Monday, 13 June 2011

STONE ME: The Druids are looking the wrong way at Stonehenge!

By Robert John Langdon

At 4:52 on June 21st 2011, the sun will creep up over the horizon then the revered Heel Stone of Stonehenge watched in 'ore' by 10,000 common spectators and Druids alike.  Little do they know that they have turned up prematurely at Britain’s most famous ancient monuments most historical event.

For Stonehenge was ORIGINALLY built NOT to observe the midsummer solstice sunrise as commonly believed, but more significantly the midsummer SUNSET and MOONSET occurring some 17 hours later in the opposite direction (to be accurate more of a 90 degree direction towards the North West).


 Stonehenge spectators in 2008

If we look at the common conceptions about the summer solstice at Stonehenge we begin to understand why this ancient monument was NOT constructed to pay homage to the midsummer sunrise. 

The HEEL STONE

The first thing that strikes you about the Heel stone is that it’s not quite straight.   It does make you wonder why if you go to build a massive and complex structure for the summer solstice, why you would get the pivotal stone in this drama wrong.

To make it fit correctly in an upright position like all the other stones you would need bury it a little bit deeper – one would imagine a relatively easy enough job, especially when you have just buried at least 30 other even larger stones to create the stone circle which Stonehenge’s famous stone circle – but they didn’t.  Instead (to make the stone meet the horizon) they pushed it forward giving it the strange angle we see today.

Some would suggest that this strange angle has some ‘mystical’ meaning or an angle for astronomical alignments - that could be true if it was the only problem with the Heel Stone - but it is not, for it’s NOT IN THE MIDDLE of the Sarsen opening.  If you stand in the middle of the Stonehenge monument and look for the Heel Stone you would expect it to be centre of the opening between the two nearest large Sarsen Stone – but it’s not, it’s in fact to the right.


The Heel stone is not centred!

As you see from a photo from the Centre of Stonehenge, the Heel Stone is off centre to the right – when you see pictures from TV and in magazines of the midsummer sunrise they move the camera to adjust the alignment and place the stone in the centre.

So we have a stone that celebrates the Summer solstice sunrise which is off-centre and had to be pushed at an angle to meet the sunrise and horizon.  So is there anything else wrong with the stone?

THE AVENUE



The Avenue is clearly made in two sections: The first Section is straight in a North East Direction and then turns at 90 degrees and wanders off to the river Avon some 1.5km away.  Most archaeologists admit that it was built in two sections and where the second part joined the first archaeologist call this the 'elbow’.
The interesting aspect of the Avenue is it too follows the line of the summer solstice like the Heel Stone and you would imagine that if they both were constructed for the same purpose they would be integral with each other.

Stonehenge diagram showing the Heel stone and Station Stone moats.

Unfortunately, as the above diagram clearly shows the Heel Stone is to the right of the Avenue as you look down towards the solstice sunrise which clearly shows that it was not made for the purpose was currently believe.

So what was the Heel Stone?

If you look again closely at the illustration above you will see that three stones at Stonehenge have moats, The Northern Station Stone, The Southern Station Stone and The Heels Stone – the fact they had moats surrounding them gives a date of their construction – which was in the first Phase when the monument had a watery moat which feed two of the three standing stone moats, about 8000BC.

The reason for the three standing stone markers is simple – they are direction finders.  If you stand in the centre of the stone circle and look past the Northern Standing Stone it points to one of the nearest ‘trading points’ at the time Avebury.  Similarly, if you look from the centre through the Southern Station Stone it will point you to another trading post Old Sarum and lastly the Heel Stone will point you to Woodhenge and Durrington Walls.

At this time in the past the Sarsen Stones had yet to be transported to the site for construction.  What the site had was a Bluestone horseshoe construction facing the North West.   This is the direction of the midsummer sunset and more importantly the midwinter moonset - the reason why this monument was originally constructed - for that is the direction to the land of the dead and the Bluestones of the Preseli Mountains.

