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15 August 2023
Ancient history, Archaeology

At https://phys.org/news/2023-08-sacred-astronomical-observatory-middle-neolithic.html … the Goseck circular earthwork enclosure  looks like a forerunner to Stonehenge – without the stones. You may note the title has – sacred astronomical enclosure. In fact, a circular enclosure. The shape is distinctly different to that of long barrows of the same era, which are trapezoidal. Round barrows don’t come into the frame until after the arrival of Bronze using people. In Britain and Ireland this is after 2500BC, at earliest. Possibly, not until after 2300BC [in old money]. However, bronze first appears somewhat earlier in eastern and central Europe, with an origin in the steppe  zone north of the Caucasus. This occurred in the aftermath of the 3200-3000BC downturn and upheaval. The so called Piorra Oscillation. Goseck is reminiscent of a henge. In Britain and Ireland these are generally dated after 3000BC – although causewayed enclosure of the 4th millennium are circular. Not in an exact sense.

The press release comes from an American source. In Britain the idea of a sacred astronomical enclosure would quite likely be absent of the reference to ‘astronomical’. The subject, in British archaeology, is normally not mentioned. Only if it involves the midwinter sun or midsummer sun. Actual astronomical alignments are frowned upon. There are of course rogue archaeologists that do mention them. Alexander Thom is akin to the devil in your glass of sherry.

In spite of that Stonehenge and some other sites are uncontroversially aligned to the Sun at midwinter and midsummer. Alignments to the moon are not so readily accepted. Now, why would anyone want to set up an alignment to midsummer, for example. It was for calendrical purposes, we are told. The alignment is not exact and picks out a few days prior to and after midsummer. However, they do not know it is exact or not as they assume it is midsummer they are interested in. If people were interested in picking out the June Taurids and then that occurs a few days prior to midsummer day. That is one possibility. Exactness has never been measured with that in mind. Not only that but meteor streams are not confined to a single day.

We are told that Goseck goes back to between 4900 and 4600BC, shortly before the arrival of Neolithic people in Britain in 4500BC – or a little later. There are around 150 known circular enclosures [sometimes elliptical] of roughly concentric arrangements of ditches and pallisades, in central and eastern Europe. These all belong to the Middle Neolithic [prior to 3000BC]. Presumably, they were constructed by early farmers that entered the Balkans after 6000BC. Why they were built is an unknown. Or why. They clearly had some kind of astronomical association. This is desribed at https://charismaticplanet.com/goseck-circle-oldest-solar-observatory/ … noting is is also called the Goseck henge. In fact, after it was rebuilt, with the aid of archaeologists, it has been laid out like a henge – with concentric rings of ditches. Causwayed enclosures in Britain, almost a thousand years later, were also composed of concentric rings. The difference was that the ditches in Britain were segmented.

Goseck lies in Saxony-Anholt in what is now Germany. See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neolithic_circular_enclosures_in_Central_Europe … Goseck is aligned not only to midwinter sunrise and sunset but to Beltane [April 30th] and summer solstice [midsummer].

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