06/30/19

Sunshine Supermen – Megaliths and Mounds

Adams Calendar, South Africa Realhistoryww
Adams Calendar, South Africa

Chapter II – Megaliths and Mounds

Megaliths are structures made of large stones by ancient cultures, without the use of any mortar or cement. As to not knowing what exactly their roles were, we can only surmise that they fulfilled both astronomical and religious functions, due to the astronomical significance of their alignments. In general, megaliths do not include structures built by developed and well expressed cultures like the Romans or Maya, and their pyramids, but rather the more ancient cultures.

Pyramids themselves were first used in ancient Mesopotamia as mud-brick structures known as ziggurats. Egypt would go on and build over 70 pyramids, with recent archaeological finds there and elsewhere, supporting the theory that most pyramid’s were centers of stargazing, worship, work, commerce, and social life rather than lone tombs erected on empty plains.

Pyramids continued to be used by the Greeks and Romans, and are found throughout the world, most notably in Central and South America, India and China.

Megaliths and mounds meanwhile are also found around the world. Especially in large areas of the Middle East, from the Turkish border, through Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Undoubtedly because of its large population at the time with agriculture blooming, the largest concentration of megaliths can be found in southern Syria and along the Jordan Rift Valley. Many of them are found to align with the summer solstice sunrise, and may have been used as a place to gaze at and track the stars, with their rock formations working like a kind of ancient calendar.

The oldest megalithic structure in the world, which we know of, is Adam’s Calendar, South Africa, (shown above) with some studies suggesting it could have been made around 75,000 years ago. It’s one of an estimated 100,000 such structures in the hills around Mpumalanga (Zulu name for “the place where the sun rises”) a province in eastern South Africa, bordering the nations of Swaziland and Mozambique.

But the majority of megaliths seem to have been erected during the Neolithic period, the final stage of cultural evolution and technological development among prehistoric humans, and the final division of the Stone Age. The Neolithic began about 12,000 years ago (10,000 BC) with the development of farming, and ended around 3000 BC. Overtaken then by the Bronze Age, which denoted the first period in which metal was used.

One of the oldest megalithic places of worship in the world, erected around 11,000 years ago, is Gobekli Tepe, in Turkey. Four stone circles have been excavated from an estimated 20, with some 3 meters high and up to 30 m across. The stones have a variety of carved reliefs and pictograms depicting boars, foxes, lions, birds, snakes and scorpions. Predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years, the people of the time hadn’t yet developed pottery or metal tools but managed to build this place with massive carved stones.

Gobekli Tepe, Turkey / Anadolu Agency

While at Nabta Playa, in Egypt, which will be discussed later on, stone circles, groups of megalithic structures, and alignments of upright stones, dating from about 4,500 BC, was a vast star chart.

Other notable Middle Eastern megaliths, include, Rujm-el-Hiri (3000 BC) at Quneitra in Syria, which is currently in the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights. An enormous megalithic monument consisting of several concentric stone rings made up of more than 42,000 basalt rocks, it resembles a giant target from above and boasts intricate stone arrangements within its circle. The stones range from 2.5 m in height to 4.5 m tall in the center.

Foundation Stones of Baalbek, Lebanon/ Hidden Inca Tours April/2019

The Trilithon of Baalbek, Lebanon, in the ruins of the former city of Heliopolis has some of the largest cut stones ever known to have been created by human civilization. At the base of the ruins of the Jupiter Baal temple are three stones, called the Trilithon, and each weighs more than seven hundred and fifty tons. Researchers remain divided as to who created these monsters.

Foundation stone – Temple of Jupiter

Many European stone sentinels, megaliths and stone groupings, also conformed to celestial alignments, which required skilled observation, measurement, and prediction. In some locations, such as Stonehenge, on the Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire England, the massive standing stones, around 4m high and 2m wide, and weighing around 25 tons, had some astronomical purpose, and of course, used for ceremonies and rituals. As in most all other cases, these observatories were employed to determine the seasons, an important factor in knowing when to plant crops, as well as in understanding the length of the year. Stonehenge was built around 3000 BC and constructed to calculate the moment of sunrise and moonrise, over an 18.6 year cycle. By standing at the centre of the circle, one can face either the sunrise or the moonrise, and foretell the season according to its position behind the “markers”.

