Menhir Construction Used For Astronomical Observations

Discussion in 'Research on Hinduism' started by garry420, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    Indian researcher’s reports for the first time a megalithic construction most probably used for astronomical observations at a site in South India. 26 megalithic constructions at Byse were reported to be found dating prior to 1000BC, and are the first strong evidence of a monument with intentional solar and possible stellar alignments among Indian megaliths. Megaliths in southern India are believed to have been erected during the Iron Age (1200–500 BC), though the practice may have originated in the Neolithic period (3000–1200 BC) and continued into the Early Historic Period (500 BC – AD 500).

    The researchers found that there was striking similarities in their layout and design at menhir of Nilaskal, Byse, Hergal and Mumbaru. The menhirs of Gudde Maradi had disappeared due to quarrying operations and yet another site of this topology was discovered at Aaraga gate. The sites of Byse were studied in detail. Nilaskal Byana which means “field of standing stones” is a small, flat clearing in Byse village near the town of Hosanagara in Karnataka. The megalithic consists of 26 menhir remnants, of which the largest is 3.6m tall 1.6 m wide and 25m thick.

    Though no structure is evident in the ground plan of the layout of the menhirs but when the shadow pattern of the structures were simulated for the extreme point of sunrise for latitude of Byse, an interesting pattern emerged. The researchers also tested the clusters for alignments to the extreme points of moonrise and moonset. The arrangement of these menhirs seems to be such that pairs of these stones frame the rising/setting sun/moon on significant dates. Using computer simulations, the team found that the standing stones are aligned to the north, east, south and west directions and also match the two solstices and equinoxes. While the two solstices mark the longest and shortest days of the year, an equinox occurs when the sun is in the same plane as the earth’s equator. “The study establishes that India had a strong intellectual tradition of precise astronomical observation not copied from any other civilization.

    This is the first instance of a monument with intentional solar and lunar alignments among Indian megaliths. Astronomical purpose has been suggested in the design of alignments at a couple of sites in north Karnataka, but the large number of boulders involved has made inferences inconclusive. Four other menhir sites near Byse, which are currently under investigation, also show similar patterns.
    Source: Menon, S. M., Vahia, M. N. and Rao, K., Stone Alignment with Solar and Other Sightlines in South India, Current Science, Vol. 102, No. 5 (10 March 2012) Pp. 683-684.

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