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Early Celtic 'Stonehenge' discovered in Germany's Black Forest

Date:
October 11, 2011
Source:
Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum
Summary:
A huge early Celtic calendar construction has been discovered in the royal tomb of Magdalenenberg, nearby Villingen-Schwenningen in Germany's Black Forest. This discovery was made by researchers when they evaluated old excavation plans. The order of the burials around the central royal tomb fits exactly with the sky constellations of the Northern hemisphere.

General plan of the early Celtic burial mound with sky constellations.
Credit: Image courtesy of Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum

A huge early Celtic calendar construction has been discovered in the royal tomb of Magdalenenberg, nearby Villingen-Schwenningen in Germany's Black Forest. This discovery was made by researchers at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum at Mainz in Germany when they evaluated old excavation plans. The order of the burials around the central royal tomb fits exactly with the sky constellations of the Northern hemisphere.

Whereas Stonehenge was oriented towards the sun, the more than 100 meter width burial mound of Magdalenenberg was focused towards the moon. The builders positioned long rows of wooden posts in the burial mound to be able to focus on the Lunar Standstills. These Lunar Standstills happen every 18,6 year and were the 'corner stones' of the Celtic calendar.

The position of the burials at Magdeleneberg represents a constellation pattern which can be seen between Midwinter and Midsummer. With the help of special computer programs, Dr. Allard Mees, researcher at the Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum, could reconstruct the position of the sky constellations in the early Celtic period and following from that those which were visible at Midsummer. This archaeo-astronomic research resulted in a date of Midsummer 618 BC, which makes it the earliest and most complete example of a Celtic calendar focused on the moon.

Julius Caesar reported in his war commentaries about the moon based calendar of the Celtic culture. Following his conquest of Gaul and the destruction of the Gallic culture, these types of calendar were completely forgotten in Europe. With the Romans, a sun based calendar was adopted throughout Europe. The full dimensions of the lost Celtic calendar system have now come to light again in the monumental burial mound of Magdalenenberg.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum. "Early Celtic 'Stonehenge' discovered in Germany's Black Forest." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111011074624.htm>.
Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum. (2011, October 11). Early Celtic 'Stonehenge' discovered in Germany's Black Forest. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111011074624.htm
Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum. "Early Celtic 'Stonehenge' discovered in Germany's Black Forest." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111011074624.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

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