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Prehistoric tombs may have enhanced astronomical viewing

Astronomers are exploring what might be described as the first astronomical observing tool, potentially used by prehistoric humans 6,000 years ago. They suggest that the long, narrow entrance passages to ancient stone, or 'megalithic', tombs may have enhanced what early human cultures could see in the night sky, an effect that could have been interpreted as the ancestors granting special power to the initiated.

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thesweetcheat Posted by thesweetcheat
1st July 2016ce

Comments (4)

This is plausible isn't it. The night skies would have been so much clearer and more visible anyway without our modern veil of pollution. Good reading. tjj Posted by tjj
1st July 2016ce
Sounds like more special pleading from the astronomers .
Just as megaliths are hardly the most efficient or accurate method for marking an event or being an aid to “observations “ ,you don’t need to build a passage grave to enhance viewing of the night sky .
There are much simpler methods .
One of the common features of monuments like passage graves are the internments ,which doesn’t suggest the most comfortable of viewing experiences .
There is also the problems that the passages were often sealed , and not that long after the build date in some cases .
Another is that not all passages permit viewing of the night sky , they are not all straight, changes in direction meaning that the chamber does not provide a view of the sky are not uncommon . Yet another problem from a classic example like Newgrange which does have a straight passage ,is that it slopes downhill from the chamber making the floor of the chamber almost level with the highest part of the entrance meaning observation from chamber to sky is probably impossible even when lying down .

tiompan Posted by tiompan
1st July 2016ce
Thanks for your comment Tiompan. The link made me think of Knockmany in Co Tyrone where I had the rare privilege of meeting Mark Bailey from Armagh Observatory - he had a theory that the spiral rock art with 'tails' were meant to represent comets (or fireballs) and there was a lot of comet activity in the sky at that time. Although Knockmany only dates back about 3,000BC - there does seem to be a strong link with 'some' ancient tombs and the night sky. Knockmany was build on the highest point in the surrounding area. tjj Posted by tjj
1st July 2016ce
I've never bought the rock art representing comets stuff June .
The Knockmany motifs don't even look like comets to me and if some did represent comets what about all the other motifs ? Considering the huge amount of spirals found worldwide is it likely that they also represent comets or is not more likely that spirals are a favoured motif that punters like drawing /engraving ? Is the triskele /triple spiral representing three comets in collison ?

tiompan Posted by tiompan
2nd July 2016ce
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