Thursday, December 18, 2014

New Archaeoastronomical Findings in the Alto Belice Valley (Sicily)

Researchers present astronomical findings from the previous two years of research in Sicily.
The Summer Solstice on Cozzo Perciata

The calendar is located within the valley of Alto Belice and overlaps the periods of the Bell Beakers and the Castellucciano Culture of the Bronze Age.  Scuderi, Polcaro and Maurici suggest it began use around the last part of the third millennium.  Underneath one of the monuments is the grave of a man with some bell beaker fragments.  Bell Beaker fragments are found at all the sites.

The calendar is very, very large.  The most distant points are about 6km.  Large megalithic eyelets channel light from the rising Solstice Sun to a central alter where, apparently, after walking up the steps, something gory took place.

Campanaru (the Bell Tower) on Monte Arcivocalotto
These artifacts provide an important insight into pan-European Beaker religion and religious holidays.

Click on the site below and zoom in to take the street tour. 

Campanaru           Pizzo Pietralunga          Pietralunga altar        Cozzo Perciata

NEW ARCHAEOASTRONOMICAL FINDINGS IN THE ALTO BELICE VALLEY (SICILY), Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Vol. 14, No 3, pp. 93-98, Alberto Scuderi, Vito F. Polcaro, Ferdinando Maurici, 2014 [Link]


  1. Well, I don't quite know what to make of that. First, the two eyelets do not both channel light to the altar. Instead, one channels light to a peak that rises near the altar. Second, I don't know how they'd be sure the 40 year old photograph they have is of the original state of the now-broken eyelet, rather than simply a picture of the extant eyelet. I would be more impressed if they'd quoted locals rather than referring to "living witnesses" who go unnamed. Finally, I'm not sure that calling them both 'bell towers' suggests an archaeoastronomical function.

    1. I also thought the alignment was more to the large cliff. I also thought I could see steps on the backside. Maybe they were mislabeled.