Friday, July 2, 2010

Sophistication of neolithic astronomy finally being recognised

I am heartened to read in the Irish Daily Mail newspaper (July 2nd 2010, p.40) that some recognition of the sophistication of neolithic astronomy in Ireland is finally taking place.

A correspondent asks the paper 'were there any links between the ancient sites of Stonehenge and our own Hill of Tara?'

Charles Legge writes that, 'Little is know of the pre-Celtic neolithic people who occupied Britain and Ireland around 5,000 years ago, except that they shared an incredibly sophisticated astronomy - far more accurate than, for example, the Ptolemaic system used by the Roman empire and, later, the Christian Church.
Both Stonehenge and the various monuments at Tara, Knowth, Dowth and Newgrange are, essentially, astronomical clocks that can be used to predict celestial events such as lunar and solar eclipses with utter precision.'

That is a very important statement, because no indication of astronomical expertise by the mound-builders is found in any of the academic texts. I can only assume that Mr. Legge has read and is familiar with 'Island of the Setting Sun - In Search of Ireland's Ancient Astronomers' and perhaps other work, maybe Martin Brennan's books. Because the truth is, outside of a few books like ours, it's very difficult to find any volume which gives serious credence to the idea that a sophisticated cosmology underlined the design of these ancient structures.

Long may this recognition continue.