I came across this amazing place the other day and after a quick search (with few results) I've decided to present it to you.
, also known as Rujm el-Hiri, Rujm al-Hirrī, Rujm Hiri and Rujum al-Hiri is a pretty spectacular megalithic monument that surely
deserves a thread on ATS. It dates from around 3,000 BC.
If you look at the lower left of the image, you'll see a person waving at the camera. it's safe to say that the size of this feature alone makes it
The largest of the stone circles is approximately 160 meters in diameter, it's estimated that there are roughly 40,000 metric tonnes of rock
making up this monument, just awesome really!!
I've found it extremely hard to find information on this site that isn't just the Wiki page copied and pasted, so unfortunately a lot of my
information is sourced form there. However I have managed to find a couple of pages and I'll do my best to bring you what I can, sourced
appropriately and credit given where it's due.
WHERE IS IT?
Gilgal Refaim is to be found on the Golan Heights, around 16 km from the coast, in what is Israeli controlled territory.
Interestingly, the surrounding hills around our site are littered with hundreds of dolmens:
In the Golan heights area there are hundreds of dolmens (prehistoric megalith tombs), which were erected at the early middle bronze period (about 30 C
BC). The tombs may have been of nomad tribes who buried their dead in central holy places.
Some of the dolmens were reused for secondary burials long after they have been erected.
There are literally hundreds
of these in the surrounding area. Amazing!!
POSSIBLE USES OF THE MONUMENT
It isn't known for sure what the original purpose of the monument was.
Although later on in its life (around a thousand years after its construction) a tomb was included within the centre of the basalt rock rings.
Burial Cairn in the Centre of the Site
ISRAEL MINISTRY OF
At the center of the circles is a cairn, an irregular heap of stones. It is 20-25 m. in diameter and preserved to a height of 6 m. The cairn
consists of a central mound of stones surrounded by a lower belt, which gives it the appearance of a stepped, truncated cone. A geophysical survey
using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) revealed the pile of stones to be hollow. A built burial chamber, with a narrow corridor leading to it, was
discovered there. The chamber is round, roughly 2 m. in diameter, built of large stone plates arranged on top of each other, but slightly slanting
inwards. It was covered by two massive slabs of basalt, each weighing over 5.5 tons, which created a semi-corbelled dome over the burial chamber.
Comparisons have been made between Gilgal Refaim and Stonehenge, the four concentric rings
of the Refaim looking similar to those seen in the
English site. Interestingly, the Refaim is believed by some archaeologists to have been constructed slightly before Stonehenge.
Because of this comparison, the usual theories of the site being an astronomical observatory or calendar have also been put forward.
The ancients could determine the equinoxes at the Rujm al-Hiri site with the help of two stones, two meters high and five meters wide, that were
placed at the eastern end of the area. On the basis of the autumnal equinox and the vernal equinox, the inhabitants could estimate, accordingly, the
first rains, after which came the sowing season, and the searing east winds of the summer.
Ancient astronomy: an encyclopaedia of cosmologies and myths p367 By Clive L. N. Ruggles
Various astronomical alignments have been identified at the site. the clearest being the solstitial alignment of the northeast entrance, which is
reflected in the orientation of the later burial chamber. Curiously though, the southeast entrance is not aligned upon the other soltitial axis: it is
too far to the south. On the other hand, two exceptionally large boulders could have referenced sunrise close to the equinox, and it has been
suggested that the purpose of this was to indicate that the first spring rains wee imminent, allowing final preparations to be made for water to be
efficiently collected for irrigation. Statistical analysis of over thirty radial wall segments suggest that they may have been used as stellar
Astounding that the ancients would choose to create a calender by moving 42,000 basalt rocks!!! It really goes to show how important knowing the time
of year was for survival. Of course that's assuming the theory is correct!
It is only from the air that we can truly appreciate Gilgal Refaim:
Move over Stonehenge!!
All the best ATS, Kiwi
[edit on 6-9-2010 by kiwifoot]
[edit on 7-9-2010 by kiwifoot]