In the English Midlands, limestone monuments called The Rollright Stones; date back to as early as 4000 BC. The Stones consist of three major formations, constructed at different times throughout the Neolithic and Bronze Age: the Whispering Nights dolmen, the King’s Men stone circle, and the King Stone.

The Standing Stones of Callanish on the isle of Lewis, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides, form a megalithic complex also based on astronomy. Built in about 3000 BC, lines can be identified to the moon, Sun, and stars, and seems to have been a huge lunar calendar.

Newgrange, in the County of Meath, Ireland, is a tomb hill, 76 m wide and 12 m high. It was built between 5500 and 3200 BC. Renowned due to its astronomic positioning: at the dawn of winter solstice day the Sun shines through its 18 m long main passage. Also in Ireland sits the Drombeg megaliths, formed into a circle that aligns with the sunset on the winter solstice. Human remains suggest the monument was used from as early as 1100 BC.

In Brittany, France, at Carnac, more than 3,000 stones have stood in careful rows since as early as 4500 BC. It is the largest collection of prehistoric hand cut stones in the world. Carnac’s megaliths cover the countryside, along with dolmens (tombs), burial mounds, and individual memorials. Some arrangements align with the stars, while local legend says the stones were once soldiers, frozen in place for all eternity. Other theories point to the sky. Also in France, The Grand Menhir of Locmariaquer, is one of the largest freestanding stones to have been erected anywhere in Europe and is a part of a wider site of significance in the area. It is estimated to have been erected over six thousand five hundred years ago. Though having fallen over perhaps a thousand years ago and now lying in four pieces, it is estimated to have weighed as much as three hundred and fifty tons and stood nearly twenty meters tall.

On the island of Menorca in the Mediterranean Sea, off of Spain, are the Talati de Dalt megalithic monuments, called taulas (Catalan for “tables”), and dated between 1000 and 3000 BC. They are visually very similar to Stonehenge, but are a mystery to what religious or astronomical significance they had. Another theory suggested they were centers of healing for the Talaiotic people who built them. Also in the Mediterranean, and submerged by around 7200 BC, a 12 m long monolith, probably weighing around 15,000 kg was found 40 m under water in the Strait of Sicily, south-west of Sicily, but whose function is unknown. Nearby, the megalithic structures on the nearby island of Malta are believed to be one the oldest in Europe, in particular the Skorba Temples, which were built around 4850 BC, while the Ggantija (giant), is a temple on the island of Gozo, a part of Malta, and dates back to 3600 BC. It is made up of huge limestone blocks with an innermost section, passageways, altars, carvings and libation holes.

Elsewhere, the eastern North American Native peoples, the Hopewell (200 BC-500 AD), and the Adena (1000 BC-200 BC), built huge earth mounds, many in the shape of an octagon as well as pyramid mounds which were square, rectangular and circular.

The pre-Columbian city Cahokia, beside the Mississippi river, near St. Louis, built earthen pyramids that still stand today. The largest one covers sixteen acres at its base and rises 30 metres, making it one of the biggest buildings of any period, and the largest in the United States before the 20th century. Many are burial tombs, though just as many are also thought to encode various sunrise and moon-rise patterns, including the winter and summer solstices, equinoxes, and minimum and maximum lunar risings and settings on the local horizon.

The “Big Horn Medicine Wheel” in Wyoming, USA, is a stone setting resembling an enormous spiked wheel. Historically on native Crow land, oral history from several indigenous nations sets the Big Horn Medicine Wheel as already existing before them, having been built by “people without iron”. It has been dated archaeologically to 3200 BC.

Big Horn Medicine Wheel, Wyoming/ by Airphoto NA

The Wheel is one of four or five astronomically complex wheels that are publicly known to exist in the Rocky Mountain region. It is of a type termed “Subgroup 6”, for its prominent central stone cairn surrounded by a stone ring, while two or more interior stone lines connect the stone ring to the cairn in the center. Smaller, less complex wheels may also have astronomical significance, such as solstice alignments and east-west orientations. The larger complex wheels are capable of tracking several different cosmic cycles, including the precession of the equinoxes, the Moon’s phases, lunar and solar eclipse cycles, and planets’ orbital cycles. These astronomical wheels mirror the north ecliptic polar region of the sky, and are useful as celestial grids to track changes over the millennia.

