Timothy Darvill, professor of archaeology at Bournemouth University, suggests that Stonehenge is “a simple and elegant perpetual calendar based on the 365.25 solar days in a mean tropical year,” according to a research article published in the journal ANTIQUITY on Tuesday.
This calendar included self-correcting mechanisms to ensure accurate timekeeping over the course of years and was used to mark seasonal celebrations and rituals thousands of years ago—qualities that hint at the sophisticated cosmologies of the people who constructed Stonehenge, and their potential connections to societies hundreds of miles away.
Darvill is far from the first expert to suggest that Stonehenge is a calendar; as he notes in his article, this interpretation has been around for centuries because it is clear that the monument is intentionally oriented to frame the summer and winter solstices within its characteristic arches. However, the new model incorporates recent archaeological breakthroughs from Stonehenge into a comprehensive framework that explains the position of these megalithic puzzle pieces.
“In the past people tried to make a calendar based on lunar months, but they were never able to actually make it work,” Darvill noted. “Here we have a real working model.”
Yes, Archaeology could easily have been the direction my life took me. There isn’t much in the record of humanity that carries as much information as the silence of stones.