neolithic sundial

Gardom-MonolithBW
located at a ridge called gardom’s edge in the peak district national park near manchester, an area that shows evidence of human occupation extending far back though its history. other ancient monuments such as bronze age roundhouses and a late neolithic enclosure have been found nearby.
gardomsstone2
the seemingly astronomical monolith is thought to have been erected by neolithic people around 2000 b.c.
‘the stone would have been an ideal marker for a social arena for seasonal gatherings,’ brown said. ‘it’s not a sundial in the sense that people would have used it to determine an exact time. we think that it was set in position to give a symbolic meaning to its location, a bit like the way that some religious buildings are aligned in a specific direction for symbolic reasons.’
the researchers used a 3d computer model to analyze how the stone would have been illuminated throughout the different seasons four millennia ago, given that the tilt of earth’s axis has changed over time.
their model showed that the slanted side of the stone would remain in permanent shadow during the winter, while it would have been illuminated only in the morning and afternoon during most of the summer. at midsummer, the sun would have lit the stone brightly all day.
‘the use of shadow casting in monuments of this period is quite rare in the british isles,’ brown said. ‘but there are some examples including new grange, ireland, and some clava cairns in the north-east of scotland that have been proposed to include the intentional use of shadows. both are associated to burial sites using the symbolism of a cyclic light and shadow display to represent eternity. given the proximity of the neolithic enclosure and possible ritual importance of this site, the gardom’s edge monolith could be another such example.’
brown will present his findings tuesday (march 27) at the national astronomy meeting in manchester, england.
gardom’s edge standing stone. new evidence that a 4000-year-old monolith, thought to have been erected by neolithic people around 2000BC, was aligned as an astronomical marker. the 2.2 meter high monument, located in the peak district national park, has a striking, right-angled triangular shape that slants up towards geographic south. the orientation and inclination of the slope is aligned to the altitude of the sun at mid-summer. it is thought to be a marker for a social arena for seasonal gatherings, 3d computer analysis have been use to calculate the seasons four millennia ago, given the changes in the earths axis. this showed that the slanted side of the stone would remain in permanent shadow during the winter, while it would have been illuminated only in the morning and afternoon during most of the summer. at midsummer. solar projection in monuments of this period is quite rare in the british isles, new grange, in ireland, and some clava cairns in scotland being notable exceptions. given the proximity of the neolithic enclosure and possible ritual importance of this site, the gardom’s edge monolith could be another such example.