The ancients were amazingly aware of the changes in the world they inhabited, and the few surviving structures of their time, the monolithic stone monuments, demonstrate this as they often align with astronomical events.
The UK and Irish governments are broadcasting the monuments of Newgrange in Ireland and Stonehenge in England live, to allow anyone wishing to watch the setting sun on the 22nd pass directly through the henge and the rising sun through the Newgrange passage tomb.
Stonehenge and Newgrange
The English Heritage YouTube Channel the stream will start at 7:25 GMT, or 1:25 AM US EST, to watch the sunset at Stonehenge on December 22, while the The Heritage Ireland channel is online every morning at 8:45 a.m. GMT or 2:45 a.m. US EST on the 21st and 22nd to show the rising sun passing through the Newgrange burial chamber.
“Watching the light slip into the five-thousand-year-old passage tomb in real time is a moving event that has the power to marvel at the ingenuity of ancient architects and give us hope for the future,” said Patrick O’Donovan at the Office of Public Works, Ireland.
Shaped inside like a cross with three cavities for cremated remains, the low winter sun enters through a shaft above the main entrance which bathes the central chamber in light for about 17 minutes. It was built around 3200 BCE.
Maeshowe Chambered Cairne
For those who don’t want to get up so early, at the Maeshowe Chambered Cairne in Scotland, a livestream will begin to celebrate the winter solstice with poetry, and information about the site, coupled with the phenomenon of the setting sun moving perfectly in line with the openings towards the interior of the cairne. This happens at 4:00 p.m. GMT or 10:00 a.m. US EST and can be found on this YouTube channel.
Maeshowe Chambered Cairne is on the Isle of Orkney and is considered the heart of Neolithic Scotland. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the central chamber is 15 feet in each direction and the roof is twelve feet high. it looks a lot like Newgrange in Ireland, but was built around 500 years later.
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