Stonehenge was not a calendar; while it is often depicted this way, the truth is that the exact purpose of the enigmatic structure is largely unknown.
This is a new interpretation of the function of the megalithic circle at Stonehenge, England. It was achieved thanks to archaeoastronomy. It allows to conclude that Stonehenge was not a giant calendar. So?
Its structure shows a symbolic interest of the builders in the solar cycle. Most likely, related to the connections between the afterlife and the winter solstice in Neolithic societies.
So reveal Giulio Magli, professor at the Politecnico di Milano, and Juan Antonio Belmonte, professor at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. They say so in an article they have published in Antiquity.
Archaeoastronomy, uses satellite images to study the orientation of archaeological sites. It plays a key role in this interpretation. Stonehenge exhibits an astronomical alignment with the sun. It refers to both the summer solstice sunrise and the winter solstice sunset.
In the article, Magli and Belmonte explain why Stonehenge was not a calendar. It was not based on 365 days per year divided into 12 months, with the addition of a leap year every four. Politecnico di Milano details this in a statement.
This calendar is identical to the Alexandrian calendar. But this was introduced more than two millennia later, at the end of the first century B.C. It is the combination of the Julian calendar and the Egyptian civil calendar. The authors explain what this theory is based on. They describe a series of forced interpretations of the astronomical connections of the monument.
First, Magli and Belmonte refer to astronomy. They analyze the movement of the sun on the horizon on the days near the solstices. It makes it impossible to control the correct functioning of the supposed calendar. It should be able to distinguish positions with an accuracy of a few minutes of arc. That is, less than 1/10 of a degree.
Second, numerology. Attributing meanings to the “numbers” on a monument is always a risky procedure. The supposed “key number,” 12, is nowhere recognizable.
Finally, cultural parallels. An early elaboration of the 365 plus 1 day calendar is documented in Egypt. But only two millennia after Stonehenge (and it came into use centuries later).