Stonehenge: An Astronomical Calculator
One of the most intriguing mysteries in the world is the Stonehenge. Nobody knows who built the mysterious ring of rock in Wiltshire, England or what its purpose was exactly. There are many theories associated with Stonehenge and archaeologists have been debating for ages to determine why it was built. Most experts believe that Stonehenge is actually an ancient astronomical calculator.
- Discovering Stonehenge
- Sacred Destination: Stonehenge
- Image of Stonehenge
- Significance of Stonehenge
William Stukeley proposed that there was a sacred pattern laid out with centers at both Stonehenge and Avebury. He also proposed that the first religion of the world was patriarchal, citing either the Druids or early Christians as the most likely people who actually built Stonehenge. He believed whoever built Stonehenge knew about magnetism and had built the monument so that it was aligned to the Magnetic North Pole. He also proposed that it was completed around 460 B.C.
Meanwhile, Gerald Hawkins studied Stonehenge much later, in 1965, using computer programs. He found multiple solar and lunar alignments that correlated with the location of Stonehenge. He set his data so that the positions of the stars and planets would match where they were in 1500 B.C., when he believed it was built, and found that 13 solar correlations and 11 lunar correlations matched up with the megalithic stages. In other words, he believed Stonehenge was used to predict astronomical events. He also believed that it was built to align with the position of the summer and winter solstices.
The most well-known stone at Stonehenge is the Heel Stone, a Saracen stone that stands at its entrance. It leans 27 inches away from the vertical and it weighs 35 tons. Formerly known as Friar’s Heel, its Welsh name was Freya Sul, or “Sun Day.” The Heel Stone is one of the few Stonehenge stones that was left unworked when it as put into place.
Stonehenge has a ring of 56 pits that are now known as Aubrey holes, after antiquarian John Aubrey. They date back to the late fourth and early fifth millennium. These holes were not really noticed until the 1920s. It’s believed that the only standing feature at Stonehenge at the time these holes were dug was the Heel Stone – the marker of the midsummer sunrise – but this is now proven false. Some experts believe they were meant to hold timbers or more stones, but the astronomical interpretations of these holes are very interesting. It’s also believed that the holes helped to predict astronomical events. Complicated math theories back this up to some degree, as some lunar eclipses can be predicted by using numbers associated with Stonehenge. It’s even believed that Stonehenge was used to keep track of lunar cycles by moving marker stones two holes per day, ending with 56 holes.
Now, it’s widely accepted that Stonehenge was used to predict eclipses. The inner “horseshoe” of 19 stones at the very heart of Stonehenge actually acted as a long-term calculator that could predict lunar eclipses. By moving one of Stonehenge’s markers along the 30 markers of the outer circle, it’s discovered that the cycle of the moon can be predicted. Moving this marker one lunar month at a time – as opposed to one lunar day the others were moved – made it possible for them to mark when a lunar eclipse was going to occur in the typical 47-month lunar eclipse cycle. The marker would go around the circle 38 times and halfway through its next circle, on the 47th full moon, a lunar eclipse would occur.