The mystery of Stonehenge has finally been solved as experts claim it was an ancient solar calendar

THE MYSTERY of why the prehistoric Britons built Stonehenge has finally been solved after research confirmed the monument served as an ancient solar calendar.

Professor Timothy Darvill concluded that the site was designed as a calendar based on a solar year of 365.25 days, helping people keep track of the days, weeks and months.

Archaeologists have confirmed that Stonehenge was an ancient solar calendar


Archaeologists have confirmed that Stonehenge was an ancient solar calendarPhoto credit: Getty

His analysis includes new discoveries about the history of the Wiltshire Stone Circle as well as analysis of other ancient calendar systems.

“The clear alignment of Stonehenge to the solstice has led people to suspect, since the antiquary William Stukeley, that the site contained some kind of calendar,” said Prof Darvill.

“Now, discoveries have brought the problem into sharper focus, showing that the site was a calendar based on a tropical solar year of 365.25 days.”

Recent research has shown that Stonehenge’s sarsen were built during the same phase of construction around 2500 BC. were added.

They were sourced from the same area and subsequently stayed in the same formation. This indicates that they worked as a unit.

Prof. Darvill of Bournemouth University analyzed these stones, examined their numerology and compared them to other known calendars from the period.

He identified a solar calendar in their layout and suggested that they served as a physical representation of the year, helping residents keep track of the days, weeks, and months.

“The proposed calendar works in a very simple way. Each of the 30 stones in the Sarsen circle represents a day within a month, which in turn is divided into three weeks of 10 days each,” he said.

The prominent stones in the circle mark the beginning of each week and the leap month of five days and one leap day every four years have also been reflected in the design.

“The leap month, which is probably dedicated to the deities of the site, is represented by the five triliths in the center of the site,” said Prof. Darvill.

“The four station stones outside the sarsen circle provide markers that can be indented up to a leap day.”

This means that the winter and summer solstices would be framed by the same pairs of stones each year.

One of the trilithons also frames the winter solstice, indicating it may have been the New Year.

This alignment with the solstice also helps in calibrating the calendar – errors in counting the days would be easily spotted as the sun would be in the wrong place at the solstice.

Such a calendar, with 10-day weeks and additional months, may seem unusual today, but was adopted by many cultures during this period.

“Such a solar calendar was used in the eastern Mediterranean in the centuries after 3000 BC. Developed around 2700 BC as a civil calendar in Egypt. and adopted at the beginning of the Old Kingdom around 2600 B.C. widespread,” Prof. Darvill said.

This raises the possibility that the calendar followed by Stonehenge came from the influence of one of these other cultures.

The treatise Keeping time at Stonehenge is published in Antiquity magazine.

Scholars have debated the purpose for which Stonehenge was built for decades, with theories suggesting it was built for sacrificial ceremonies or possibly as an early calendar.

Researchers analyzed the sarsen of Stonehenge


Researchers analyzed the sarsen of StonehengePhoto credit: University of Bournemouth

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