effects combined with ground vibrations; and under extreme conditions would bring about severe surface destruction and loss of life.
The overall event was associated by the people with powerful deities and formed the basis for major religions. The mythologies and traditions are, in large part, the residues of those religions.”
Research in the field of neo-catastrophism and impact cratering has quickened its pace since the early 1980s. Scholars such as Victor Clube, Bill Napier, Mark Bailey, Sir Fred Hoyle and Duncan Steel claim that a more ‘active’ sky might have caused major cultural changes of Bronze Age civilizations, belief systems and religious rituals.”
“After rumors surfaced about the sun bisecting a petroglyph at Chaco Canyon, people never looked at the site the same again.
The discovery proposed a cosmology at Chaco, and the book looks at the people who lived in the San Juan Basin from 850 AD to 1300, developing an elaborate culture around the cycles of the sun and moon.
Anna Sofaer’s pioneering work on Chaco Canyon, a World Heritage Site, should be required reading for anyone interested in how the prehistoric people of the American Southwest conceptualized their universe and placed themselves within that universe.”