LUOGHI STORICI

Stonehenge

In Gran Bretagna, nella pianura di Salisbury, si trova il complesso di Stonehenge. Di forma circolare ha un diametro di qualche decina di metri.

E’ composto da vari anelli di pietre alte e strette, alcune delle quali sormontate da altre lastre di pietra. Si possono osservare, inoltre, alcune serie di buche nel terreno, disposte in forma circolare.

Questo complesso si pensa sia stato progettato non soltanto come luogo di culto dagli antichi abitatori, ma anche come un calendario dopo una paziente osservazione del cielo, tenendo traccia del trascorrere dei mesi, delle stagioni e degli anni.

Il numero di pietre e di buche nei vari anelli sembra essere legato a qualche ciclo astronomico, come quello delle fasi lunari.

Le direzioni degli allineamenti fra le varie pietre coincidono pressa poco con alcuni punti della volta celeste, che corrispondono ad eventi periodici come il sorgere e il tramontare del Sole ai solstizi. Per esempio, il giorno del solstizio d’estate, il Sole sorge in un punto più a settentrione rispetto a tutti gli altri giorni dell’anno.

Quel giorno, stando nel centro del cerchio di pietre, si può vedere sorgere il Sole al di sopra di una pietra particolare detta “Heel Stone”, che si trova lungo l’asse della costruzione.

Ci sono tesi che sostengono che questo complesso servisse per prevedere il verificarsi delle eclissi.

Una volta note la lunghezza dell’anno e del mese, facilmente determinabili, sarebbe stato necessario però conoscere la periodicità del moto dei nodi dell’orbita lunare. Un’eclisse avviene solo quando Sole e Luna si trovano in prossimità di un nodo.

È difficile che gli antichi abitatori del luogo avessero conoscenze così avanzate, anche se bisogna tener conto che per molti popoli del passato le eclissi erano un evento importante, talvolta visto come presagio di sventura.

Nel 1700 William Stukeley, uno studioso, avanzò l’ipotesi che Stonehenge sia stato costruito come tempio dai Druidi.

POTREBBE INTERESSARTI
I Celti
Litha solstizio d’estate

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