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NABTA - Oldest Astronomical Megalith Alignement Discovered In Egypt

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« on: January 11, 2009, 04:29:48 pm »












                  Oldest Astronomical Megalith Alignment Discovered In Egypt By Science Team







ScienceDaily
(Apr. 3, 1998) —

An assembly of huge stone slabs found in Egypt's Sahara Desert that date from about 6,500 years to 6,000 years ago has been confirmed by scientists to be the oldest known astronomical alignment of megaliths in the world.

Known as Nabta, the site consists of a stone circle, a series of flat, tomb-like stone structures and five lines of standing and toppled megaliths. Located west of the Nile River in southern Egypt, Nabta predates Stonehenge and similar prehistoric sites around the world by about 1,000 years, said University of Colorado at Boulder astronomy Professor J. McKim Malville.

The Nabta site was discovered several years ago by a team led by Southern Methodist University anthropology Professor Fred Wendorf. A 1997 GPS satellite survey by Malville, Wendorf, Ali A Mazar of the Egyptian Geological Survey and Romauld Schild of the Polish Academy of Sciences confirmed one of the megalith lines was oriented in an east-west direction.

A paper on the subject by the four researchers will appear April 2 in the weekly British science journal, Nature.

"This is the oldest documented astronomical alignment of megaliths in the world," said Malville. "A lot of effort went into the construction of a purely symbolic and ceremonial site." The stone slabs, some of which are nine feet high, were dragged to the site from a mile or more distant, he said.

The ruins lie on the shoreline of an ancient lake that began filling with water about 11,000 years ago when the African summer monsoon shifted north. It was used by nomads until about 4,800 years ago, when the monsoon moved southwest and the area again became "hyperarid and uninhabitable."

Five megalithic alignments at Nabta radiate outward from a central collection of megalithic structures. Beneath one structure was a sculptured rock resembling a cow standing upright, Malville said. The team also excavated several cattle burials at Nabta, including an articulated skeleton buried in a roofed, clay-lined chamber.

Neolithic herders that began coming to Nabta about 10,000 years ago -- probably from central Africa -- used cattle in their rituals just as the African Massai do today, he said. No human remains have yet been found at Nabta.

The 12-foot-in-diameter stone circle contains four sets of upright slabs. Two sets were aligned in a north-south direction while the second pair of slabs provides a line of sight toward the summer solstice horizon.

Because of Nabta's proximity to the Tropic of Cancer, the noon sun is at its zenith about three weeks before and three weeks after the summer solstice, preventing upright objects from casting shadows. "These vertical sighting stones in the circle correspond to the zenith sun during the summer solstice," said Malville, an archeoastronomer. "For many cultures in the tropics, the zenith sun has been a major event for millennia."

An east-west alignment also is present between one megalithic structure and two stone megaliths about a mile distant. There also are two other geometric lines involving about a dozen additional stone monuments that lead both northeast and southeast from the same megalith. "We still don't understand the significance of these lines," Malville said.

During summer and fall, the individual stone monoliths would have been partially submerged in the lake and may have been ritual markers for the onset of the rainy season. "The organization of these objects suggest a symbolic geometry that integrated death, water and the sun," Malville said.

Although some believe the "high culture" of subsequent Egyptian dynasties was borrowed from Mesopotamia and Syria, Malville and others believe the complex and symbolic Nabta culture may have stimulated the growth of the society that eventually constructed the first pyramids along the Nile about 4,500 years ago.

"The Nabta culture may have been a trigger for the development of social complexity in Egypt that later led to the Pharaonic dynasty," he said. The Nabta project was funded primarily by the National Science Foundation.

The site also contains a wealth of cultural debris, including small, fire-blackened stones from ancient hearths built along the ancient lakeshore as well as manos, metates and carved and decorated ostrich eggshells.




Images of the project can be downloaded from the World Wide Web at

http://www.colorado.edu/PublicRelations/Egypt.html.



FOR MORE, PLEASE GO HERE:

http://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,14977.msg123291.html#msg123291
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Adapted from materials provided by University Of Colorado At Boulder.
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http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/1998/04/980403081524.htm
« Last Edit: July 09, 2009, 08:20:42 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2009, 08:22:40 pm »

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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2009, 08:23:51 pm »

   










                                                               N A B T A   P L A Y A






 
Nabta Playa was once a large basin in the Nubian Desert, located approximately 500 miles south of modern day Cairo or about 100 kilometers west of Abu Simbel of southern Egypt, 22° 32' north, 30° 42' east.

Today the region is characterized by numerous archaeological sites.