Moreover, another clue to its original meaning can be obtained if we examine the Bluestone structure more closely; for we now see that it’s no really a horseshoe but a crescent moon construction.  Built to symbolise the image of the Moon, for it represented the afterlife to our ancestors, as it still does for us today, as films seem to always show moonlit graveyards in horror movies to represent the dead.

So when Did Stonehenge start worshiping the Sun?

At the end of the Mesolithic Period the Water levels at Stonehenge had dropped by about 10m and the shoreline that once lay to the North West of the site in what is now the Visitors Car Park had disappeared and was only to the East of the site.

So they decided to build an entrance that could take the boats and the Avenue was constructed.  Our ancestors could have made the Avenue in almost any direction, but from the alignment it is clear that it was built to match the Mid-summer sunrise.

This alignment gives us the biggest clue on the construction date of the Avenue and associated Sarsen stones that make up the stone circle and trilithons. For the centre of the Avenue as we have already mentioned is not in line with the current sunrise, which is to the right of the Avenue over the Heel stone.

Astronomers understand that the rising and setting of the sun and moon changes in time due to a strange wobble in the earth’s motion around the sun.  It acts like a gyroscope as it slows down as wobbles around its axis or North Pole in relation to Earth.

We can measure this movement and therefore predict were the sun and moon will rise and set with great procession.  This allows us to date the Avenue as we can measure the exact date the sun would have risen over the centre of the Avenue in the past – 4300BC.



The druids took over the monument in the iron age – but this time it had been disused for nearly 1500 years for we have found the antlers picks used to clean out the ditch once the moat had finally dried up after the Neolithic River had dropped by another 10m which left the Stonehenge monument high and dry as we see it today.

Its at this point the ceremonies we see today at Stonehenge started, they changed the alignment of the Heel Stone to meet the new solstice sunrise but the true meaning and original use of this site had faded by 7,000 years of history.


21 comments:

  1. Can't seem to log my comment under my wordpress user name. However, I have similar theories with regard Gors Fawr just up the road here after sitting on the 2 metre high so named "Dreaming" stone Preseli. Me playing 360 at Gors Fawr:
    http://www.concrete2jungle.co.uk/http://concrete2jungle.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/MG_0609Panorama_out.swf

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  2. ‘…..In a new book ‘The Stonehenge Enigma’ launched this month, Archaeologist Robert John Langdon, states in great detail that the true purpose of Stonehenge was…’

    I can’t wait to the reviews of this one, at last we have a book on Stonehenge written by an 'archaeologist', why oh why hasn’t anyone thought of doing that before!

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  3. Dear Anon

    Review of the book at:

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/249439/Secrets-of-the-stones

    RJL

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  4. Hi Gors Fawr fan!

    Fantastic shot of the stone circle - can I borrow your camera for next weeks solstice?

    Looking at my maps of your area - which I have yet to survey in person.

    It looks like its late Neolithic - which would indicate that if you stand in the centre of the Stone circle - the stones will point to other markers such as Standing Stones or Barrows - these would be the trading routes at that time - a little like our milestones.

    Flat edges to the stone circle marker could indication the route (which could be painted or etched)onto the rock - This maybe now eroded beyond recognition - need to look very carefully on you next visit, hopefully we might get lucky - if so let me know and I'll come down to take a look (we will find some evidence eventually, if we turn enough stones).

    Let me know if any alignments are found - they need not be completely straight - these are not ley lines but trade paths through what may have been forest or woodland in the Neolithic - possible early clearance paths?

    RJL

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  5. I have sat on the "Dreaming" stone many a time and sometimes there's a moat of water around it. This is one outlying pillar stones of two at Gors Fawr. This time of year when you sit on it, you have a great view of the sun setting in comfort (considering it is a huge stone) apart from the insects (keeps the tourists away) The shape is just right for sitting on. In fact here's me doing just that http://www.concrete2jungle.co.uk/2011/06/16/summer-solstice/

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  6. Actually, when they took that blue stone from above my sister's small holding and trundled it past my other sister's ... and the local teenagers joined in for a free can of coke I thought: what a load of blinkin tosh, they would have had water and ice to carry that. Oh and my sister walked in and out of the stones one way and then the other in front of tourists and they believed it to be a tradition. I personally loved sitting in the middle on horseback, but the horse had other ideas... History has to be in the making, live the day!

