The oldest solar observatory in the Americas has been found, suggesting the existence of early, sophisticated Sun cults, scientists report.
It comprises of a group of 2,300-year-old structures, known as the Thirteen Towers, which are found in the Chankillo archaeological site, Peru.The towers span the annual rising and setting arcs of the Sun, providing a solar calendar to mark special dates.
The study is published in the journal Science. Clive Ruggles, professor of archaeoastronomy at Leicester University, UK, said: “These towers have been known to exist for a century or so. It seems extraordinary that nobody really recognised them for what they were for so long.
The towers have inset staircases
“I was gobsmacked when I saw them for the first time – the array of towers covers the entire solar arc.”
The Thirteen Towers of Chankillo run from north to south along the ridge of a low hill within the site; they are relatively well-preserved and each has a pair of inset staircases leading to the summit.
The rectangular structures, between 75 and 125 square metres (807-1,345 sq ft) in size, are regularly spaced – forming a “toothed” horizon with narrow gaps at regular intervals.
About 230m (750ft) to the east and west are what scientists believe to be two observation points. From these vantages, the 300m- (1,000ft-) long spread of the towers along the horizon corresponds very closely to the rising and setting positions of the Sun over the year.
When viewed from the western observation point, the Sun appears to the left of the left-most tower
“For example,” said Professor Ruggles, “if you were stood at the western observing point, you would see the Sun coming up in the morning, but where it would appear along the span of towers would depend on the time of the year.”
“So, on the summer solstice, which is in December in Peru, you would see the Sun just to the right of the right-most tower; for the winter solstice, in June, you would see the Sun rise to the left of the left-most tower; and in-between, the Sun would move up and down the horizon.”
This means the ancient civilisation could have regulated a calendar, he said, by keeping track of the number of days it took for the Sun to move from tower to tower.
The site where the towers are based is about four square kilometres (1.5 square miles) in size, and is believed to be a ceremonial centre that was occupied in the 4th Century BC. It is based at the coast of Peru in the Casma-Sechin River Basin and contains many buildings and plazas, as well as a fortified temple that has attracted much attention.
The authors of the paper, who include Professor Ivan Ghezzi of the National Institute of Culture, Peru, believe the population was an ancient Sun cult and the observatory was used to mark special days in their solar calendar.
The site contains a number of interesting structures
Professor Ruggles said: “The western observing point, and to some extent, the eastern one, are very restricted – you couldn’t have got more than two or three people watching from them. And all the evidence suggests that there was a formal or ceremonial approach to that point and that there were special rituals going on there.
“This implies that you have someone special – the priests perhaps – who watched the Sun rise or set, while in the plaza next door, the crowds were feasting and could see the Sun rise, but not from that special perspective.
Written records suggest the Incas were making solar observations by 1500 AD, and that their religion centred on Sun worship.
“We know that in Inca times, towers were used to observe the Sun near the solstices, which makes you speculate that there are elements of cult practice that go back a lot further,” Professor Ruggles told the BBC News website.
“This news story link provided to this website by Mike Bacon in Arizona”
My Comments on the Story: This is a very interesting report posted by the BBC. One wonders how this massive complex escaped “scientific” notice for so long? It also makes one wonder how many more such large ancient sites have doubtlessly been located by satellite mappings of the earth but nor reported to the public.
The article estimates a date of circa 400 BC for this huge and ancient solar observatory complex in Peru, and the fact that the site’s makers chose to construct exactly 13 towers is significant. Not only did the Israelites have 13 tribes (when Joseph is subdivided into Manasseh and Ephraim), the Hebrew calendar had 13 months. The solar sighting towers could easily have a had a mathematical formula for determining which years needed an intercalary (“13th”) month added to it. This would have been an important thing for scattered Israelite colonists (or locals of any ethnic group) to know as the communications of ancient times would obviously not have allowed ready consultations with calendar authorities in home countries in the Old World.
Carthage, which had well-known (but not publicized) Hebrew origins, would have begun with a Hebrew calendar and it was very powerful and wealthy in 400 BC! The Greeks confirm Carthage had a strong presence in the New World and gave good descriptions of North America in their discussion of Carthage’s secret Atlantic colony (as documented in my books). Ancient Carthaginian coins have been found widely in North America, and my books document both those findings and evidence that the Carthaginians interacted with the Mayans of Latin America. Contacts between the Old World and South America are also documented.
Or…the estimated date for the site may be off by a few centuries and it could date to the time of King Solomon’s global empire which included Solomon’s quest for scientific knowledge. If this huge site was built in King Solomon’s time, it would have still been usable by 400 BC in Carthaginian times (especially since it is well-known that the Carthaginians inherited the Phoenician’s skills and trade routes). The ancient site is impressive now in the 21st century AD! An ancient site that was this massive and well-constructed can have artifacts and carbon-datings which point to many different centuries of use for a particular site. Given the clearly Hebraic element of 13 months in this site’s solar sighting system, there is reason to believe that this site may have been built in Solomon’s time and was still being used in Carthaginian times in the 4th century BC.
As my books note, II Chronicles 9:23-24 record that “all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon…they brought every man his present…a rate year by year.” Solomon’s navy merged with the navies of Tyre, Sidon, etc. and became one fleet (I Kings 9:26-27, II Chronicles 9:21). Israel, Tyre, Sidon, etc. became jointly known as the “Phoenician” Empire and the evidence of their global reach has been found all over the earth and is documented in my books. I Kings 9:22-25 records that Solomon’s fleets brought back live cargo and trade goods from other continents, and verse 22 adds that one particular fleet returned to Jerusalem only every three years (so it made very lengthy voyages)! If the “kings of the earth” came annually to Jerusalem to bring gifts to Solomon and “seek his wisdom,” it is most likely that this annual pilgrimage of kings was coordinated so they could all arrive in Jerusalem at one time or season. Given the fact that King Solomon was an Israelite king, this would most likely have been on one of the Annual Holy Day seasons. To coordinate the biblically-cited voyages of the world’s kings to reach Jerusalem at the same time, a common calendar system would have been essential. The massive calendar calculation site found in Peru would serve such a function.
However, not all calendar calculation sites had to be so complex or costly. Various types of ancient “calendar circles” have been found all over the world in widely-scattered locations. Some have been preserved and others were destroyed. Their existence confirms that the ancient cultures once had a workable and globally-available method of scientifically calculating a common calendar. This would have made it possible for any culture to calculate when its delegation would have had to depart for Jerusalem for a pilgrimage visit.
The fact that this massive solar site in Peru was “defaulted” to calculate calendar observations according to a 13-month calendar (the very kind King Solomon would have used) supports a view that this site was built in Solomon’s time. It could easily have still been in use by the 4th century BC (and afterward) by whoever remained in that region in later times.
This site may be a silent confirmation that the global power and influence of King Solomon’s Israelite/Phoenician Empire was much more extensive than anyone has previously thought.