Eclipse Shines Light on Medieval African Astronomical Observatory
Submitted by Milica on Thu, 2002-12-05 16:23
New Scientist: In a report from New Scientist, Stuart Clark and Damian Carrington, write that
last week's total eclipse of the sun has sparked renewed interest in Great
Zimbabwe, a mysterious 13th century stone complex in South Africa, as a solar
Archaeologists and researchers have long believed Great Zimbabwe, the
mysterious stone ruins in southern Africa, to be a royal residence, but last
week's solar eclipse may have sent them looking in another direction.
A series of stone monoliths on the eastern arc of the Great Enclosure seem to
line up with astronomical features such as the sun, moon and bright stars at
significant times of the year, including the winter solstice. One monolith is
notched in a way that records the position of Venus and can predict eclipses.
Other elements seem to make Great Zimbabwe a younger and larger cousin of
The debate will probably continue for some time.