New Findings Show That Stonehenge May Have Been an Ancient Time-Keeping SystemAccording to reports published by author and professor, Timothy Darvill.
Researchers may have uncovered one of the largest mysteries surrounding Stonehenge. It was largely believed that the ancient monument was simply used for ceremonial purposes. However, according to a study led by author and professor, Timothy Darvill of Bournemouth University, Stonehenge may have been primarily made as a system for time-keeping.
The findings were first published in Antiquity, in which Darvill noted that the large stones, also known as sarsens, were used as “building blocks of a simple and elegant perpetual calendar based on the 365.25 solar days in a mean tropical year.” The stones, believed to be sourced from Marlborough Downs, were set up nearly 5,000 years ago and haven’t moved since. The most prominent feature is the Sarsen Circle, which features 30 upright stones that carry conjoining lintels on top.
According to Darvill, the circle corresponds succinctly with the Neolithic calendar in which there are 30 days in a month, or alternatively, three 10-day weeks. Each stone, labeled S1 to S30, represents a single day in the calendar. As was apparent in antiquity, the central axis of the site was, and still is, aligned with the sunrise at midsummer and with sunset at midwinter.
“Finding a solar calendar represented in the architecture of Stonehenge opens up a whole new way of seeing the monument as a place for the living,” Darvill said in a statement, adding, that the site was a “place where the timing of ceremonies and festivals was connected to the very fabric of the universe and celestial movements in the heavens.”
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