Ancient Alignments - EXAMPLES
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Ancient structures around the world are precisely aligned to the sun and
stars. Some are lined
up with the
cardinal points but most are aligned to other astronomically significant directions.
The precise and sometimes puzzling orientation of the ancient structures can be explained by understanding that
their primary function was to serve as observation platforms for priests working
with the calendar. The stone structures were perfectly constructed for
predicting and sighting a wide variety of astronomical alignments including the
solstices and precession of the equinoxes.
Many ancient pyramids and temples were simply oriented with the direction of the
rising or setting sun, moon, a planet or a star on a significant day of the
year. This type of alignment was the easiest to accomplish provided that the
builders of such structure had good knowledge of the calendar (and could
identify the day of the year when the orientation line pointing to the rising or
setting heavenly body should be drawn). For example, on the Mexican plateau, all
ceremonial centers where "Olmec" origins or influence are found demonstrate
Positioning of many other ancient structures was based on finding a true north-south meridian
as defined by the Earth's rotational axis and on spherical geometry.
The line on the surface of the earth through the place and both
poles is called the meridian of the place: it is a half-circle since the
earth is spherical.
Ancient Alignments - Examples
Standing Stones at Nabta in the Nubian Desert
Location: 22° 30' N
STANDING STONES at Nabta in the Nubian desert predate Stonehenge and other
astronomically aligned sites in Europe by 1,000 years.
They are the oldest
dated astronomical alignment discovered so far and bear a striking resemblance
to Stonehenge and other megalithic sites constructed a millennium later in
England, Brittany, and Europe.
In Nabta, there are six megalithic alignments extending across the sediments
of the playa, containing a total of 24 megaliths or megalithic scatters. Like
the spokes on a wheel, each alignment radiates outward from the complex
Calendar Circle at Nabta.
A line of megalith (ca 4,800 B.C.) which coincides with the rising position of
in Nabta during the summer solstice (image courtesy of M. Shaltout)
In the Sahara Desert in Egypt lie the oldest known
astronomically aligned stones in the world: Nabta. Over one thousand years
before the creation of Stonehenge, people built a stone circle and other
structures on the shoreline of a lake that has long since dried up. Over 6,000
years ago, stone slabs three meters high were dragged over a kilometer to create
the site. Shown above is one of the stones that remains. Little is known about
the ultimate purpose of Nabta and the nature of the people who built it.
Photo credit: J. M. Malville (U. Colorado) & F. Wendorf (SMU) et al.
These standing megaliths
and ring of stones were erected from 6.700 to 7,000 years ago in the southern
Sahara desert. Although more research needs to be done, many scientists, believe
that the alignments had an astronomical significance.
Three hundred meters north of these alignments is the stone calendar circle.
Compared to Stonehenge, this circle is very small, measuring roughly 4 m in
diameter. The calendar consists of a number of stones, the main ones being four
pairs of larger ones.
Fig. 4 & 5
The stone calendar circle near Nabta
Each of these four pairs were set close together to form "gates." Two of
these pairs align to form a line very close to a true north-south line,
and the other two pairs or gates align to form an east-west line. The
east-west alignment is calculated to be where the sun would have risen and set
from the summer solstice 6,500 years ago (4,500BC).
Alignments of standing stones and megalithic structures (oval clusters of
recumbent stones) extend for up to a mile, marking north and east as well as 24
to 28 and 126 degrees east of north, directions whose meanings are still being
A ten-foot circle composed primarily of stone slabs has four
"windows/gates" marked by pairs of standing stones; the four are arranged in two
pairs, one forming a north-south line of sight and the other a line stretching
from 62 to 298 degrees east of north. The latter coincides approximately with
the summer solstice sunrise 6,800 years ago (4,800 BC), which would have fallen about 63
degrees east of north.
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The role of Nabta as a regional ceremonial center is also
indicated by a north-south alignment of nine large (average, 3 x 2 x
0.5 m) quartzitic sandstone slabs set upright about 100 m apart, and
partially imbedded in playa sediments near the gathering area along
the northwest margin of the seasonal lake. The blocks were unshaped,
and many of them are now broken; however, they can be refitted.
Outcrops of similar sandstone occur in the vicinity, some less than
a kilometer from the alignment. The alignment cannot be dated
precisely, but it is probably Late Neolithic in age, and if so it
was erected between 7500 and 5500 years ago. It is similar to the
large stone alignments found in Western Europe, where they are dated
to the late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, about the same age as
the Nabta alignment. There are other alignments known farther south
in both East and West Africa, but they are thought to date much
later, to the Iron Age.
