Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, December 26, 2008

Passage Graves Explained

Passage_graveThe following excerpts are from Passage graves from an astronomical perspective, EurekaAlert.com, Dec. 18, 2008:

Passage graves are mysterious barrows from the Stone Age. New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen indicates that the Stone Age graves' orientation in the landscape could have an astronomical explanation. The Danish passage graves are most likely oriented according to the path of the full moon, perhaps even according to the full moon immediately before a lunar eclipse. The results are published in the scientific journal Acta Archaeologica. * * *

There is a significant concentration of orientations towards east/southeast as seen from within the passage grave. It can be interpreted that the passage graves are oriented according to the winter sunrise. But researchers think it more likely that they are positioned according to the rise of the full moon, for example, the first full moon after the spring equinox.

The calculations show, that in the period from 3.300 to 3.100 BC there was an over frequency of 50 percent in the number of lunar eclipses that could be seen in Denmark. And the exciting thing was that the pattern indicated that it could fit with the rise of the full moon immediately before a lunar eclipse.

How the Stone Age people had known that a lunar eclipse would come after a full moon is unknown, but astronomer Per Kjærgaard Rasmussen explains, that if one had observed a lunar eclipse there is a very strong likelihood that another lunar eclipse would come either 12 months or 18.6 years later.

The passage graves had been used for burials and the orientation of the entrance is concentrated towards the full moon points to a ritual practice that involved the moon.

Special thanks to Mary Sue Donsky (NYC College of Technology, Department of Law and Paralegal Studies ) for bringing this article to my attention.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2008/12/passage-graves.html

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