[7/8/17] Ancient stone monuments may have been used for mysterious night-time ceremonies, archaeologists believe, after finding that some rock carvings only appear in moonlight.
Traditionally Neolithic structures were believed to align with the movements of the Sun, with the huge Wiltshire circle of Stonehenge lining up perfectly with the summer solstice.
But a new investigation of the stone age engraved panel Hendraburnick Quoit in Cornwall by Dr Andy Jones, found nearly 10 times the number of markings when viewed in moonlight or very low sunlight from the south east.
They also discovered that pieces of quartz had been deliberately smashed up around the site which would have glowed in the dark under moonlight, or firelight, creating a gentle luminescence.
Dr Jones, of the Cornwall Archaeological Unit said: “I think the new marks show that this site was used at night and it is likely that other megalithic sites were as well.
“We were aware there were some cup and ring marks on the rocks but we were there on a sunny afternoon and noticed it was casting shadows on others which nobody had seen before.
“When we went out to some imaging at night, when the camera flashed we suddenly saw more and more art, which suggested that it was meant to be seen at night and in the moonlight.
“Then when you think about the quartz smashed around, which would have caused flashes and luminescence, suddenly you see that these images would have emerged out of the dark.
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“Stonehenge does have markings, and I think that many more would be found at sites across the country if people were to look at them in different light.”