About 300 m beyond the north end of the Nabta alignment is a
"calendar circle" consisting of a series of small sandstone slabs
arranged in a circle about 4 m in diameter. Among the ring of stones
are four pairs of larger stones, each pair set close together and
separated by a narrow space, or gate. The gates on two of these
pairs align generally north-south; the gates on the other two pairs
form a line at 700 east of north, which aligns with the calculated
position of sunrise at the summer solstice 6000 years ago. In the
center of the circle are six upright slabs arranged in two lines ,
whose astronomical function, if any, is not evident. Charcoal from
one of the numerous hearths around the "calendar" dated around 6800
years ago (6000 bp +- 60 years, CAMS - 17287).
External Links and References:
Location: 51° 11' N 1° 49' W
Many Stonehenge alignments exist which undoubtedly indicate the
astronomical significance of Stonehenge's construction. The axis of Stonehenge aligns approximately to the midsummer
rising sun azimuth.
Stonehenge is a megalithic monument on the Salisbury Plain in
Southern England, composed mainly of thirty upright stones (sarsens,
each over ten feet tall and weighing 26 tons), aligned in a circle,
with thirty lintels (6 tons each) perched horizontally atop the
sarsens in a continuous circle. There is also an inner circle
composed of similar stones, also constructed in post-and-lintel
Fig. 1c The axis of Stonehenge aligns approximately
to the midsummer
rising sun azimuth.
Fig. 3 Aerial View of Stonehenge
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In the foregoing picture a line (blue) originating at
Stonehenge's centre, dissects the centre of the Heel stone. The
azimuth angle of this line, off North, is 51.18333333-degrees, which
equates to 51 degrees, 11 minutes. This is the official latitude
designation for Stonehenge (51 deg. 11 minutes).
Note how the line relates to the Avenue set of circles (magenta)
and brushes the northern side of the large post marker adjacent to
the Avenue circles. A nearby line of posts extends toward the Heel
Stone, as if to indicate this "latitude" line.
It is normal carpentry or surveying practice to have
"sighting-lines" run to the "side" of pegs or posts, rather than to
the centres, as far greater accuracy is achieved and the surveyor is
able to visually verify the accuracy of the full alignment. When a
line runs to the centre of a stone, the stone itself will generally
have a peaked or pointed top to finitely indicate the refined
intended position of the alignment.
Another circle of immense importance, which links Stonehenge to
the Lunar codes of the Khafre Pyramid of Egypt. It will be noted
that this circle (2nd inward red) brushes two component positions on
the Avenue, one of which has the official designation "B". The
diameter of this circle is 472.5 feet, which is exactly the intended
vertical height of the Khafre Pyramid of Egypt. The base measurement
of Khafre was 15/16ths that of the Great Pyramid or 708.75 feet. It
was also built to a 3,4,5 triangulation code, with 1/2 the base
length acting as the adjacent (354.375 feet), the vertical height
acting as the opposite (472.5 feet) and the diagonal face acting as
the hypotenuse (590.625 feet).
Each of these values was in deference to the lunar month and
lunar year (based upon 29.53125 days per lunar month or 345.375 days
per lunar year).
The diameter of this Stonehenge circle is, therefore, coding the
height of the Khafre Pyramid in increments of 16 X 29.53125-days/
feet. This value of 472.5 days was also integral to the ancient
method of measuring the 18.613-year lunar nutation cycle, which was
calibrated to endure for 6804-days (230.4 lunar months of
29.53125-days or 14.4 time periods of 472.5-days duration). Note
also that 230.4 is an expression of the very important ancient
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The Stonehenge Observatory
http://www.stonehengeobservatory.com/ this site compliments new
The Stonehenge Observatory to be published in June 2008. The
site includes fully interactive 3D models for viewing Stonehenge as
it is and as it would have appeared as an observatory, as well as an
animated 3D reconstruction of its destruction where users can view
the impact on individual stones.
This completely new insight explodes the present
archeological interpretation of a monument built by the inhabitants
of Neolithic Britain. Through state-of-the-art software The
Stonehenge Observatory brings the site to life, exploring every
feature of the design to challenge the perceived dates and methods
of construction, and original purpose as a ritual place of worship
or temple aligned on the midsummer sunrise. The conclusion is
stunning in its simplicity.
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