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The mountain repelling the sun

Léo DUBAL/ rchleo@bluewin.ch
Bernard LACHAL/lachal@sc2a.unige.ch
Dario SEGLIE / cesmap@cesmap.it

The invention of the 365 ¼ day calendar probably coincides with the origin of the scientific way of thinking: it should indeed have significantly facilitated the discovery of the "primal causality", i.e. the recognition of biological fatherhood. The invention of the solar calendar is relatively recent, dating only from 5'200 BP. On December 21st 1969 Michael J. O’Kelly first interpreted a trace, in the corridor of the megalithic monument of Newgrange, of the search of a "zero of time", in order to count the number of the days of the solar year.

A cultural activity of this kind surpassed the insular context, quite fortuitous, of this discovery. According to our observations during the 1998 winter solstice we assume that two elevated sites of rupestrian art decorated with kinds of sight-line or "alidad" - to be further evidence of this quest.

1) The site called « La Gardette », is an erosion resistant outcropping of gneiss located on an hilltop at 835m, in Hte Cèzarenque (near Aujac, in the Cevennes, France: N 44°21'40", E 4°01'34"). Its tilt of 25° faces S-E, i.e.; 135°N, and its engraved surface (4m x 4m) contains some thirty male anthropomorphs. At dawn of the winter solstice, the lighting of the engravings from below creates the illusion of inversion of relief (see Fig. 1), and the projected shadow of a plumb-line confirms the deliberate orientation of the engraving's axis.

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Fig.1: Engraved anthropomorph, shadow of a plumb-line and fracture
parallel to the tilt. Site of La Gardette, Dec. 25 1998, at 9:00 a.m..


While rising at dawn of the winter solstice, the solar orb follows closely the crest of "La Loubière", whose summit (881 m) overlooks by 2,4° the horizon seen from La Gardette (see Fig 2). The sun half-points out above the horizon-line at 8:19 local time (7:35 solar time), and reach the top of the hill an hour later.

 

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Fig. 2: The track of the rising sun at winter solstice nowadays ( indicated in solar time with 6’ intervalles),
and in ancient times (continuous line). Upper part: La Loubière (L), seen from La Gardette. Lower part:
La Comba Fossata (CF), Pan di Zuccaro (PdZ) & Monte Craviale (MtC), seen from La Peira Eicrita.

 

2) The site called « La Peira Eicrita di San Germano Chisone », is a gneiss monolith with a nearly flat engraved area of 130 x 75 cm, located on a salient of La Comba Farina in the Cotiennes Alps (N 44° 53' 20" / E 7°14' 08"). The petroglyphs form a monumental composition: 3 solar symbols (circular with a central dot), connected to an eye-like sign are recognisable, converging on a reticule, several little cups, on the side, an worshipper, and, particularly striking (but probably of later incision), a swastika oriented along the cardinal points. One of the solar symbols is oriented toward 135°N (see Fig.3).

Seen from La Peira Eicrita, the solar orb during its rise follows the crest of La Comba Fossate whose summit (650m) overlooks the horizon by 12°. In the background on the left, see Fig. 2, one can distinguish the "Sugar loaf" (721m) and the Mt Craviate (787m).

 

Fig.3 La Peira Eicrita, on Dec. 21 1998, at 8:45am with, in the foreground ,
the solar symbol whose axis is oriented toward 135°N

 

Seen from La Peira Eicrita, the solar orb during its rise follows the crest of La Comba Fossate whose summit (650m) overlooks the horizon by 12°. In the background on the left, see Fig. 2, one can distinguish the "Sugar loaf" (721m) and the Mt Craviate (787m).

The sun cannot be seen on the horizon-line at 8:09 local time (7:40 solar time), but must first rise by 4°30' over the horizon to reach at 8:45 local time the crest of La Comba Fossata. 3000 years ago it had even to rise by 6.5° over the horizon to be seen.

We conclude that the orientation of the engravings at La Gardette and at La Peira Eicrita reveal within neolithic humanity a sense of observation which merits the term scientific. On the other hand, the siting of those astronomical observatories is also marked by a magical way of thinking: the presentation suggests that the "solstitial reversal" takes place at those very sites: the mountain repelling the sun.