ASTRONOMY

The ancient observatory of Kokino (or Kokino Megalithic Observatory) is one of the most interesting features of this archaeological site. Astronomical research has shown that the highest part of the locality was used for this purpose by the area’s prehistoric inhabitants. From that area, through specially made markers cut in the rock, the characteristic positions of the sun, the moon, as well as the position of the Aldebaran star were observed.

The view towards the stone thrones on Platform A


The area used as an observatory has a west – east orientation. It is composed of the lower western and the upper eastern platform (A and B, with a 19 m height difference between them) and two astronomical platforms (western astronomical platform C and northern astronomical platform D). The platforms A and B were used exclusively for ritual purposes.

The cut-mark for the summer solstice


The markers of the sunrise on the days of the summer and winter solstices and of the spring and fall equinoxes can be seen from a specific area on the observatory (astronomical Platform C). The markers of the minimal and maximal declination of the full moon-rise in the winter and in the summer give the observatory a special importance. The astronomical research showed that the astronomical Platform C and its cut-markers were made in the second half of the 19th c B.C.

The cut-mark for the winter solstice


The latest research has shown that the astronomical Platform D on Kokino’s northern slope was used to observe the spring and the fall equinoxes, as well as the position of the star Aldebaran in the period between 2000 and 1500 years B.C. There are indications that the ancient sky-watchers, considering the knowledge they possessed at the time, were able to predict the eclipses of the sun and the moon.


Calendar

By observing the rising of full moon on the eastern horizon for a long period - when it appears highest (during the winter) and lowest (during the summer) on the sky, the ancient observers from Kokino were able to mark its maximal and minimal declinations in these seasons. These moon rises have been observed from the astronomical platform D. The prehistoric inhabitants of the area had noticed that on the same calendar day, the same phase of the moon appears in the same spot on the horizon, every 19 years.

The Moon above its minimal declination cut-mark during the winter


By marking the moonrises, the prehistoric inhabitants created the Kokino lunar calendar for a 19 year cycle. Creating a calendar is a great accomplishment of the prehistoric inhabitants’ and proof of a well-organized society and an advanced spiritual culture.

The Moon above Kokino


According to this calendar, the lunar year was composed of 12 or 13 lunar months, each from 29 or 30 days. Accordingly, 12 lunar years contained 12 lunar months, out of which 6 winter months - with length of 29 days, as well as 6 summer months – with length of 30 days. The remaining 7 lunar years were composed of 13 lunar months, out of which 6 winter – with a length of 29 days, and 7 summer – with a length of 30 days.

The sun rises behind the ritual cut-mark


Additional stone markers were made for marking and measuring the length of the lunar months for 29 and 30 days. From these, the marker used for measuring the length of the lunar month of 29 days has been well preserved.

More in this category: « Archeology Rituals »