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Ancient markers

Winter solstice - Newgrange angle

Sites from many cultures include markers of sunrise or sunset at the solstice.

At Newgrange, Ireland, an ancient tomb is aligned so that, on the winter solstice, sunlight illuminates a passageway and stone carvings at the end of a chamber.

At Glastonbury, England, the sun rises at the base of an ancient man-made hill and then rises along the line.

Winter solstice - GlastonburyIn a palace at Knossos, Crete, a south-facing window at a palace was aligned so that, from the throne, the sun rose at the right-most point at the winter solstice, and at the left-most point at summer solstice.

Other ancient markers can be seen at Goseck, Germany and other locations.

More recently, some churches have been aligned with the solstice sun.

At the Old Mission. San Juan Bautista, California, once a year, at the winter solstice, a sunbeam passes through the church’s front window and illuminates the altar and aisle.

winter solstice - illumination at Mission San Juan

Other markers can be seen at the Cathedral of Milan (where the Meridian of the Duomo was a global astronomical reference) and at St. Sulpice in Paris.


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