I meant to mention this before Christmas but somehow didn’t get around to it. PhysOrg.com has an interesting article on the astronomical orientation of passage graves in Denmark.
From the article:
With the help of GPS, a compass and a surveying instrument Claus Clausen measured the orientation of entrance tunnels of approximately 100 passage graves. It turned out that there was a remarkable concentration of certain orientations. Claus Clausen had a theory that it could be a calendar system, but the theory did not hold up. Astronomer and supervisor of the special project, Per Kjærgaard Rasmussen suggested that he look at the connection between the sun and the moon and especially lunar eclipses, because there were two orientations that occurred frequently and that could suggest something with specific full moons.
The article points out that there is a significant concentration of orientations to the east-southeast and equate this to the position of the rise of the full moon and suggest a ritual connection.
Since the story concerns Denmark, here is the obligatory Shakespeare/Hamlet reference – it seems that Shakespeare knew a little something about astronomy and displayed some of that knowledge in Hamlet.
Filed under: Archaeology