The Callanish Stones, Outer Hebrides, Scotland.
The construction of this site is thought to have taken place between 2900 and 2600 B.C.E.
In one of the most remote corners of Britain stands one of the country’s most impressive megalithic monuments.
[…] The site, dating to the third millennium B.C.E., consists of a ring of tall menhirs -the ring is 13 meters across and the stones vary from 3 meters to 4 meters in height- surrounding a small, chambered tomb.
[…] it has been suggested that the standing stones of Callanish and the various smaller megalithic monuments in the surrounding area incorporated numerous alignments upon prominent horizon features and extreme lunar rising and setting positions. The Callanish stones, it was proposed, stood at the heart of a complex that encapsulated a variety of relationships between built monuments, prominent natural features in the landscape, and the motions of the moon.
The general idea is not implausible: indigenous societies commonly organize sacred space to reflect cosmic relationships perceived in the wider visual setting, and the visible environment included the sky. But in the absence of corroborating evidence, it is almost impossible to argue convincingly for any particular scheme. We have no way of knowing which relationships actually were perceived as significant in the past, and any choice that we make is ultimately subjective. Whether the Callanish stones really represent a temple whose significance related to the moon appearing in a special way in every nineteenth year remains an open question.
This segment is from Clive L. N. Ruggles’s Ancient Astronomy: An Encyclopedia of Cosmologies and Myth. Clive Ruggles is Emeritus Professor of Archaeoastronomy in the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Leicester, UK.
Photos courtesy & taken by Grégory Tonon.