While in central and South America, megaliths run into the hundreds. The Calçoene megalithic observatory (the Amazon Stonehenge), erected sometime in the 1st to 10th centuries AD, in Amapá, Brazil, is a circle marked with 127 blocks of granite, and stones up to 3 m high. Other South American megaliths include The Chilla Pyramids, and the Banos Del Inca, in Ecuador, and the Huaca del Sol, in Peru.

While, 3,512 kilometers east off the coast of Chile lays the island of Rapa Nui, a remote volcanic island in Polynesia. The nearest inhabited land to it is Pitcairn Island, 2,075 km away. Rapa Nui has nearly 1,000 massive upright stone statues called moai. Created during the 13th and 16th centuries, the moai are carved human figures with oversize heads, often resting on massive stone pedestals called ahus. The largest standing moai was estimated to weigh at least 86 tons.

Other notable megaliths include Padang Hill in West Jawa, Indonesia. It is the largest concentration of megalithic stones in Southeast Asia, consisting of thousands of stone blocks. And the Diquis Spheres in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, a very unusual megalith in that it is made up of perfectly round stone spheres, some up to 16 tons in weight. While ancient, the exact timing of its building and culture, are unknown.

And finally Inuksuk Point, on Baffin Island, in Nunavut, Canada. Inuksuk Point is a group of over 100 vertical stone settings, which serve as navigation and reference points. The word inuksuk (also called inukshuk), could be translated as “somebody/something who acts on behalf of a human”. An Inuksuk in the shape of a person signifies safety, hope and friendship, which today has been transformed into a symbol of hope and friendship that transcends borders to reach people all over the world.

Inunnguaq at Rankin Inlet, Nunavit, Canada / photo by Ansgar Walk


Chapter One – Sunshine Supermen

05/25/19

Sunshine Supermen

By Joseph Peters

Started in 2010 ended in 2019

Contents

  1. Prologue
  2. Megaliths & Mounds
  3. Mesopotamia
  4. Egyptians
  5. Chinese
  6. India
  7. Greeks
  8. Maya
  9. Inca
  10. Aztec
  11. Nicolaus Copernicus
  12. Johnnes Kepler
  13. Galileo Galilei
  14. Isaac Newton
  15. Albert Einstein
  16. Astrology
  17. Modern Astronomy
  18. Spacemen
  19. Sun / Summary

Chapter I – Prologue

Today, astronomy is known as the study of objects and matter outside the Earth’s atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties. It is one of the oldest sciences, if not the first. From the beginning of time, all living things have been affected by what goes on in the sky, and since humans have been on the planet, the sky, especially the night sky, has been the most awesome and most mysterious aspect of our lives, as well as the most overwhelming. The earliest human, would perhaps stand up on a rock, in the quiet of a clear night and stare up at the panorama of the sky and probably feel so very small, swimming amongst the stars. Dwarfed by the seemingly, endless and uncountable twinkles of light, whilst standing agape with eyes open wide and bottom lip hanging open, drooling upon oneself. Or we’d sit around our campfire and tell stories about the night skies and attempt to decipher them. Shooting stars would be talked about for days, while we may have danced with the Aureole-Aurora Borealis.

Besides the vastness of the sky, there were always the Sun and the Moon as well. With both, so much larger and brighter than anything else that dwelled up in space. The Moon could be stared at for hours, while the Sun could not, though it was able to touch all living things with its heat. The Sun represented life, the Moon, no doubt reflection. It never gets boring for some reason when we stare up into the sky. We sense there is much going on, but to us it seems ever so slowly, while in reality it’s all happening very quickly.

From very early on, humans have sensed, felt, and seen the effects that the Sun and Moon seem to have on all aspects of life and nature, from the oceans to flora and fauna. We’ve probably always been extremely dedicated observers of the sky. But the majority of humankind’s concerns are what is going on in their individual life here on the Earth, and not so much what was happening on a daily basis in the heavens. Indeed the enormity of the sky, to most, had to have been very scary on some levels. The eclipses of the Sun and Moon themselves must have been both awe-inspiring to an early human’s spirit, and yet at the same time very traumatic. A lunar eclipse turns the Moon red as it passes in the Earth’s shadow, a partial lunar eclipse creates the image that part of the Moon is covered by the Sun, and the most fearful to humans was no doubt during a total solar eclipse, when the Moon completely blocks out the Sun.

