List of archaeoastronomical sites by country

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This is a list of sites where claims for the use of archaeoastronomy have been made, sorted by country.

Clive Ruggles and Michel Cotte have edited a book on heritage sites of astronomy and archaeoastronomy that provides a list of the main archaeoastronomical sites around the world.[1]


  • Zorats Karer (aka Carahunge), archeological site claimed by many to have astronomical significance.


  • Ngaut Ngaut oral tradition says these engravings represent lunar cycles.[2]
  • Wurdi Youang, a stone arrangement with possible solar alignments[3]



  • Magura Cave, Bronze Age "paintings of staggered black and white squares could have been used to count the days in a calendar month", possibly indicating the number of days in the solar tropical year.[4]


  • Angkor Wat
  • Phnom Bakheng, According to Jean Filliozat of the École Française, the center tower represents the axis of the world and the 108 smaller ones represent the 4 lunar phases each with 27 days.[5]



  • El Infiernito, (Spanish for "Little hell"), is a pre-Columbian Muisca site located in the outskirts of Villa de Leyva, Boyacá Department, Colombia. It is composed of several earthworks surrounding a setting of menhirs (upright standing stones); several burial mounds are also present. The site was a center of religious ceremonies and spiritual purification rites, and also served as a rudimentary astronomical observatory.


  • Puyang tomb, dated from 5000 BP, depicts a mosaic of constellations.[6]


  • Abu Simbel, The axis of the temple was positioned by the ancient Egyptian architects in such a way that twice a year, on October 20 and February 20, the rays of the sun would penetrate the sanctuary and illuminate the sculpture on the back wall, except for the statue of Ptah, the god connected with the Underworld, who always remained in the dark.[7][8]
  • Great Pyramids of Egypt
  • Nabta Playa


  • The so-called Giants' Churches (Finn. jätinkirkko), which are large, from ca. 20 m to over 70 m long rectangular or oval stone enclosures built in the Neolithic (ca. 3000-1800 BC), have axis and doorway orientations towards the sunrises and sunsets of the solstices and other calendrically significant days. E.g., the Kastelli of Raahe, which is one of the largest Giants' Churches, had its five "gates", i.e. wall openings oriented towards the midsummer sunset, the winter solstice sunrise, winter solstice sunset, the sunrises of the mid-quarter days of early May (Walpurgis, Beltaine) and August (Lammas), as well as the sunrise 11 days before the vernal equinox in 2500 BC.[9][10]







For a full list see the chapter on India in the ICOMOS book edited by Clive Ruggles and Michel Cotte.[12][13] These sites include:

J.M. Malville and Rana P.B. Singh have done much work on the archaeoastronomy of sacred sites in India.[14][15]







Republic of Macedonia[edit]

  • Kokino Situated 1030 m above sea level on the Tatićev Kamen Summit near Kumanovo.



  • Calakmul
  • Cantona
  • Casas Grandes
  • Chichen Itza, the caracol is theorized to be a proto-observatory with doors and windows aligned to astronomical events, specifically around the path of Venus as it traverses the heavens.[17] El Castillo the main pyramid also has archeoastronomy features.
  • Coba
  • Dzibilchaltun, Spring equinox, the sun rises so that it shines directly through one window of the temple and out the other.
  • Ikil, Hierophany where the sunrise on the day of the solar zenith transit aligns with the summit of Ikil Structure 1 as viewed from an observation point within Ikil Cave 1.[18]
  • Izamal
  • Mitla
  • Monte Alban, zenith tube
  • Palenque
  • La Quemada
  • El Tajín
  • Teotihuacan, the pecked-cross circles as survey-markers
  • Tulum
  • Uxmal, Venus alignment of the "Governor's Palace"
  • Xochicalco, zenith tube
  • Yagul











United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Clive Ruggles and Michel Cotte (ed.), Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy. ICOMOS and IAU, Paris, 2010.
  2. ^ Australian Aboriginal Astronomy at the CSIRO site. Accessed on 2009-08-02.
  3. ^ Norris, R.P.; Norris, P.M.; Hamacher, D.W.; Abrahams, R. (2013). "Wurdi Youang: an Australian Aboriginal stone arrangement with possible solar indications". Rock Art Research. 30 (1): 55–65. 
  4. ^ Stoev, Alexey; Maglova, Penka (2014), "Astronomy in the Bulgarian Neolithic", in Ruggles, Clive L. N., The Handbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy, New York: Springer, pp. 1377–1384, ISBN 978-1-4614-6140-1 
  5. ^ Time Life Lost Civilizations series: Southeast Asia: A Past Regained (1995) p.93-4
  6. ^ Zhentao Xu; David William Pankenier; Yaoting Jing (2000). East Asian Archaeoastronomy: Historical Records of Astronomical Observations of China, Japan and Korea. CRC Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-90-5699-302-3. 
  7. ^ Alberto Siliotti, Egypt: temples, people, gods,1994
  8. ^ Ania Skliar, Grosse kulturen der welt-Ägypten, 2005
  9. ^ Okkonen, J. & Ridderstad, M. 2009: Jätinkirkkojen aurinkosuuntauksia; in Ei kiveäkään kääntämättä, Juhlakirja Pentti Koivuselle, pp. 129-136.
  10. ^ Tähdet ja Avaruus, Ursa astronomical assosiacion's magazine 4 / 2009 p.15
  11. ^ Rohde, Claudia: Kalender in der Urgeschichte. Fakten und Fiktion, Rahden 2012
  12. ^ Clive Ruggles and Michel Cotte (ed.), Heritage Sites of Astronomy and Archaeoastronomy. ICOMOS and IAU, Paris, 2010.
  13. ^ Subhash Kak, Archaeoastronomy in India. arXiv:1002.4513v2
  14. ^ J.M. Malville and L.M. Gujral, Ancient Cities, Sacred Skies. New Delhi, 2000.
  15. ^ Rana P.B. Singh, Cosmic Order and Cultural Astronomy. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009.
  16. ^
  17. ^ Anthony Aveni, Stairway to the Stars: Skywatching in Three Great Ancient Cultures (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1997) 135-138 ISBN 0-471-15942-5
  18. ^
  19. ^ Langbroek M., Huilen naar de maan. Een verkennend onderzoek naar de orientaties van Nederlandse hunebedden. P.I.T. 1:2 (1999), 8-13
  20. ^ A History of Britain, Richard Dargie (2007), p. 12.
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  24. ^ Newark Earthworks
  25. ^