New research using 2D and 3D technology has confirmed the UK’s oldest stone megaliths are indeed connected to the astronomy that they understood.
Stones surveyed at the Isle of Orkney show a direct connection in the way these stones were set in alignment with the sun and moon at different times of the year. The University of Adelaide research conducted this research providing valuable insights to the ancient peoples of Briton. Other sites surveyed conclude that the ancient people that inhabited this region have been aligning stones as a type of star chart or calendar for 2,000 years.
A stone circle is a monument of standing stones arranged in a circle. Such monuments have been constructed in many parts of the world throughout history for many different reasons. Outside of Europe, stone circles have also been erected, such as the 6300~6900 BCE Atlit Yam in Israel and 3000~4000 BCE Gilgal Refaim nearby, or the Bronze Age examples from Hong Kong.
The best known tradition of stone circle construction occurred across the British Isles and Brittany in the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age, with over 1000 examples still surviving to this day, including famous examples like Avebury, the Rollright Stones and Stonehenge. Another prehistoric stone circle tradition occurred in southern Scandinavia during the Iron Age, where they were built to be mortuary monuments to the dead.
The size and number of the stones varies from example to example, and the circle shape can be an ellipse.
There are approximately 1,300 stone circles in Britain and Ireland. The French archaeologist Jean-Pierre Mohen in his book Le Monde des Megalithes says: “British Isles megalithism is outstanding in the abundance of standing stones, and the variety of circular architectural complexes of which they formed a part…strikingly original, they have no equivalent elsewhere in Europe — strongly supporting the argument that the builders were independent.”
Often oriented on sight lines for the rising or setting sun, it is possible that, for their builders, the cycle of seasons was very important.