Gozek Circle, Germany – overview
The Gozek Circle is a Neolithic structure in Gozek, Germany, an ancient observatory made of earth, rubble, and logs.
The oldest Gozek Circle Observatory
In the center of Europe there is a mysterious place that stirs the imagination of many inquisitive minds of the planet. This amazing place is located near the town of Gozek, Germany. According to scientists, the ancient building is up to 7000 years old and it served our ancestors in the Neolithic and Bronze Age, as a celestial observatory.
The unique round building was first noticed from an airplane by chance in 1991. Researchers flying over the wheat field saw a vague circular shape, and that’s when the unraveling of the Gozek Circle began. Delegations of scientists from different parts of the world came to the place of discovery, excavations were actively carried out, ancient documentation from the archives of local libraries was raised.
The diameter of the mysterious circle is 75 meters. The structure consists of four concentric rings, each circle of which is fenced with earth embankments with ditches and paling made of huge logs, up to 3 meters high. Archaeologists have counted three gates looking in different directions: north, southeast and southwest.
The local landmark was restored by experienced architects. It took 1,675 logs of oak, several machines of small stone to reinforce the oak piles and a considerable seven months of laborious work associated not only with the processing and installation of heavy stakes, but also with excavation work to outline the circles.
Local residents, as well as foreign tourists in Gozek can observe in the short days of the year an amazing optical spectacle – at dawn, the first rays of the sun, penetrating the section of the narrow gate, create a thin strip of light on the surface of the earth.
Such unique phenomena were contemplated by the ancient settlers of the present Gozek town. All these facts indicate that this building is a very old observatory of distant human ancestors, who were already conducting astronomical observations of the celestial bodies.
Gozek, Burgenlandkreis district, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.
Scientists have determined that the then inhabitants of the present town of Gozek, came to these lands 500 years before the construction of the mysterious structure. Engaged mainly in the domestication of animals and growing crops, the local farmers of those times, needed a solar observatory, so as to know the change of the season and calculate the time of sowing.
Judging from archaeological excavations, in those distant and wild times, people believed in pagan gods, and to placate them, for an abundant harvest or just from fear of the then unknown phenomena of nature, held sacrifices. Apparently, the Gozek circle was also used for mystical cult rituals, as traces of fires and human and animal remains have been found on its constructions.
A few years earlier, at a distance of 25 kilometers from Gozek, a similar structure was found, but smaller and much younger than the Gozek circle. On an elevated site, in the center of the structure, archaeologists found a bizarre green disk. It is interesting that the angle between the southern gate of the Gozek circle and the bronze disk is exactly 100 degrees. The bronze disk, 32 centimetres in diameter with gold decorations of the sun, the moon and the stars, is dated 1600 B.C. and is one of the many ancient artefacts found which were used to observe the celestial bodies.
There are more than two hundred similar circular ditches in Europe itself, but the structure near the town of Gozek, is considered one of the oldest, well-preserved historical structures.
Gozek Circle – the oldest observatory in the world
On our planet there are many amazing places, which attract and frighten with their mystery. Some secrets of the places, covered with legends, have not been solved by scientists yet, but science does not stand still, and the purpose of unusual constructions ceases to be a mystery.
An unusual object, which has attracted the interest of scientists
In Germany, there is a unique artifact that has forced researchers to break their heads, but now it has been studied and fully restored. 27 years ago, while surveying the area from an airplane in Gozek, a municipality in Burgenladkreis, Saxony-Anhalt, pilots discovered strange circles in a giant wheat field, whose silhouette interested archaeologists extremely, who immediately began excavations.
The structure, named after a small town, consists of ditches made of gravel and earth. Their diameter does not exceed 75 meters. In addition, there are wooden palisades on the territory of Gozek circle, and the gates to them are located in the north, south-east and south-west. And the last two coincide with the places of sunset and sunrise during the winter solstice, and on certain days rays of sunlight pass through them. The accuracy of this calculation confirms the idea that our ancestors had a good knowledge of astronomy.
The oldest observatory on the planet
The Gozek circle consists of four rings, and each of them is fenced with an earth embankment with a deep ditch and a paling made of powerful logs about three meters high. A mound stood in the very center of the man-made structure. After the study of the ceramic fragments found in the vicinity of the historical monument the date of the appearance of the structure was set at 4900 B.C.
