It is possibly not possible to say when the humans initially started to wonder regarding the moon, stars, and sun, or tried to comprehend their motion, although there is proof of the lunar calendar being utilized by hunter-gatherers through the Upper Paleolithic around 32,000 BC in Europe. In Ireland, one from the most matured astronomically important sites is Loughcrew cairn complex within County Meath, and it’s in March & September each year which its magnificence actually shines. Spread around Slieve na Caillaigh hill at Loughcrew are about 32 cairns – heaps of stones created to build as the tomb, landmark or memorial – that has been constructed to be aligned in the motion of a sun annually. In particular, they sign the cardinal commands, the equinoxes, when nighttime and daytime are of about equal duration all around the world, and cross-quarter times, the days midway in between solstice and equinox. While the prehistoric monument of New grange has been the most popular for the illumination in the world of its chamber and passage at winter solstice sunrise, its lighting up of backstone at Cairn T at the Loughcrew on the autumnal equinoxes and spring is less well identified but equally important.
More than Tombs
The Archaeologists thought that Loughcrew cairns marked the sites where famous people, such as chieftains or priests, were buried. But, the Loughcrew cairns had been more than just the tombs. They had been ritual temples and monuments and where individual gathered to commemorate their nature, ancestors, and gods. The astronomical alignments also suggested one more purpose and had been most probably connected to agriculture. The evident sun’s motion, and also the stars, may be used to specify the start and end of the seasons. Therefore, the sun’s motion told the farmers if they needed to begin harvesting or planting the crops. Knowing this sun’s motion could have been very significant to the Neolithic farmer of Ireland and then they would have measured it worthwhile to put in such time-spending plans.
Cairn T Light Up At Equinoxes
From the 32 documented cairns at the Loughcrew, one is identified as Carnbane East that have more important tomb called as Cairn T. It has a big kerb-stone situated at the north part of a cairn with “horns” or armrests that is named as Hag’s Chair. Based on the local folklore, it’s the seat upon wherein a mythical hag sits down to observe the stars.
The Spring Equinox
This March equinox is a halfway point in between winter solstice and summer. At Loughcrew, this spring equinox encounter may be witnessed for 3-days, when a backstone at Cairn T has been lit up by a morning sunlight shines down the passageway.