Talk abstract details

Were there astronomical rites at the peak sanctuaries on Crete?
Peter E Blomberg


The Uppsala Group has studied the so-called Peak Sanctuaries and other Minoan buildings on Crete for the past 15 years. The study has been directed towards the Minoan interest in the movements of the sun, moon, and stars. It has been found that all buildings so far completed in the study have relationships directed towards celestial events that made it possible to adjust a calendar correct for the lunisolar year. Up to now, this investigation has not made a study of the possible ritual or religious activities, which could have been related to the Minoans concern with the celestial bodies.
During the last few years other scholars have been presenting papers with a new interpretation of the Minoan peak sanctuaries that indicates some kind of rite executed on the peaks. The kind of rite, however, has not been explained in those studies, but the method presented does justify the recognition of a prehistoric rite.
This new development is discussed. It is shown that the method presented in those papers indicates a rite and supports the understanding of the peak sanctuaries as places used for understanding and studying the heavenly bodies. It is shown that the Minoan study of the heavenly bodies made on those peaks fulfils the definitions of an astronomical rite. This understanding of the rite and the development of that rite make it possible to explain the decline of the importance of the peak sanctuaries that seems to happen at the time when the new palaces are built. This rite seems to partly have moved down to those buildings.