Archaeoastronomy: The study of stones and stars

Alignments of Carnac

In the village of Carnac in northwestern France there are some 10,000 standing stones called menhirs spread across several major sites. The site was probably started around 4500 B.C.E., but the people of that time kept adding more stones for another 1200 years (to 3300 B.C.E.) Many are aligned in rows that may have ended with circles much like at Stonehenge.

Marek.69 talk, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the early 1970s, archaeoastronomer Alexander Thom spent years creating a detailed survey of the Carnac alignments, and found that the straight lines of the stones hit the circles at either end at angles that line up precisely with the rising and setting of the moon in different phases. This conclusion has been criticized, but not disproved.

Alignment measurements by Alexander Thom via

The site also has many dolmens (stone tombs) and tumuli (burial mounds).

Click here to visit the official Carnac Alignments site.

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