An astronomical complex or commemorative astronomical complex is a series of man-made structures with an astronomical purpose. It has been used when referring to a group of Megalithic structures that it is claimed show high precision astronomical alignments. For the study of Archaeoastronomy, such complexes of similar structures are required for adequate measurement and calculation to ensure that similar celestial sightlines were intended by the designers. These arrangements have also been known as observational, ceremonial or ritual complexes with importance for the study of prehistoric cultures.
Ancient astronomical complexes
- The E-group ruins of a plaza with three temples and two viewing platforms at Uaxactún, near the Petén Basin, Guatemala, accredited to the Mayan civilization referred to as a Complejo Conmemorativo Astronomico.
- It has been suggested that the grouping of stone circles and ridge-top cairns on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall compose a ritual or astronomical complex.
- Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, United Kingdom.
- The Callanish Complex of megaliths in the Hebrides islands.
- The series of recumbent stone circles in Aberdeenshire in the North East of Scotland, including Balquhain stone circle and the cupmarked stone on its west flank.
- Wandlebury Hill, Portingbury Warren Mound in Portingbury Hills and a series of 11 marker stones including the Leper Stone in Cambridgeshire and Essex in England, also known as the Wandlebury Enigma or The Wandlebury-Hatfield Heath Astronomical Complex.
- The circular stone structure (calendar circle) at Nabta Playa in Egypt dating to the 5th millennium BC is believed to be the among the oldest astronomical complexes in the world.
- In 2006, then Atlit Yam was discovered in Israel in 2009, dated with certainty to at least 6300 BCE, at which point it was abandoned and submerged in the Mediterranean, but still being excavated and analyzed as of 2014. Atlit Yam has human skeletons ceremoniously buried, and is a small semi-circle of long, narrow uprighted stones etched with cupmarks.
- Rogem Hiri, 40,000,000 kg of stone with a 'gate' or opening in the outer stone circle through which the sun rises on each Summer Solstice (with this 'gate' matching the Summer Solstice's sunrise even more accurately millennia ago), and a burial chamber in the center under two 5-tonne megaliths, a layer of circa 3,000 BCE exposed, with a surveyed but unexcavated, estimated 4,000 BCE, layer beneath.
- Mnajdra and other Megalithic Temples of Malta, circa 3100 BCE and younger.
Modern astronomical complexes
Examples of modern astronomical complexes of stellar observatories include:
- The Leoncito Astronomical Complex in the San Juan Province of Argentina.
- The University of Idaho Astronomical Complex in the United States of America.
- The research and observational centre at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and its observatories, the Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos, on La Palma and the Observatorio del Teide, on Tenerife.
- The observatories of the Caltech Astronomy Department, California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California, United States of America.
- Juan Pedro Laporte (1993). Tikal y Uaxactún en el preclásico. UNAM. pp. 5, 9, 27, 37, 38, 72, 79, 81, 86 & 90. ISBN 978-968-36-2673-8. Retrieved 13 March 2011.
- Fialko, Vilma., Laporte, Juan Pedro., New Perspectives on Old Problems: Dynastic references for the Early Classic at Tikal. In Vision and Revision in Maya Studies, edited by F. Clancy and P. Harrison, pp. 33–66, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
- "National Parks and Reserves in Argentina: El Leoncito National Park". Ripio Turismo. Archived from the original on 8 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-06.
- "Public Outreach". Complejo Astronomico El Leoncito. Archived from the original on 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2006-09-06.
- Rice, Prudence M., Maya political science: time, astronomy, and the cosmos, Page 87, University of Texas Press, 2004.
- University College; London. Institute of Archaeology (2000). Archaeology international. Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
- Hawkins, Gerald., Stonehenge Decoded, Nature, 200, 306–308, 1963
- Hawkins, Gerald., Callanish, a Scottish Stonehenge, Science, 147, 127–130, 1965.
- Heggie, D.C., Archaeoastronomy in the Old World, Decoding te Callanish Complex – A Progress Report
- Hoppit, David (1978). "The Wandlebury Enigma Solved? – Line A Loxodrome". Sunday Telegraph Magazine, Issue 78, March 18th.
- Bauval, Robert., The Egypt Code, Page 277, Century, 2006
- Johnson, Mark, R., University of Idaho Astronomical Complex, Moscow, Idaho, 214 pages, University of Idaho, 1984
- Grothkopf, Uta., Astronomical Society of the Pacific conference serie, Volume 153, p. 3, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 1998.
- Henry Robinson Luce, Time, Volume 87, Issues 1–12, p. 84, Time Inc., 1966.