The ancient tombs from Carregal do Sal, Portugal, may have been used as a space observatories during the passage rituals of early Europeans.
Archaeologists suspect that many of the ancient structures, such as Stonehenge and the Giza pyramids, were used as observatories or star maps.
The passage graves are structures built in the Neolithic age which can be found all over Europe. They are as long as 6,000 years ago. The underground structures have a long corridor that connects them to the surface.
The University of Wales scientists conducted a study concerning the ancient tombs from Portugal. Their hypothesis was based on the fact that many ancient cultures created traditions around the appearances on their sky.
For example, the Aldebaran star showing in the month of April might have signaled pastors the beginning of summer grazing season.
Concerning this particular star, researchers discovered that many of the tombs were placed in such a manner that a person standing inside could see the Aldebaran rising in the night.
The long passageway may have been used to block the light from the rest of the sky and enhancing the portion which displayed the object of interest. The viewer’s eyes would adapt to the dark interior, which would have made them capable to observe even the smaller stars.
However, the presence of a living person inside the tomb remains a riddle. The researchers believe that the buildings were also used as a place for rituals. For instance, the youngsters were left inside the tombs together with their ancestors in order for them to connect with tradition, death, and immortality.
The author of the study explains that after a night spent in the dark with the remains of their distant relatives, the apparition of a bright star on the morning star would have given the young boy a sense of hope and a feeling of illumination.
The scientists are now trying to replicate the structure and the position of the tombs in a laboratory, in order to see if the ancient setting was indeed capable of capturing the Aldebaran star apparition.
It may be that different tombs were connected to different stars, which would have appeared in the sky on different periods of the year.
Even if the tunnels are not linked to a certain star, the discovery of such observation places is a sign that the ancient people of Europe were very interested in stargazing and sky movements.
Researchers have tried for decades to understand the reason behind of these structures. Up until now, there are several theories that associate ancient tombs and other constructions with the sky map, time, and the cycle of life and death.
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