It is believed that the mysterious structure served our ancestors, who lived in the Neolithic and Bronze Age, as a primitive celestial observatory. Ancient scientists made observations and drew up lunar calendars here. It seems unbelievable, but our ancestors knew astronomy very well, and thanks to that they were able to build a unique monument.
And the main mystery of Gozek Circle is how primitive people built the object, recognized as the oldest observatory in the world, with high precision.
Mysterious place where sacrifices were made
Since human bones and animal remains have been found inside the site, researchers have put forward another theory that blood sacrifices and mystical rituals were performed here. The cult of the sun was widespread in Europe, and people who were afraid of the unknown phenomena of nature tried to placate the sun in this way.
Later the Gozek circle was abandoned for unknown reasons. And later residents dug a deep protective ditch around the old ditches.
Reconstruction of the site
Unfortunately, time has left its mark on the Neolithic structure, and it had to be reconstructed. The Gozek circle in Germany was restored by archaeologists who had been working painstakingly for a year. They installed and reinforced more than 1,600 pre-finished oak logs. Earthworks were carried out to shape the archaeological monument in the clearest possible way. And now the most ancient structure has regained its original appearance.
An archaeological monument, the first of its kind
It should be noted that the Gozek Circle, the photos of which make us look at the world around us in a different way, is not the only one of its kind. On the territory of Germany, Croatia and Austria more than 250 ancient constructions were found, but only every tenth of them has been studied by scientists. Researchers believe that it was the celestial observatory in Gozek, which is considered the oldest in the world, that initiated the construction of structures designed to observe the luminaries in Europe.
And the legendary Stonehenge in Britain is the ultimate in this chain.
Observing the winter solstice
A veritable temple of the sun, girded by two rings of wooden palisade almost three meters high, gathers tourists and astronomy enthusiasts from all over the country every year. People come to Gozek Circle (address: 06667, municipality of Gozek, Burgenlandkreis district, state of Saxony-Anhalt, Weissenfels district) to observe the winter solstice. On the shortest day of the year, December 21, visitors will be able to contemplate a spectacular optical phenomenon – the first rays of the sun penetrate a narrow section of the gate, creating a thin strip of light on the ground.
This is exactly the phenomenon observed by our ancestors who lived on the territory of Gozek. The first farmers who settled here even before Christ, studied the celestial luminaries, in order to know exactly the change of seasons and correctly calculate the time of sowing crops.
Surprisingly, even in ancient times, people sought to gain knowledge about the world around them and about everything unexplored. They studied the cosmic bodies, tracked the time, and no one can tell what pushed them to such research.
Gozek Circle, Germany – overview
The Gozek Circle is an unusual Neolithic structure in Gozek (Burgenlandkreis county, Saxony-Anhalt state). The Gozek Circle was discovered accidentally in 1991, when surveying the area from an airplane, it was then that pilots noticed a mysterious shape in the wheat field. Unfortunately, time has riddled the preservation of the ancient structure, but reconstruction returned it to its original appearance.
The Gozek circle, consisting of two log circles with three gates in clearly measured places, was ringed by a small moat. The sun’s rays penetrate through these gates on certain days, which confirms scientists’ theory: this Neolithic structure is one of the oldest observatories in the world.
The excavations were carried out by experts from the University of Halle-Wittenberg in 2002. The researchers were able to establish that the southern passages accurately mark the days of summer and winter solstice. The accuracy and quality of the calculation of the circle indicate that the ancient creators of the “celestial calendar” had a pretty good knowledge of astronomy, but its exact use is an inexhaustible source of the most heated debate.
It is estimated that the observatory was built in 4900 BC and was most likely the first of its kind. In ancient Europe was widespread “solar cult”, so the structure was used in a special ritual, possibly with human sacrifice. During the initial study of the Gozek Circle, archaeologists recovered several human bones, among which was a decapitated skeleton.
It is worth noting that 25 km from Gozek a disc was found on which was depicted one of the world’s oldest views of our solar system. In the place where it was found there was a similar ring-shaped structure, which is 14-15 centuries younger than the Gozek Circle. There is no doubt that the cosmological scheme depicted on the disk is the result of centuries of observations of the sky, the basis of which was laid in the Gozek Circle.
