Eclipse Shines Light on Medieval African Astronomical Observatory

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 eclipse predictor. 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 Stonehenge.

The debate will probably continue for some time.