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  7. Concrete2jungle

    Great shot of the Stone which seems to be in a ditch?

    You suggest that there maybe a moat around the site??

    If this is the case and these are bluestone that is REALLY interesting, as it maybe a 'healing place', the stones need water to extract the rock salt from inside - so is possible that that stone you sit on could have been surrounded by water?

    At Stonehenge they chipped bits off the bluestones to place in the water (like bath salts). But at some parts of the moat they have found stone holes at the bottom of the ditch!

    Your 'Dreaming Stone' could be a must see on my summer tour.

    RJL

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  8. I was surprised on your lack of knowledge about the geometry of the Solstices at Stonehenge you obviously have not been there and observed.
    At Summer Solstice sunrise the Sun rises at 49 degrees north east and sets at 313 degrees north west which does not point to Preseli which is at 294 degrees, but to Newgrange in Ireland ( check it out on google earth )
    On Winter Solstice it rises at 129 degrees and sets at 229 degrees which is opposite the direction of Summer Solstice sunrise

    Also on your Book cover you depict a ruined Stonehenge on an island surrounded by water, whatever your theory Stonehenge was NOT surrounded by water at this stage in its history.
    Its earliest stage at 8000BC when the post holes in the car park are dated and the ditch and moat were build it was possibly surrounded with water but it didn't take a super civilisation to dig a ditch with antlers . The difficult bit came with the engineering of the Sarsen circle which was built around 2500BC .
    The TRUTH may still be out there
    Enjoy your search its not over yet.

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  9. Colin

    I'm full versed in Geometry and Astronomy thank you for your concern.

    Its very amusing reading books and blogs which go into depth of degrees and minutes to Astronomical and Geological positions - which has no relevance to prehistoric man or Stonehenge.

    When someone asks you directions in the street do you answer "it's 313 degrees north" no you just point and give a rough indication (well I hope you do ;-)) No difference to the builders of Stonehenge - they just pointed in the general direction of the place in question.

    How on earth would someone find Newgrange in Ireland from Stonehenge is beyond comprehension - these would be an incredibly advance civilisation of surveyors with maps and gps devices.

    And have you taken precession into account with your directions? and if so what date are you talking about 2000AD or 8000BC or even 4000BC when the Sarsens appeared??

    Stonehenge was built 'three quarters of the way' up an incline in a 'dry river valley' which means it was once a river - so the question you should be asking is NOT but WHEN was the last time the river valley contained water?

    As you rightly observed in 8000BC it had a moat of water - this can only happen when the ground water table is high (which it would have been directly after the Ice Age) consequently, this would have swelled the River Avon to a new height, filling the 'dry valley' Stonehenge sits upon, making it a peninsula.

    I have never used the term 'super civilisation' I use the term 'Advanced Civilisation' as they had the ability to construct boats and travel the known world for trade and were able to construct such monuments as Stonehenge working within their fully natural environment and using it to the limits without destroying it like us - a stone tool can be as sharp as a razor and as hard as steel. Which in my eyes make them more advanced than us!

    In a sense a society of 'Ray Mears' who use only stone tools - last week in the Times there was an interesting article by Jonathan Leake that stated 10,000 year old men were taller, stronger and had a larger brain than modern man today - it seems to support my hypothesis.

