Archaeological Discovery

Volume 3, Issue 1 (January 2015)

ISSN Print: 2331-1959   ISSN Online: 2331-1967

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New Possible Astronomic Alignments at the Megalithic Site of Göbekli Tepe, Turkey

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DOI: 10.4236/ad.2015.31005    8,156 Downloads   11,484 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Gobekli Tepe is the oldest and one of the most important among the megalithic sites in the world. Its archaeoastronomical relevance has been recently evidenced by Collins (2013), according to whom the central pillars in four of the enclosures discovered in the site are oriented toward the setting point of the star Deneb (α Cyg), as this point moves in the course of the time, due to the equinox precession and the proper motion of the star. Taking into account these effects, Collins (2013) obtained an astronomical dating for the various enclosures which agrees rather well with the one obtained by Dietrich (2011) with the technique of carbon-14. In the present paper the careful evaluation of the effects caused by atmospheric extinction has enabled us to verify that the central pillars of the studied enclosures are in fact turned to face the setting point of Deneb, but these alignments occurred in epochs, still in agreement with the ones obtained by Dietrich (2011), but different from those proposed by Collins (2013). We have also individuated, for the first time, the probable astronomic alignments of two other enclosures at Gobekli Tepe, i.e. enclosures F and A. In particular, the first one seems to be oriented towards the rising point of the Sun on the day of the Harvest Festival, a day approximately halfway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox. The second one, instead, shows an orientation towards the rising point of the Moon at its minor standstill. The positions of both celestial bodies have been obtained by extrapolating their declination to the date of the presumed construction reported by Dietrich (2011). A short discussion about the putative cultural motivations of these alignments is also presented.

Cite this paper

De Lorenzis, A. and Orofino, V. (2015) New Possible Astronomic Alignments at the Megalithic Site of Göbekli Tepe, Turkey. Archaeological Discovery, 3, 40-50. doi: 10.4236/ad.2015.31005.

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