Megalithic Sites in Central Europe

In Oldenburg, near the city Wildeshausen, are seven pairs of long parallel stone rows known locally as Hünenbetten ("Beds of the Huns"). These are discussed by Müller (1970, pp. 75-81). Müller points out that in 1934, at a time when scholarly work on archaeoastronomy was virtually nonexistent, D. Wattenberg noted that the major alignment of the Hünenbett at Visbeker Braut ("bride") pointed at the midsummer Moon's major standstill position in the South (-29°). The row is closed at the end by four large stone pillars that act as a foresight in similar fashion to natural foresights suggested by Thom at numerous sites. It should be noted that the two outside pillars have pointed tops, whereas the two interior pillars have flattened tops, paralleling the situation described by Burl (1993) for British sites. At Visbeker Bräutigam ("bridegroom"), the Hünenbett is aligned nearly on the equinox (90.8° W of N). The other alignments are not as obviously meaningful. The archeolog-ical context seems to be in the Neolithic, ~2200-1700 b.c. The Hohe Steine ("tall stones") site has four large boulders set in the middle of an oval ring of much smaller stones.

At Boitin, in Mecklenburg, are four stone circles referred to as Steintanze ("stone dances") (Müller 1970, pp. 54-50, 81-84). Lines between the centers of three of these circles form an isosceles triangle, one side of which is only 1/2° off a line to true north, and the base of which aligns to the extreme southern moonrise (-29°) in 1800 b.c.

At Klopzow, another site in Mecklenburg, there is a double ellipse or circle, with an entrance and small stones to the southeast and large ones to the northwest. A line drawn from the entrance across the largest stones gives an azimuth of 315°. The horizon is flat at this site, which has a latitiude of 53.5°. This implies a declination of ~24°, summer solstice sunset (Müller 1970, pp. 84-85).

According to Müller (1970, pp. 85-88), a group of stone circles in Odry, in West Prussia, seem to be strongly interrelated, with alignments marking the equinoxes and the rise and set points of the Sun at both solstices and the major standstill southern moonrise and the northern moonset. There is also an alignment to a setting at 8 = 33° (for the equinox -1760), said to be for Capella. All alignments are said to work best at about l800 b.c. It is of importance that the lunar and solar interests recognized for the builders of the British megalithic monuments have also been deduced for these similar continental monuments of about the same date.

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