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Callanish

45 44 movements of sun and moon, handed down as oral tradition and preserved in megalithic structures. Thus the best times for impressive ceremonies would have been known. Two classical Greek writers wrote about the northern region of Hyperborea. Eratosthenes said the Hyperboreans temple was winged, while in 55 BC Diodorus wrote there is also on the island a notable temple which is spherical in shape the moon, as viewed from this island, appears but a little distance from the earth the god visits the island every nineteen years The facts fit Callanish well. For spherical, read circular, while the east and west rows could be the wings 19 years is close enough to 18.6 for the god, read the moon, which does remain a little distance from the earth at its southern extreme. In June 1987 and in Sept 2006, observers standing in the avenue witnessed this extreme lunar event as the moon rose out of the Sleeping Beauty, skimmed the horizon, and set briefly, before re appearing among the stones of the circle shown below. Various roles have been suggested for sites like Callanish. They include observatories, temples perhaps with a funerary purpose, calendrical markers and tribal status symbols. Stone circles could well have served all of these purposes and more. Primitive cultures tend to combine all aspects of their lives, including religion, art, medicine, astronomy and farming, in a single ritual framework. Construction of a circle must have been a communal effort which aided social cohesion. When complete, it was probably a social and religious centre with purposes not dissimilar to those of a medieval parish church. Whatever deity was worshipped Sun, Moon or Earth Mother, ceremonies in the circle probably included harvest celebrations, initiation, fertility and funeral rites, even trading. Officiating priests may have had detailed knowledge of the PrehiStOric teMPleS why were stone circles built
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