The megalithic complex of Stonehenge was built in the plain of Salisbury, Great Britain, around 3200 BC, about the same time as the Pyramids in Ejypt were being built.
The construction has a circular shape, the diameter of a few tens of meters; is composed of several rings of stones high and narrow, some of which are surmounted by other slabs of stone. In addition, there can be observed several series of holes in the ground, arranged in circular form.
It is believed that this complex has been designed by the ancient inhabitants of the region not only as a place of worship but also as a huge calendar, after a patient observation of the heavens to keep track of the passing months, seasons and years.
Stonehenge certainly contains many references to the motion of the Sun and the Moon, the number of stones and holes in different rings appear to be related to some astronomical cycle, such as the lunar phases. Moreover, the directions of alignments between the various stones coincide roughly with some points of the sky, corresponding to periodic events such as the rising and setting of the sun at the solstices.
For example, the day of the summer solstice, the Sun rises at a point further north than any other day of the year. That day, being in the center of the circle of stones, one can see the sun rise above about a particular stone called “Heel Stone”, which is located along the axis of the construction.
The Stonehenge complex that seems to be aligned not random.
However, although Stonehenge holds great symbolism of astronomical character, is not yet clear if it was really a place for the study of celestial phenomena, as many scholars, or acted only as a calendar for seasonal occasions, such as sowing and harvesting of wheat.
The alignments between the rocks are not very precise, and often scholars have developed theories of “post” to explain the position of the stones.
Some would even argue that this complex would serve to predict the occurrence of eclipses. Once known the length of the year and month, easily determined, would be necessarperò know the frequency of motion of the nodes of the orbit lunar eclipse occurs only when the Sun and Moon are in the vicinity of a node. It is unlikely that the ancient inhabitants of the place had such advanced knowledge.
In any case, the eclipses were for the ancient people of the place a very important event, perhaps a harbinger of doom as in many other nations of the past.