Ancient Solar Observatory Discovered in Peru
2007 03 04
By Sara Goudarzi | space.com
The fortified stone temple at Chankillo. Credit: National Aerial Service, Peru
The oldest solar observatory in the Americas has been discovered in coastal Peru, archeologists announced today.
The 2,300-year-old ceremonial complex featured the Towers of Chankillo, 13 towers running north to south along a low ridge and spread across 980 feet (300 meters) to form a toothed horizon that was used for solar observations.
Researchers excavated the solar observatory between 2000 and 2003. They found buildings—in exact mirror position of each other—to the east and west of the towers with observation points for watching the Sun rise and set over the toothed horizon.
The rise of the sun between Tower 1 and Cerro Mucho Malo at the June solstice, 2003, viewed from the western solar observaotry. The sunrise position at the solstice has shifted to the right approximately 0.3° from year 300 BC. Credit: Ivan Ghezzi
How it works
In addition to the daily east to west motion, our Sun appears to move eastward through the stars in a path known as the ecliptic over the course of a year. Also, the Earth’s axis is not perpendicular to the ecliptic but slanted by an angle of a little over 23 degrees. The combinations of these positions determine where the Sun is above our horizon day by day.
At different times of the year one can observe the Sun rise and set in different spots with respect to our horizon and for different lengths of time. For example, in the Northern Hemisphere, around the summer solstice—which falls on June 21—the Sun rises highest in the sky and stays up longer.
As viewed from the two observing points of Chankillo [image], the spread of towers along the horizon corresponds very closely to the range of movement of the rising and setting positions of the Sun over the year, the authors write in the March 2 issue of the journal Science.
Once the Sun started to move away from any of its extreme positions, like the solstices or equinoxes, the towers and gaps between them provided a means to track the progress of the Sun up and down the horizon, to within a couple of days accuracy.
“Chankillo is arguably the oldest solar calendar that can be identified as such with confidence within the Americas,” said lead study author Ivan Ghezzi from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru.
Tree-ring samples dated these structures back to the fourth century B.C.
“Many indigenous American sites have been found to contain one or a few putative solar orientations,” Ghezzi said. “Chankillo, in contrast, provides a complete set of horizon markers and two unique and indisputable observation points.”
At the end of a 131-foot-long corridor in the building to the west of the towers, the researchers found pottery, shells, and stone artifacts in an area possibly for commoners who participated in rituals linked to solar observations.
Previous studies showed that the Incas—South American Indians who established an empire that once ranged from northern Ecuador to central Chile from 1100 to the 1530s—had built sites to mark solar observations by 1500.
In comparison, the earliest portion of Stonehenge—megalithic ruins in southern England purported to correlate with the rising and setting of the Sun and the Moon—is said to have been completed around 3000 B.C.
The new finding, however, puts Sun cults in the Americas at an earlier date than the Incans.
“Chankillo was built approximately 1,700 years before the Incas began their expansion,” Ghezzi said. “Now we know these practices are quite a bit older and were highly developed by Chankillo’s time.”
Article from: http://space.com/scienceastronomy/070301_oldest_observatory.html
Towers point to ancient Sun cult
The Thirteen Towers constitute an ancient solar observatory
The oldest solar observatory in the Americas has been found, suggesting the existence of early, sophisticated Sun cults, scientists report.
It comprises of a group of 2,300-year-old structures, known as the Thirteen Towers, which are found in the Chankillo archaeological site, Peru.
The towers span the annual rising and setting arcs of the Sun, providing a solar calendar to mark special dates.
The study is published in the journal Science.
Clive Ruggles, professor of archaeoastronomy at Leicester University, UK, said: "These towers have been known to exist for a century or so. It seems extraordinary that nobody really recognised them for what they were for so long.
"I was gobsmacked when I saw them for the first time - the array of towers covers the entire solar arc."
The towers have inset staircases
The Thirteen Towers of Chankillo run from north to south along the ridge of a low hill within the site; they are relatively well-preserved and each has a pair of inset staircases leading to the summit.
The rectangular structures, between 75 and 125 square metres (807-1,345 sq ft) in size, are regularly spaced - forming a "toothed" horizon with narrow gaps at regular intervals.
