(DailyDig.com) – In the week of June 22, Dutch researchers revealed the discovery of a cemetery that had been used as a calendar based on the sun dating back 4,000 years. Officials in Tiel, where the monument was discovered, described it as the “Stonehenge of the Netherlands.”
A burial hill and a series of ditches at this site, reminiscent of England’s Stonehenge, provide a path for the sun at the time of the winter and summer solstices. About a million artifacts, some from the Stone Age, were unearthed from the area surrounding the site.
The structure was constructed from dirt and wood, with numerous graveyards, a path marked by wooden poles, and mounds. The biggest mound presumably served as an observation station for the solar calendar and was part of the ceremonial path. The light would shine down the path and onto the hill on specific days. This calendar would mark key dates, like harvest times.
A spearhead, animal bones, and human skulls were among the priceless artifacts uncovered by archaeologists at the entrance to the mounds. Several burials were uncovered there as well, one of which contained the oldest glass bead ever recovered in the nation. Scientists determined the bead originated in Mesopotamia, indicating trade between the two regions separated by more than 3,000 miles.
Glass was not produced locally, according to University of Groningen professor Stijn Arnoldussen. The bead, made of a substance they had never seen before, must have appeared miraculous.
There is evidence of ceremonial usage at the site, including rows of poles set up along possible processional routes. The area was probably occupied for close to 800 years.
After unearthing the site in 2017 and 2018, it took scientists another six years to study all of the objects they found. Some of the artifacts were made as far back as the Stone Age, while others are dated to the Middle Ages, the Roman Empire, the Iron Age, and the Bronze Age. The majority of the artifacts will likely be on exhibit in the near future.
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