You’re probably pretty familiar with Stonehenge in the UK, a group of several-thousand-year-old stones built and arranged for unknown reasons. But did you know there’s a similar group of stones in the Amazon?
Yep, back in 2006, scientists discovered a group of 127 granite blocks arranged in a circle, some up to 3 meters (9 feet) tall, in the state of Amapá along the Rego Grande waterway in Brazil. These stones are thought to have been built 500 to 2,000 years ago, making them much younger than the UK’s Stonehenge, which is estimated to be between 3,600 and 5,000 years old.
Writing in the New York Times, Simon Romero spoke to one of the people who made the discovery, Lailson Camelo da Silva. “I had no idea that I was discovering the Amazon’s own Stonehenge,” he said. “It makes me wonder: What other secrets about our past are still hidden in Brazil’s jungles?”
Like the original Stonehenge, the purpose of this one isn’t clear. It was likely built by indigenous peoples, and may have been used for a ceremony or burial, or even for astronomical purposes.
According to the discoverers in 2006, the stones appear to be positioned to pinpoint the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, when the Sun is lowest in the sky. When this occurs, the shadows of one of the stones is no longer visible. The arrangement of the stones may have also helped determine the phases of the Moon and crop cycles.
There is still some contention as to what the purpose of this site was exactly, and whether it can actually be called a “Stonehenge”. But it’s pretty interesting nonetheless.
(H/T: New York Times)