    RJL

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  10. I am glad you are amused, I thought you were more concerned with Truth. If you were so well versed in astronomy why did you say that Midsummer sunrise and sunset were opposite each other, which you corrected to 90 degrees which is still wrong. It was your own knowledge I was questioning not pre historic mans!
    Actually Robert my note about the positions of Newgrange and Stonehenge being intimately connected reinforces your advanced civilisation theory more than you can imagine.
    Please go to Google Earth and join them up you will find that the Winter Solstice sunrise line from the entrance of Newgrange goes into the centre of Stonehenge exactly 262 miles away . both structures have to be where they are EXACTLY for this to occur. This is too much of a coincidence for this to happen.Perhaps you could explain this to me. These structures do indicate an advanced civilisation but a 10000 year old ditch or boat does not.
    What I was concerned with is that you are still saying that Stonehenge was built rather than just begun 10000 years ago, without any evidence, or do you completely dismiss carbon dating.
    Sarsen and Preseli Dolerte are some of the hardest stones to work, do you really believe that the 40 ton Sarsens stones were carved by antlers?
    If you think that maths had no relevance to prehistoric man check out Gordon Freemans book Canada's Stonehenge
    And again Midsummer Sunset from Stonehenge points to Newgrange NOT Preseli check it out and then tell me I am wrong.
    Newgrange 53deg 41.65' 6deg 28.6' Stonehenge 51deg 10.7' 1deg 49.4' distance between them of 421.4 km,262 miles The initial bearing of Stonehenge from Newgrange is 129deg 42.8' i.e' 39deg 43' S of E and cos Azimuth = sin dec/cos lat = 0.6470 for Stonehenge for 2000 BC (from Sun, Moon and Standing Stones, Edwin Wood, O.U.P.) gives 40.32deg S of E for winter sunrise. A difference of about 2/3 of a degree.
    You are not the only person who has been studying Stonehenge and Newgrange for 30 years
    I also happen to live and work in the Preseli Hills.

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  11. Colin

    Sorry to say that that kind of impossibility of connecting Newgrange and Stonehenge (as a pre-planed design) You need to think in the mindset of a prehistoric person and not of a twentieth century academic.

    Picture yourself at Newgrange wishing to place a monument somewhere in middle England on the line of the Winter Sunrise - do you sail your boat to the place you believed you saw on the horizon on that day - wait a year then do it again - 262 miles - that's at least 10 years work - if its not cloudy!!

    The big question is WHY? what's the point? In what way does it enhance your society?

    The evidence in the book (and there are over 40 proofs) show that Stonehenge's first phase was began in 8500BC - the site came to an end in about 2500BC and that's the carbon dating from the antler picks that were used to clean out the moat which had then dried up as the water table had fallen - which is now incorrectly taken as the construction date.

    Basic mathematics was known (such as Pythagoras) but this mass of bearings and co-ordinates is just an obsessive nonsense.

    This is an advanced civilisation due to there practical skills and engineering including mathematics. These calculations you are suggesting they understood you need maps - they did not use maps and compasses - these people didn't even write.

    The problem with mathematics is that it can play tricks on you if you stare at it too long!!

    Here is an example:

    http://bengoldacre.posterous.com/did-aliens-play-a-role-in-woolworths

    5 January 2010

    Matt Parker, based in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London, has analysed the locations of the 800 Woolworths stores to reveal precise geometric patterns. This was based on the work of Mr Tom Brooks (a retired marketing executive of Honiton, Devon) who found similar patterns in prehistoric monuments across the UK.

    My next book 'Dawn of the Lost Civilisation' - out next year - will help you understand this ancient culture better and how they lived - it is completely different to the life we live today as they had different values and had no need for possessions and material objects like us - If you wish to understand what they built and why, you must change your mindset and understanding of culture and society - then you may have an opportunity to understand the past more more clearly.


    RJL

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  12. So you are saying that the FACT that the Midwinter sunrise at Newgrange lines up with the Midsummer sunset at Stonehenge is a coincidence and impossible for any ancient civilisation to contrive?
    Surely just because we cannot understand why or how it shouldn't stop us wondering about it.
    If you are trying to understand an ancient culture the study of their works is a good way of going about it
    It is not like Tom Brooks or Matt Parker's work,which analysed hundreds of points to find patterns, these are the 2 most important
    pre historic sites lined up to solstice points.
    I too found it difficult to swallow when I first discovered it, but facts speak better than theories.
    I am not saying that they could have understood my " obsessive calculations" I really have no idea how it happened but its too precise to just be a coincidence.
    And you need to understand that your next book won't help me to understand this ancient culture but only your own particular theories about it.

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  13. Colin

    I accept (although I have not checked your calculations to date) that the alignment is quite possibly in a perfect line with these astronomical events. But two major problems spring to mind:

    1) You have not dated this alignment - precession moves the midsummer sunset by 1 whole degree over 4000 years - So what date are we looking at for the EXACT alignment?

