Past & Present

A Site of Solstice Celebration?

People must have been very aware of the passage of the sun, moon and stars across the sky. Being able to tell that the shortest days were over and longer, warmer days were about to come must have been important to these farmers. They could tell when times were about to change by watching for the positions of the rising or setting sun, moving along the horizon as the year passes. At mid-winter the distance between the rising and setting is at its shortest. At mid-summer it is at its longest. Both days are known as the solstice.

This place may have been chosen for celebrations of the passing of the mid-winter solstice. Observers would have eventually been able to mark the approximate day of the mid-winter sunset, and then heavy standing stones could be set in place. Perhaps they also used this observation to decide when other festivals should take place.

By Jill Harden

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