Beginning around the 10th millennium BC, this region of the Nubian Desert began to receive more rainfall, filling a lake.  Early people may have been attracted to the region as a source of water for grazing cattle.

Archaeological findings indicate occupation in the region dating to somewhere between the 10th and 8th millennia BC.  These peoples were herding domesticated cattle and using ceramics[2] adorned by complicated painted patterns created perhaps by using combs.

By the 7th millennium BC, exceedingly large and organized settlements may be found in the region, relying also on deep wells for sources of water.  Huts are found constructed in straight rows.  Sustenance included fruit, legumes, millets, sorghum and tubers.

Also in the 7th millennium BC, but a little later than above, imported goats and sheep, apparently from Southwest Asia, appear. Many large hearths also appear.


Archaeological discoveries reveal that these prehistoric peoples led livelihoods seemingly at a higher level of organization than their contemporaries who lived closer to the Nile Valley:



above-ground & below-ground stone construction,

villages designed in pre-planned arrangements, and

deep wells that held water year-round.



Findings also indicate that the region was occupied only seasonally, likely only in the summer when the local lake filled with water for grazing cattle.

Analysis of human remains suggest migration from sub-Saharan Africa.
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2009, 08:25:42 pm »












Religious ties to ancient Egypt



By the 6th millennium BC, evidence of a prehistoric religion or cult appears, with a number of sacrificed cattle buried in stone-roofed chambers lined with clay.

It has been suggested that the associated cattle cult indicated in Nabta Playa marks an early evolution of Ancient Egypt's Hathor cult. For example, Hathor was worshipped as a nighttime protector in desert regions (see Serabit el-Khadim).

To directly quote professors Wendorf and Schild:


"... there are many aspects of political and ceremonial life in the Predynastic and Old Kingdom that reflects a strong impact from Saharan cattle pastoralists..."

Nevertheless, though the religious practices of the region involving cattle suggest ties to Ancient
Egypt, Egyptologist Mark Lehner cautions:

"It makes sense, but not in a facile, direct way. You can't go straight from these megaliths to the pyramid of Djoser."

 
 
Circular chromlech at NabtaOther subterranean complexes are also found in Nabta Playa, one of which included evidence of perhaps an early Egyptian attempt at sculpture.
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2009, 08:27:08 pm »




             

               Circular chromlech at Nabta

               Other subterranean complexes
               are also found in Nabta Playa,
               one of which included evidence
               of perhaps an early Egyptian
               attempt at sculpture.









One of the world's earliest known examples of archeoastronomy



By the 5th millennium BC these peoples had fashioned one of the world's earliest known archeoastronomical devices (roughly contemporary to the Goseck circle in Germany and the Mnajdra megalithic temple complex in Malta), about 1000 years older than but comparable to Stonehenge (see sketch above). Research suggests that it may have been a prehistoric calendar which accurately marks the summer solstice.

The research done by the astrophysicist Thomas G. Brophy suggests that these monoliths might tell much more. The calendar circle itself is made up of one doorway that runs north-south, a second that runs northeast-southwest marking the summer solstice, and six center stones (see sketch above).





Brophy's hypothesis proposes first that the southerly line of three stones inside the calendar circle represented the three stars of Orion’s Belt and the other three stones inside the calendar circle represented the shoulders and head stars of Orion as they appeared in the sky. These correspondences were for two dates -- circa 4,800 BC and at precessional opposition -- representing how the sky "moves" long term. Brophy proposes that the circle was constructed and used circa the later date, and the dual date representation was a conceptual representation of the motion of the sky over a precession cycle.

Near by the calendar circle, which is made of smaller stones, there are alignments of large megalithic stones. The southerly lines of these megaliths, Brophy shows, aligned to the same stars as represented in the calendar circle, all at the same epoch, circa 6270 BC. The calendar circle correlation with Orion's belt occurred between 6400 BC and 4900 BC, matching the radio-carbon dating of campfires around the circle.

Brophy found that the lines made to these megaliths match the spots in the sky where the various stars rose in vernal equinox heliacal rising. In analyzing the varying distances, mulling through assumptions such as that they represented the brightness of the stars, he inadvertently found that they matched the distance of the stars from Earth on a scale of roughly 1 meter = .8 light years within the margin of error for astronomical distances calculated today.
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« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2009, 08:28:37 pm »




               









References



Scientific American


University of Colorado at Boulder:

1998 article

1999 article

2000 article


Thomas G. Brophy and Paul A. Rosen: "Satellite Imagery Measures of the Astronomically Aligned Megaliths at Nabta Playa", Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 5(1) (2005) 15 - 24






External links



Ancient Astronomy in Africa
 
Megalithic Astronomy at the Ceremonial Center of Nabta Playa

Late Neolithic megalithic structures at Nabta Playa (Sahara), southwestern Egypt.
by Fred Wendorf
Coordinates: 22°32′N 30°42′E / 22.533, 30.7




Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nabta_Playa"



Categories:

African archaeology |

Archaeoastronomy |

Kush



This page was last modified on 30 December 2008, at 18:19. All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. (See Copyrights for details.)

Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a U.S. registered 501(c)(3) tax-deductible nonprofit charity.
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« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2009, 08:30:05 pm »











http://hej3.as.utexas.edu/~www/wheel/africa/nabta.htm
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« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2009, 08:31:06 pm »

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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2009, 08:33:34 pm »



                                       








                                                                 N A B T A






     Articles, Summaries, and Reviews



Summary of some of the issues raised by Nabta

Symbols in the Sand

     -Article on the possible astronomical significance of   Nabta

ANY MORE NABTA ARTICLES? 

Comparison between Nabta and Namoratunga


 



    Photographs, Pictures, and Maps



The principal megalith at Nabta

Close-up of two of the smaller Nabta megaliths

Sketch of the layout of the megaliths at the Nabta site

Wide view of Nabta site

Professor Fred Wendorf of Southern Methodist University at the Nabta site

Professor Ali A. Mazar of the University of Egypt at the Nabta site

Egypt map. Nabta is in the bottom quadrant, West of the Nile river.




http://hej3.as.utexas.edu/~www/wheel/africa/nabta.htm
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2009, 08:35:00 pm »









Nabta



There exists a site in southern Egypt that is the oldest astronomical site in the world. This site, called Nabta, was created some 6500 years ago by a Neolithic people who were concerned with the progress of the year. The circle of standing stones allowed the people to determine when the solstices occurred as well as rainy seasons. This sub-Saharan culture is likely to be the predecessor of the Egyptians. The site was excavated by Fred Wendorf and John (Kim) Malville.

Stones, some more then 9 feet tall, were set in a circle to predict the coming solstices. The people had to drag these monstrous stones for more than a mile, thus showing a great dedication to their task. Scientists have discovered that there is an east-west sighting among the megaliths, as well as a north-south lining.

During the first three weeks before and after a solstice, the standing stones would cast no shadow in the noonday sun, due to their proximity to the equator. Seasons were thus followed, including the rainy season, very important to a cattle-raising, agricultural society. There have been several other alignments found, but their significance is yet to be determined.

It also seems that the Nabtians were worshipers of cattle, much like the Egyptians who come later. Several cattle burial sites are located at Nabta, at least one of which has a clay housing with a roof. This care to the burial site of cattle shows the importance of cattle in the Nabtian society.

There were several pieces of pottery found at Nabta. Most of which comes from the Neolithic people who built the site. The pottery is completely covered with designs, thus making it easily identifiable. The lips of the pottery jars, however, were not decorated.

Human remains were also found at Nabta, but only the jawbone was left available to Wendorf to examine, the rest being confiscated by the Egyptian museum in Cairo. The study of this jawbone led Wendorf to an interesting conclusion: the Nabtians were of sub-Saharan descent, not of middle eastern. He deduced this based on the size and structure of the teeth and jaw compared to different ethnic groups. The conclusion undercuts the mainstream theory that Egyptian society was founded by Mesopotamians and Syrians. The idea that the Egyptian society was truly of African descent is revolutionary indeed. Yet it is backed with good evidence from the Nabta site, such as the jawbone and knowledge of the cycle of aridity in the region.

The Nabta region goes through an aridity cycle. That is to say that the area fluctuates between being fertile and arid due to weather patterns. Currently the area is extremely arid, yet at the time of the Nabtians, the area was fertile indeed. There is much evidence of agriculture in the region, along with evidence of a flourishing culture. There were found numerous deposits of charcoal (which comes from organic sources) and many deposits of floral fossils, including grass roots, palm, wood fragments, fruit, and barley grains. This cycle would cause people to migrate into and out of Nabta, making it feasible that the Nabtians migrated north to found the Egyptian culture after Nabta itself became arid.

The 6500 year old astronomical site at Nabta is evidence of a developed culture. They had knowledge of astronomy, the calendar year, and the science needed to construct the stone circle to keep track of their knowledge. Nabta was once home to a flourishing people, but the change in the weather forced the people to migrate (possibly to Egypt). The Nabtian culture is preserved only in the stones and pottery they left behind. Thus, all we know is from the work of Wendorf and Malville, and what we can extrapolate from that.



