Elephant Tomb Discovered in Spain May Have Been a Temple to the God Mithras
The Elephant's Tomb in Seville, Spain, so named because of an elephant-shaped statue found inside, may have been used to worship the God Mithras, archaeologists say.
The tomb is located in the Roman necropolis of Carmona, which contains a collection of funeral structures dating back to the 1 st century BC. The origin and function of the tomb has been a matter of debate for some time. However, new research conducted by the University of Pablo de Olavide in Seville has revealed that the site was not always used for burials. The original structure of the building had a window through which the sun shone through directly in the equinoxes suggesting that it was a temple of Mithraism, an unofficial religion in the Roman Empire.
"From our analysis of the window, we have deduced that it was positioned so that the rays of the sun reached the centre of the chamber during the equinoxes, in the spring and autumn, three hours after sunrise" explains Inmaculada Carrasco, one of the authors of the study.
The researchers have suggested that during the equinoxes, the statue of Mithras slaying the bull (which has been lost), would have been illuminated. Another surprising finding was that as the shone through the window during the spring equinox, the constellation of Taurus rose to the East and Scorpio was hidden to the West. During the autumn equinox the opposite occurred. Taurus and Scorpio were both of special significance to the Mithraics.
The study highlights the fact that our ancient ancestors held advanced knowledge of the heavenly bodies, something which continues to perplex scientists considering the supposed lack of technology in which to observe and measure celestial phenomena.