    2) What purpose is this alignment, which justifies such a monumental task?

    I could have written my book about the waters around Stonehenge that matched the carbon dating of the posts found in the car park at left it at that - but I would be just as guilty as the other archaeologists that make claims such as 'totem poles' then fail to add any context or substance to their claim apart from Francis Priory's favourite word 'ceremonial' - what ever that means.

    In recent years archaeologist have realised that Stonehenge is a centre for healing and Bluestones are the source to this healing - but never archaeologists or the Time Team supporting programme mentioned the fact that Bluestones need water to work - otherwise they are just stones like any other stones - its incomplete!

    If your right, then you need to fix a date for this alignment, then you need to work out how they calculated and measured this line and finally you need to lets us all know why they did it?

    This is why my book is unique - its not just an hypothesis, it tells you, WHO these people were, WHY they choose this site and WHAT they did with it that made this massive engineering project worthwhile.

    RJL

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  14. Why don't you check my calculations, or do you normally accept what others tell you, or perhaps your grasp of maths won't let you.
    The calculations that I gave you ( above ) were for 2000BC and were 2/3 of a degree out (48 years)and I gave you my source.
    Please tell me your source for precession taking 4000years per degree
    "Precession is the movement of the rotational axis of an astronomical body, whereby the axis slowly traces out a cone. In the case of Earth, this type of precession is also known as the precession of the equinoxes or precession of the equator. Earth goes through one such complete precessional cycle in a period of approximately 26,000 years, during which the positions of stars as measured in the equatorial coordinate system will slowly change; the change is due to the change of the coordinates. Over this cycle, Earth's north axial pole moves from where it is now, within 1° of Polaris, in a circle around the ecliptic pole, with an angular radius of about 23.5 degrees (or approximately 23 degrees 27 arcminutes.
    The shift is 1 DEGREE EVERY 72 YEARS, where the angle is taken from the observer, not from the center of the circle."( Wikipedia)
    You being so well versed in Astronomy should know that shouldn't you!!
    As to what purpose this had ?
    So far no one ( except you of course)has any idea why Newgrange or Stonehenge were aligned to the Solstices or even what the true purpose of the "monumental task" of building them. I am content to just be in Awe of such an achievement
    You seem unhappy about "other Archaeologists " claims about "totem poles" but are quite willing to accept unsubstantiated claims about the healing power of the Bluestones. So I can only presume that you have put this claim to a double bind clinical test and that you yourself are a picture of health from imbibing the Preseli Bluestone Waters.
    Only one archaeologist (Prof Tim Darvill) wrote about his "Stonehenge as Lourdes" theory and he had no proof, not even anecdotal from the people who live around Preseli. I would personally love this to be true as I sell Preseli Bluestones all over the World and have done for 10 years. In fact I am the only person licensed by Pembrokeshire Council to do this!!
    And I have had a full chemical analysis carried out.
    Your book may be unique but so far you seem a bit wonky on facts
    I look forward to our next exchange

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  15. Colin

    Your confusing Axial Precession with Equinox Precession. A simple mental math calculation will show if your calculation is sound as about half Precession 12,000 years divided by 72 years will give you about 160 degrees of change which means at some stage the sun will rise in the west and set in the east - news to me!

    The calculations are not simple so I will look at it at some point and write a blog so you can check your calculations against mine. But this site gives you a excel spreadsheet which should help you.

    http://www.jqjacobs.net/astro/epoch_2000.html#download

    In his table 1 is this example:

    Stonehenge Solstice at:

    Date: -2758 BCE 500 CE 2000 CE
    Sunrise: 49.5478° 50.251° 50.617°

    As you see about 1 degree per 4000 years.

    As for Bluestone salts - my daughter teaches at Cambridge (she has a PhD unlike me ;-))and we have found some really interesting results which will be published at the same time as my next book launch next year - stay tuned!

