Henges Confirmed As First "Orion Complex"
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Thornborough confirmed as worlds first "Orion Complex"
TimeWatch Media Announcement - For immediate release 13/2/06
Worlds first Orion monument unveiled in Yorkshire, England.
The 5,500 year old Thornborough Henges in North Yorkshire have been announced as the worlds first monument aligned to the constellation Orion, beating the pyramids of Giza by almost 1,000 years.
Dr Jan Harding, Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University today confirmed that in-depth research involving a complex 3D model has confirmed that Thornborough has a number of stellar alignments and that Yorkshires ancient wonder is the earliest major monument in the world aligned to the constellation Orion.
Just like the three Great Pyramids at Giza, the three great henges at Thornborough have been linked by many as possibly reflecting Orions Belt however Dr Hardings work focussed on the entire monument complex at Thornborough and has revealed that even before the henges were built, Orion was a significant focus for religion in Neolithic Britain.
The first major monument at Thornborough was built around 3,500BC, this was a 1.2km long processional way, which was created so that its western end pointed towards the setting of the constellation Orion. It seems this structure had a dual purpose, for its eastern end is aligned to the midsummer solstice.
Around 3,000 BC, the three mighty henges at Thornborough were built, creating Britains largest religious gathering place, it is likely that these were erected in order to mirror Orions Belt and in addition each southern entrance was aligned to frame the rising of Sirius a star linked to Orion in Egyptian mythology and again a dual purpose is apparent for the axis of these entrances was aligned on the midwinter sunrise.
This research is due to be published by Newcastle University in 2007 as part of a major new report on the Thornborough complex that is likely to set the archaeological world ablaze with significant new insights into the Neolithic world.
Thornborough was a sacred landscape, a place of religious worship, and we should try to interpret these astronomical orientations within that context. Said Dr Harding. This astronomical association was emphasised by the banks of the henges being coated in brilliant white gypsum. Neolithic people surely felt they were at the centre of the very cosmos as they worshipped the heavens above.
The announcement has been welcomed by TimeWatch, who are campaigning for an end to quarrying of the Thornborough Complex This study emphasises the importance of Thornborough as a site of extreme importance on a global scale said TimeWatch Chairman George Chaplin Surely it is time to stop this quarry and give Thornborough the respect it deserves.
North Yorkshire County Council planning committee will meet on the 21st February to determine the latest quarry application at Thornborough by Tarmac Northern Ltd. The latest area targeted for gravel extraction is Ladybridge Farm, which contains a Neolithic settlement used by those that built and worshipped at the henges.
Henges years older than pyramids
Each henge consists of circular earth banks and ditches
An ancient North Yorkshire monument has been recognised as being almost 1,000 years older than the pyramids of Giza.
Researchers at Newcastle University have found the Thornborough Henges are one of the earliest major monuments aligned to the constellation Orion.
The 5,500-year-old earthworks, north of Ripon, and the Egyptian pyramids are thought to have been built to mirror Orion's belt for its religious focus.
The research will be published in 2007 in a new report on the henges complex.
Senior lecturer at the university Dr Jan Harding said they used a three dimensional model to confirm the stellar alignments of the henges, which date back to the Neolithic period.
"Thornborough was a sacred landscape, a place of religious worship, and we should try to interpret these astronomical orientations within that context.
The henges are in open countryside near the A1
"This astronomical association was emphasised by the banks of the henges being coated in brilliant white gypsum.
"Neolithic people surely felt they were at the centre of the very cosmos as they worshipped the heavens above."
The university's finding have been welcomed by campaigners opposing plans by Tarmac to quarry sand and gravel at Ladybridge Farm near the henges.
Opponents fear it could destroy clues about the earthworks' history but Tarmac says the land could cope with quarrying and conservation.
Members of the North Yorkshire County Council planning committee are due to meet on 21 February to decide whether to approve or reject the application.
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