There would come to be individuals who spent enough time staring up at the stars, watching the Sun and Moon on a regular basis, to notice that there was a lot of movement going on up there, with much of the movements happening regularly, like the time between full moons and the day and night. From very early on, watching the sky would become the responsibility of certain dedicated and patient individuals, sunshine supermen, if you will, with their observations becoming our measurement and concept, of time, and continuing wonder.

Time is forever moving forward, but we can only measure it in relation to other things that have a regular pattern, like the rising sun or swing of a pendulum. The earliest measurement of time would be the day. Which was easily calculated by everyone, the Sun rose and moved across the sky then disappeared, to be replaced by the Moon which would also move across the sky and eventually disappear. The earliest astronomers had no idea that, in reality the Earth was moving and not the Sun. Our next measurement of time was the month. The time it takes for one full Moon to become another full Moon, about 29 days.

The Babylonians would be the first to break up a day into twenty-four hours, with sixty minutes per hour. All numbers which are easily divisible by two, three, and four. The first clocks were simple sundials, using shadow, then came hourglasses of sand, with the first pendulum clock not appearing until the 17th century.

Besides measuring time, humans would eventually relate the sky’s actions into the need to understand their place and purpose in the universe as well. This need for a universal meaning to our lives does not need to be religious, for anyone should be able to sense and see that a cosmic perspective does give meaning to our lives. That somehow we are connected, and not separated like many would come to believe.

To study the sky, is to seek knowledge, for astronomy is not just a science about the physicality of the planet Earths place in the universe. It is also to seek an understanding of its beginnings, it’s future, and it’s time. It also has a human perspective, the study for truth, and from very early on astronomy would become intertwined with religion, from which would evolve cosmology, which can be considered as the study of the universe as a whole.

Historically, optical astronomy, also called visible light astronomy, is the oldest form of astronomy. What was observed in the sky was at first memorized and then eventually drawn by hand, by the individuals who patiently and diligently each night stood atop a monument and stared up into the night sky, recording in pictures or script of their methodical observations, for generation after generation. Astronomical artefacts have been found from much earlier periods than even our first civilizations. Early cultures, as far back as the Ethiopians, 17,000 years ago, identified celestial objects with gods and spirits. They related these objects, and their movements, to phenomena such as rain, drought, seasons, and tides. It is generally believed that the first astronomers were priests and shamans, and that their understanding of the heavens was seen as divine, hence astronomy’s ancient connection to what is now called astrology. At first these early astronomer-priests were involved with not only a primitive form of speculative meteorology, but also the attempt to read divine will. This was expressed everywhere and from all things, such as how the smoke rises from a fire, cloud-formations, the entrails of an animal, or the flight patterns of birds. These priests were also the first to develop the process by which this divine will, could be appeased, and that was through sacrifice. These early astronomer-priests were fed and sustained by the people, so that they could study the sky continuously, and would become the privileged few in the earliest civilizations. Besides creating ceremonies, feasts, timekeeping and rituals, they also were in charge of expulsion of all demons, diseases, and sins and thus, they took care of their community’s spiritual well being.

Before tools such as telescopes were invented in the 17th century, early study of the stars had to be conducted from the only vantage points available, namely tall buildings and high ground using the bare eye and then later, the armillary sphere, would become the prime instrument of all astronomers in determining celestial positions. Several of the planets have been known since prehistoric times, with the ancients aware of seven of them, the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, mostly because these bodies are very bright, and they wander among the fixed stars, through the constellations. These were known to the Greeks as plane‑te‑s or “wanderers.”

In ancient times the sky was probably more respected than it is today, being so all consuming. Today many people go days without ever looking up. But long ago, the sky would have been the mother of all distractions. The Supreme Being would have been the Sun, for it represented the cycles of life, the staples of resurrection: life during the day, death when it disappeared and a rebirth the next morning.

The constellation Orion would have been next in importance. There were many names and interpretations of the stars of this constellation, including the Hunter, named by the Greeks. Though Orion was also known as “thief thrown to the buzzards,” in South America. The Pawnee of North America called the constellation, “the Deer,” and the Egyptians named it Osiris. Orion is found on the celestial equator and is the largest, most conspicuous and recognizable constellation worldwide.