(J. Clendenon)
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2009, 08:35:49 pm »










Nabta - Symbols in the Sand



Roughly one hundred kilometers to the west of the Nile River in southern Egypt lies a basin with myriad stones placed in various alignments. Five arrangements seem to be somewhat linear, branching off in several different directions. Another stone formation is circular, with small openings at four opposite sides of the circle. This region is known as Nabta, and has recently been investigated by archaeologists and astronomers exploring its historical function.

Perhaps the most important note to make about Nabta revolves around the radiocarbon dating that was used extensively on the site. The dates determined by carbon samples shows that Nabta could not be younger than 4,800 years old. Some of the alignments, if not all of them, are probably much older than this. This means that the megaliths at Nabta predate most other similar sites, such as Stonehenge. The region of southern Egypt where Nabta is located became inhabitable as early as 11,000 years ago. There is evidence of people living in the vicinity about 10,000 years ago. There seem to be three eras of occupation of the basin, divided by periods of drought. Early in the Neolithic age, the inhabitants constructed villages, one of which had walk-in wells. While it is thought by the excavation crew that the ancient nomads only lived in the region during the rainy summers, these wells may have allowed for year-round occupation.

The megaliths in the alignments are generally about 2 m by 3 m, and are made from sandstone. After they were carried for 0.5 km or more, each stone was partially buried in the ground. The stone circle is believed to be astronomically related. There are two lines of sight: one north-south, the other a seemingly obscure angle at first glance. When researched in greater detail, the second line of sight matches up with what astronomers calculate the azimuth of the summer solstice Sun was 6,000 years ago. The north-south line of sight, as well as the direction of the bases of the megaliths may have been important for the navigation through the Sahara Desert. There is also a possibility that the spatial arrangement of the megaliths suggest a connection between the Sun, water, death, and the fertile Earth.

Such a complex accomplishment thie early on in history has many of Nabta's investigators questioning the importance of this ancient culture. It is possible that after the final exodus of these early inhabitants, the foundation of a stronger cultural base was layed out. This would have lasted until the more advanced Egyptian society we are familiar with today developed.



(J. M. Britt)
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« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2009, 08:38:19 pm »









Nabta and Ng'amoritung'a



Nabta and Namoratunga II are both megalithic sites in Africa, and are thought to be astronomically related. Both could also be ceremonial sites. At both sites the rocks are tilted unlike many megaliths such as Stonehenge, where the rocks are perpendicular to the ground. This information suggests that the people who built Namoratunga II could somehow be connected to the people who built Nabta thousands of years earlier.

Many differences between Nabta and Namoratunga II weaken the suggestion that the two could be connected. Nabta has been excavated and studied thoroughly, and radio carbon dated to have been built around 6000 B.C. Namoratunga II was not excavated. It was assumed to have been built around 300 B.C. because that was the radio carbon date on a related site. Nabta is reasonably well established to be astronomically related, with orientations north/south and with the summer solstice. There has been much discussion about whether Namoratunga II's astronomical alignments are correct or not, although the preponderance of evidence seems to be that it is. Nabta and Namoratunga II are also different because the Nabta calendar deals with alignments with the Sun, and Namoratunga II aligns with the stars. Nabta was a burial site. The bones of cows were found there. Namoratunga I was a burial site, but bones have not been found at Namoratunga II.

Many differences also exist in the way the two megaliths were built. Nabta consists of several sites spread out over approximately one square mile. Namoratunga has three sites spread out over a greater area. Nabta sites are circular, but Namoratunga II is more linear. The rocks themselves are also different. The rocks at Nabta are much bigger than the rocks at Namoratunga II, which are only about one meter high, or less. Nabta's rocks are unshaped, but the rocks at Namoratunga II have been shaped to have four flat sides and a slanted top. The rocks at Namoratunga II also have petroglyphs on them and the rocks at Nabta do not. Many pieces of pottery that had symbols on them were found at Nabta, but no pottery was found at Namoratunga II.

It can be theorized that the same line of people who built Nabta could have migrated south over the thousands of years that passed between the construction of the two megaliths, and built Namoratunga II. Cultural changes over the large time span could account for the diferences between the two megaliths. Not enough evidence exists to come to a conclusion.



(H. Price)
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« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2009, 08:39:54 pm »




                       

                                    SMALLER MEGALITHS
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« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2009, 08:41:24 pm »




             
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« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2009, 08:42:20 pm »




                                         

                        Professor Fred Wendorf of Southern Methodist University at the Nabta site
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