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Ancient Observatories
Goseck Circle

Goseck Circle RingwalkThe Goseck circle is a Neolithic structure in Goseck in the Burgenlandkreis district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

It consisted of a set of concentric ditches 75 meters (246 feet) across, and two palisade rings containing gates in defined places. It is considered the earliest sun observatory currently known in Europe.

Interpretations of the ring suggest that European Neolithic and Bronze Age people measured the heavens far earlier and more accurately than historians have thought. The site was made public in August 2003. German media have called the site "German Stonehenge," although the use of the term henge for structures outside Britain is disputed and it apparently has no bank.

The circle at Goseck is one of more than 250 carefully excavated ring-ditches in Germany, Austria and Croatia identified by aerial surveys, though archaeologists have investigated barely 10% of them. Goloring near Koblenz in western Germany is a similar - if later example. Previously they thought that the enclosures might have been fortifications and were puzzled by the fact that there was no sign of buildings inside the circles.

Not all precisely laid-out Neolithic and Bronze Age European religious, calendrical or astronomical circles were stone circles of megaliths or standing stones; Stonehenge and Mnajdra are atypical examples. Even the Stonehenge site was preceded by a ditch-and-bank enclosure with later-added timbers; their post holes remain. (Holes in the ground are very permanent. For example, when a posthole is left unused, it later fills with sediments, creating a characteristic pattern in an archaeological dig.) Mnajdra and the Maltese megalithic temple complexes are set in a woodless environment.

Goseck Circle Overview

Goseck Circle OverviewThe yellow lines represent the direction the sun rises and sets at the winter solstice, while the vertical line shows the astronomical meridian.

800px-WoodHenge-Goseck-Germany-Ringwalk
A view inside the recently reconstructed wooden palisade of the circle.

 

by: Courtesy of Wikipedia

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