    RJL

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  16. Colin

    Finally sat down for 10 mins to look at your hypothesis - the first reference I read showed me that the theory is flawed as you state that angle 129 degrees 42.8 minutes was the Stonehenge/Midwinter sunrise from Newgrange - the problem is that for the sun to travel down the famous corridor, it would need to rise between 133 degrees 49 minutes to 137 degrees 29 minutes.

    http://www.newgrange.eu/stonelight20.htm

    So at best the alignment line would miss Stonehenge by between 15 - 45 miles!

    Sorry!

    RJL

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  17. Yes I do understand what you are saying about these differences, but I gave you my sources.
    Nevertheless if you join up the entrance of Newgrange to Stonehenge using Google Earth Ruler the bearing is 129deg 42.8' or 39deg 43' S of E " Sun, Moon and Standing Stones",by Edwin Wood, gives 40.32deg S of E for winter solstice sunrise at Stonehenge in 2000BC.
    However I have read your newgrange.eu source which does show that the light box there is of a different alignment, so winter solstice sunrise must be different at Newgrange and Stonehenge of one of these sources is wrong.
    However notwithstanding sources, do try to join them up on Google Earth it's not really a hypothesis of mine but I thought you would be interested instead we got into an argument over numbers.
    I do agree that Stonehenge phase 1 was 8000BC, but the difficult bit was much later.
    AS for rock salt being in Bluestone, the petrochemical analysis already done says that Preseli Bluestone is a Metamorphic Igneous rock made up of Plagioclase Feldspar and Augite and is a Pyroxene mineral, CaMgFeAl.
    whereas Rock Crystal is NaCl ie sodium chloride
    and not present in Dolerite.
    So yes I am very interested in your findings as would be any University department of Earth Sciences
    The only historical reference to this healing power is from Geofrey of Monmouth 1136.Speaking of Stonehenge:
    "Whenever they felt ill, baths should be prepared at the foot of the stones; for they used to pour water over them and to run this water into baths in which their sick were cured. What is more, they mixed the water with herbal concoctions and so healed their wounds. There is not a single stone among them which hasn't some medicinal virtue."
    But I am sure you are familiar with this.
    This may also interest you
    http://www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/stonehenge.htm
    And this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFYfgIrRdl0
    Have you looked at my website yet?

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  18. Colin

    Thank you for the reference - I will in time get around to look at these sources in greater length.

    My 'instinct' is that you should look less at the sun and more at the moon as both monuments are for the dead and the moon is synonymous with both the Stonehenge and Newgrange site at the time of 8000BC.

    Although the setting sun is also clearly associated with the same mythology - as I will be telling the BBC tomorrow at Stonehenge - weather permitting.

    RJL

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  19. Bob,only a Scorpio would be obsessed with monuments for the dead and the moon. I am of the bloody minded school of thought that neither Stonehenge nor Newgrange nor the Pyramids at Giza were designed for the dead, but for a purpose entirely beyond the understanding of our primitive minds.
    Enjoy your Solstice and don't get too "stoned"!

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  20. I am neither archaeologist nor geologist, so I simply ask you two distinguished gentlemen whether
    the obviously intelligent persons who built this might have been able to build it such that it references both sun and moon?
    That it was likely, over the course of 10000 years to have been utilized as a centre for various purposes over this vast timescale? (I include here, in the 10000 yrs, the very recent past, as it is still used to this day)
    That it may indeed have been, and probably was at one time or another, a place of the dead and the moon, a place of worship, a place of healing, a place to contemplate and study the heavens and all that this entails, a place of the sun, a place for celebration, a place to defend, a place to avoid, a place of war, a place of peace, a place of goddess worship, a place of god worship, a center of learning and/or instruction, a tourist attraction, a museum of sorts, a mausoleum of sorts, a place considered sacred, a place considered profane,and so on?
    And, most important to your debates, it might have been quite a few of these things at the same time from it's very beginning, depending upon the POV of the people in their times?
    Either/or? Most probably it has long been and/and.

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  21. Anon

    I believe that the 'temple' started as a 'Moon' temple and some 45000 years later become a sun temple with a change of civilisation and therefore beliefs. What is of debate and interest is the date of construction and use, so leaving an idea on who built these monuments and what legacy they left mankind.

    RJL

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