Poster abstract details

The orientation of the northern gate of the Goseck solar observatory
Marianna Ridderstad


Possible astronomical orientations towards the northern gate of the Goseck Neolithic rondel, built by the Stichbandkeramik culture in 4800 BC, have been searched for. Four stellar orientations - towards Edasich, Dubhe, Alphecca and the Pleiades - have been found having occurred on the winter solstice, when the structure was most probably used. An orientation towards a few days old moon next to the Pleiades has been found having occurred through the northern gate in some years, which suggests the use of a lunisolar calendar by the builders of the rondel. Based on the comparison of the Neolithic and early Bronze Age circular enclosure and grave orientations in the region, it is considered likely that a religious tradition of observing the sun, and possibly also the the moon and the Pleiades, was preserved in the area by cultural transference for several millennia, beginning with the early rondel-builders in the STK and Lengyel cultures, and eventually resulting into the production of the Nebra bronze disk in the Unetice culture. It is suggested that the observed continuity in the orientations of the enclosures and graves in the region over a large timespan should be further investigated, placing special emphasis on the possible early existence of a lunisolar calendar and the social ritualistic context in which the observations took place.