About 230m (750ft) to the east and west are what scientists believe to be two observation points. From these vantages, the 300m- (1,000ft-) long spread of the towers along the horizon corresponds very closely to the rising and setting positions of the Sun over the year.
"For example," said Professor Ruggles, "if you were stood at the western observing point, you would see the Sun coming up in the morning, but where it would appear along the span of towers would depend on the time of the year."
"So, on the summer solstice, which is in December in Peru, you would see the Sun just to the right of the right-most tower; for the winter solstice, in June, you would see the Sun rise to the left of the left-most tower; and in-between, the Sun would move up and down the horizon."
This means the ancient civilisation could have regulated a calendar, he said, by keeping track of the number of days it took for the Sun to move from tower to tower.
The site where the towers are based is about four square kilometres (1.5 square miles) in size, and is believed to be a ceremonial centre that was occupied in the 4th Century BC. It is based at the coast of Peru in the Casma-Sechin River Basin and contains many buildings and plazas, as well as a fortified temple that has attracted much attention.
The authors of the paper, who include Professor Ivan Ghezzi of the National Institute of Culture, Peru, believe the population was an ancient Sun cult and the observatory was used to mark special days in their solar calendar.
Professor Ruggles said: "The western observing point, and to some extent, the eastern one, are very restricted - you couldn't have got more than two or three people watching from them. And all the evidence suggests that there was a formal or ceremonial approach to that point and that there were special rituals going on there.
"This implies that you have someone special - the priests perhaps - who watched the Sun rise or set, while in the plaza next door, the crowds were feasting and could see the Sun rise, but not from that special perspective.
Written records suggest the Incas were making solar observations by 1500 AD, and that their religion centred on Sun worship.
"We know that in Inca times, towers were used to observe the Sun near the solstices, which makes you speculate that there are elements of cult practice that go back a lot further," Professor Ruggles told the BBC News website.
Article from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6408231.stm
Tropical Stonehenge May Have Been Found
Celestial Find at Ancient Andes Site
Discovery could bring Peru's 'cloud warriors' to earth
600 Year Old Amazon Mummies of the Chachapoyas Caught In Terror
Latest News from our Front Page
STAGED INFECTION: Has The Ebola ‘Outbreak’ Narrative Fallen Apart?
2014 10 22
Over the past month, the ‘pandemic’ propaganda surrounding the deadly Ebola virus seemed to reach vitriolic levels – raising serious questions about the validity of this current viral outbreak…
On Monday of this week, it was reported that 48 people were released and cleared after a 21-day quarantine due to their contact with the now deceased Ebola-stricken patient Thomas Eric ...
6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered
2014 10 21
A 6,000-year-old temple holding humanlike figurines and sacrificed animal remains has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine.
Built before writing was invented, the temple is about 60 by 20 meters (197 by 66 feet) in size. It was a "two-story building made of wood and clay surrounded by a galleried courtyard," the upper floor divided into five ...
What happened to Journalist Serena Shim? Assassinated? Find out what happened to Serena, Press TV director calls on Turkey
2014 10 21
Press TV news director Hamid Reza Emadi says the “suspicious death,” of the news channel’s correspondent in Turkey is a tragedy for “anyone who wants to get the truth.”
Emadi made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Sunday following Serena Shim’s death across the border from Syria’s Kurdish city of Kobani, where the ISIL terrorists and Kurdish fighters ...
Ancient Roman Nanotechnology Inspires Next-Generation Holograms for Information Storage
2014 10 21
The Lycurgus Cup, as it is known due to its depiction of a scene involving King Lycurgus of Thrace, is a 1,600-year-old jade green Roman chalice that changes colour depending on the direction of the light upon it. It baffled scientists ever since the glass chalice was acquired by the British Museum in the 1950s, as they could not work ...
Rapid Geomagnetic Reversal Possibility: Confirmed
2014 10 21
From the video: "The scientists who conducted the study are still unsure why the magnetic field is weakening, but one likely reason is the Earth’s magnetic poles are getting ready to flip, said Rune Floberghagen, the ESA’s Swarm mission manager. In fact, the data suggest magnetic north is moving toward Siberia."
Tune into Red Ice Radio:
Ben Davidson - Suspicious0bservers: Space Weather ...
|More News » |