Ancient Observatory

Scientists Discover that Megalithic Site in India is Oldest Ancient Observatory in South Asia

(Read the article on one page)

A remarkable 7,000-year-old megalithic site that served as an astronomical observatory has been found in Muduma village in Telangana, India. The discovery has been hailed as one of the most significant archaeological findings in India over the last few decades.

According to Times of India , the team of archeologists described it as  ''the only megalithic site in India, where a depiction of a star constellation has been identified''. The ancient observatory dates to 5,000 BC and the researchers believe that it is the earliest astronomical observatory discovered in India and perhaps even in the whole of South Asia.

The site consists of around 80 huge menhirs (standing stones), which are 3.5 – 4 meters tall. There are also about 2000 alignment stones, which are 30-60cm tall. According to experts, no other excavation site in India has so many menhirs concentrated in such a small area. The maximum concentration of menhirs is located in the central portion of the monument.

The large standing stones that form an observatory in Telangana, India

The large standing stones that form an observatory in Telangana, India ( Satya Vijayi )

One of the surprising details discovered at the site is a depiction of the constellation known as Ursa Major, which is formed from small cup-sized pits carved into a standing stone. The group of about 30 cup-marks were arranged in the same shape in which Ursa Major can be observed in the night sky with the naked eye. The carving depicts not only the prominent seven starts, but also the peripheral stars too.  

Moreover, as ArcheoFeed.com reported: an “imaginary line drawn through the top two stars point to pole star or the North Star''.

Researchers believe that the site still holds many secrets. The next planned research will take a place in December led by archeologists from Korea.

The constellation Ursa Major as it can be seen by the unaided eye

The constellation Ursa Major as it can be seen by the unaided eye ( public domain )

Numerous prehistoric observatories have already been discovered around the world, including Peru, Britain and Armenia. Thousands of years ago people were trying to understand the sky and were often using their observations to make predictions for agricultural and ceremonial purposes. The site Zorats Karer from Armenia dates back to the same period as the observatory from India. As Natalia Klimczak from Ancient Origins wrote:

“Zorats Karer is also known as Carahunge, Karahunj, Qarahunj. It is located in an area of around 7 hectares and covers the site nearby the Dar river canyon, close to the city of Sisan. The ancient site is often called the ''Armenian Stonehenge'', but the truth of what it is may be even more fascinating. According to researchers, Zorats Karer could be among the world's oldest astronomical observatories, and is at least 3,500 years older than British Stonehenge. The site was rediscovered in 1984 by a team led by researcher Onik Khnkikyan. After a few months of work, Khnkikyan concluded that the site of Zorats Karer must have been an observatory. Moreover, with time, Armenian archeologists, astronomers and astrophysicists found that there were at least two other ancient sites important for prehistoric astronomy in the vicinity: Angeghakot and Metzamor.

A general view of the Karahunj site near Sisian, Southern Armenia.

A general view of the Karahunj site near Sisian, Southern Armenia. (  CC BY-SA 4.0  )

In 1994, Zorats Karer was extensively analyzed by Professor Paris Herouni, a member of the Armenian National Academy of Science and President of the Radio Physics Research Institute in Yerevan. His expeditions revealed a great deal of fascinating information about the site. First of all, his team counted 223 stones, of which 84 were found to have holes. They measured the longitude, latitude and the magnetic deviation of the site. The researchers also created a topographical map of the monumental megalithic construction, which became the basis of further work.  Finally, the main treasure of the site was unearthed – a collection of many impressive and unique astronomical objects. The researchers realized that several stones were used to make observations of the sun, moon and stars. They were located according to knowledge about the rising, culmination moments, and setting of the sun, moon and specific stars. The stones are basalt, somewhat protected by moss but smoothed by the rain and wind and full of holes and erosion. Many of the stones were damaged over time.

In ancient times, the stones were shaped and arranged in what are known as the north and south arms, the central circle, the north-eastern alley, the separate standing system of circles and the chord. The stones are between 0.5 and 3 meters tall and weigh up to 10 tons. Some of them are related to burial cists.''

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Demons in Your Toilet? Guardians of the Sewers and How They Protected Ancient Latrines
As a ritual symbol of purification, water plays a key role in the public space of hygiene and sanitary activities as well as in almost all religions past and present. From the first moment mankind invented rituals and deities, the notion of purification was attached to the act of ritual ablutions. The very act of washing was not only about cleaning oneself from dirt - it also freed one from spiritual impurities.

Myths & Legends

Demons in Your Toilet? Guardians of the Sewers and How They Protected Ancient Latrines
As a ritual symbol of purification, water plays a key role in the public space of hygiene and sanitary activities as well as in almost all religions past and present. From the first moment mankind invented rituals and deities, the notion of purification was attached to the act of ritual ablutions. The very act of washing was not only about cleaning oneself from dirt - it also freed one from spiritual impurities.

Ancient Technology

The School of Athens
Much of modern science was known in ancient times. Robots and computers were a reality long before the 1940´s. The early Bronze Age inhabitants of the Levant used computers in stone, the Greeks in the 2nd century BC invented an analogue computer known as the Antikythera mechanism. An ancient Hindu book gives detailed instructions for the construction of an aircraft –ages before the Wright brothers. Where did such knowledge come from?

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article