The sky is overpoweringly magnificent, but as mentioned earlier, it brought out fear as well, and still does. This fear would be used by the early astronomer priests to their advantage, for only they were believed to be able to know what the gods expected from the people. Night after night they’d watch the night sky, trying to interpret what the gods were saying by their movements in the stars and planets, and at the same time allowing what they would find, to control nearly every aspect of the people’s lives, and to keep themselves fed, by sowing and harvesting at the right times. Unfortunately, their work, and themselves, were also often easily influenced by whoever was in power.

Old or even ancient astronomy is not to be confused with astrology, the belief system which claims that human affairs are correlated with the positions of celestial objects. Although the two fields share a common origin and a part of their methods, by using tables showing positions of the heavens, they are distinct. In early times, astronomy only comprised the observation and predictions of the motions of objects visible to the naked eye.

As civilizations developed, most notably in Mesopotamia, Greece, Egypt, Persia, Central America, India, China, and the Islamic world, astronomical observatories were assembled, and ideas on the nature of the universe began to be explored. Most of early astronomy actually consisted of mapping the positions of the stars and planets, a science now referred to as, astrometry. From these observations, early ideas about the motions of the planets were formed, and the nature of the Sun, Moon, and the Earth in the universe were explored philosophically. The Earth was believed to be the center of the universe with the Sun, the Moon and the stars rotating around it. This is known as the geocentric model of the universe. In contrast to ancient Greek philosophers who believed that the universe had an infinite past with no beginning, while medieval philosophers and theologians developed the concept of the universe having a finite past with a beginning. This view was inspired by the creation myth shared by the three Abraham based religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

While Islam produced some incredible astronomers, the bibles of Judaism and Christianity, contain only a few statements as to the position of the Earth, the universe and the nature of planets and stars. With Venus and Saturn being the only planets expressly mentioned in the Old Testament. The closest interpretations of biblical “stars” are, Kimah, related to the Pleiades; the Kesil, related to Orion; Ayish, to Hyades; Mezarim – the Bears (Great and Little); MazzarothVens (Lucifer and Hesperus); Hadre, the “Chamber of the South”, and Canopus, the Southern Cross and Centauri.

Over five thousand years ago, many individuals, in many different parts of the world, had gained much firsthand experience and knowledge about Mother Nature, and the duality she provided of destruction and growth. They were achieving a better understanding of the natural world by studying the stars and sky. Cultures around the globe, nearly all at the same time, became fixated on being able to forecast and keep time, to mark seasonal changes for the growing and harvesting of crops. And the desire grew to foretell, and to forestall, if possible, future events by sacrifice and ritual.

Much of ancient astronomy was all about timekeeping, and soon most all of the early sky watchers would develop calendars, with the first ones marking the seasons and rituals. All calendars of the world have usually been set by the Sun and Moon – measuring the day, month and year – and were very important to agriculture in which the harvest depended on planting at the correct time of year. The most common modern calendar is based on the Roman calendar, which divided the year into twelve months of alternating thirty and thirty‑one days apiece. In 46 BC the Roman emperor Julius Caesar instigated calendar reform and adopted a calendar based upon the 365 1/4 day year length, originally proposed by the 4th century BC, Greek astronomer Callippus. But as you shall see, there have been many calendars and much pondering about the celestial realm.

This essay hopes to record and share with you the incredible achievements attained by the amazingly disciplined sunshine supermen and gazers of the stars, up to the 17th century and the invention of the telescope, while before that time so much had already been achieved by simply using the human eyeball and mathematics. And afterwards, right up to the present day when the technologies of optics and photography would begin to share the stargazing.

I hope I am not diminishing the explorations of space that have been reached, or the nearly divine work that modern astronomers have achieved, and so have also included chapters on Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein, because, though they were not all astronomers, through their combined genius, they would develop and put forth definitions and theories, to exactly what the sunshine supermen of past and present were and are, looking at. And to what they were looking for. So lie back upon a cool patch of grass and stare up at the night sky, or simply strap in and enjoy the ride.

Will be releasing chapters weekly. Peace Out for now.