AncientPages.com - Enigmatic stone carvings that only appear in moonlight have been discovered around the huge Wiltshire circle of Stonehenge.
An examination of these strange rock carvings has led archaeologist to believe this was once a site where mysterious night-time ceremonies were held.
Many ancient structures are aligned with the Sun or Moon, and this is also what Dr. Andy Jones discovered while investigating the stone age engraved panel Hendraburnick Quoit in Cornwall.
The Summer Solstice at Stonehenge Image credit: Wenn
On the ancient stone panel, Dr. Jones, an archaeologist from the Cornwall Archaeological Unit found 10 times the number of markings when viewed in moonlight or very low sunlight from the south east.
Several Enigmatic Cup And Ring Marks
“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.
Marks on the rock came into view under a camera flash and would have lit up in moonlight, say experts . Image credit: Dr. Andy Jones
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.
More than 100 marks were eventually found on the rock. Image credit: Thomas Goskar
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,” Dr. Jones said.
Ancients Created Luminescence With Quartz Pieces
This site was important to our ancestors who must have performed some sort of ancient rituals there. At the site, there were also pieces of quartz that had been deliberately smashed up. Researchers think these quartz pieces glowed in the dark under moonlight, or firelight, creating a gentle luminescence.
Writing in the archaeology journal Time and Mine, and Dr. Jones and his colleague Thomas Goskar conlcude: “As in many cultures where darkness is associated with the supernatural and the heightening of senses, it is possible that some activities at Hendraburnick Quoit may have been undertaken at night.
Quartz has luminescent properties and reflects both moonlight and firelight.
Lanyon Quoit, a megalithic burial site from the Neolithic period, circa 4000 to 3000 BC, near Morvah on the Penwith peninsula of Cornwall.
Given that human eye perceives color and shade quite differently at night than by daylight and the art would have been visible in moonlit conditions, the smashed quartz at Hendraburnick could have been used as part of night time activity on the site in order to ‘release’ the luminescent properties of the quartz around the monument and ‘reveal’ the art in a particular way.
After the ritual, the broken pieces, once they had fallen on the ground, could have effectively formed a wider platform or arc which would have continued to glisten around it in the moonlight, and thereby added to the ‘aura’ of the site.”
What kind of night-ceremonies ancients performed is not clear.