It is also surprising that in such dark times, by our standards, people sought to gain knowledge about the structure of the universe beyond the already unexplored Earth. But who or what could lead people to such reflections is a question to which no one will give an answer.
You may be interested in: Arkaim – the ruins of an ancient and mysterious city, Stonehenge – a legendary megalithic structure.
The structure, later named Gozek Circle, was found in 1991, completely by accident, during the study of the area from an airplane. While flying over a field of wheat, the researchers noticed circular “signs”, quite noticeable. Detailed excavations did not begin until 2002, due to some administrative obstacles. Archaeologists at the University of Halle-Wittenberg, already familiar with similar structures called rondelas, checked the location of the circles and were convinced that the two southern entrances were tied to the date and time of sunrise and sunset during the winter solstice. Using radiocarbon analysis, shards of pottery found near the circle and the linear patterns on it established that the Gozek circle was created during the heyday of the lapel pottery culture, also called Danube or Middle Danube. This Neolithic culture existed about 7,000 years ago, hence the Gozek circle is 2,000 years older than the more famous Stonehenge in England. The Gozek Circle is the most important find of the roughly 250 such prehistoric structures found in Germany, Austria and Croatia. The Gozek circle consists of a series of concentric ditches, with a gap in the middle. The circles are rather large, up to 75 m in diameter. The elements of the whole structure are also a pair of outer palisade rings with gates. Excavations have established that originally Gozek circle consisted of four concentric circles, a barrow, ditch and two wooden palisades with three gates directed to the south-east, south-west and north. When the winter solstice came, the people in the center of the circle observed sunrise and sunset through the south-eastern and south-western gates respectively.
An ancient observatory
The Gozek circle is almost in the center of Europe – where Neolithic agricultural cultures originated. Not all the land in this area was fertile, and in order to survive, it was necessary to know exactly the “calendar of nature”. The Gozek circle combined the functions not only of the simplest observatory but also of a cult place where mysterious rites were performed. Almost all archaeologists are sure that Gozek circle was intended for the simplest astronomical observations. More precisely, in compiling the lunar calendar, observing the movement of the sun and stars, calculating the time for sowing and harvesting crops, as well as specifying the days of religious festivals, of which nothing is known. If this is indeed true (and there is no clear certainty about it after all), then the Gozek Circle is the oldest solar observatory found to this day. The main difference of the Gozek circle from similar constructions is that it is a large, and very ancient, but very accurate instrument that allows you to calculate and observe the solstice for several days from several points at once. There are also several other unanswered questions. First, a decapitated skeleton was found near the southeast gate. If this is the result of a sacrifice or a special kind of burial (the flesh was carefully separated from the bones with scrapers), then a new page opens in the history of Neolithic peoples. Secondly, no traces of fire, destruction or battle were found. Apparently, the culture that had built the circle had gone, giving way to a new culture. This new culture did not bring anything new to the construction of the circle, limiting itself to maintaining it for another two hundred years, until about 4700 BC, building a protective moat around the old ditches and reinforcing the palisades of thick logs. They probably knew the reason why their predecessors had abandoned the circle and tried to take precautions. Going towards the public, archaeologists reconstructed the wooden palisade according to the view of modern science. All work on the restoration of the wooden palisade was carried out exclusively with the help of hand carpentry tools – to make it more similar to the original ancient structure. For visitors Gozek circle was opened on December 21, 2005 – the day of winter solstice.
Location : the center of Germany. Administrative affiliation : Municipality of Gozek, Burgenlandkreis district, state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Status : Historic monument. Construction : about 4900 BC.
Total excavated area : 30×50 m. Diameter of ditches : 75 m. Diameter of palisade rings : 56 and 49 m. Height of the palisades : 2,5 m. Distance : 65 km south-west of Leipzig.
Climate and weather
In transition from maritime to continental. Average January temperature : -0.5°C. Average July temperature : +17.5°C. Average annual rainfall: 1,600 mm. Relative humidity : 70%.
Places of interest:
20 km north-west of the Gozek Circle is the site of a unique artifact – the Nebra bronze disk, 30 cm in diameter and aquamarine in color, with gold inlays depicting the sun, moon and 32 stars, including the Pleiades cluster. The disk of Nebra was probably created around the 17th century B.C. by the Uneti people who used it to measure the angle between the sunrise and sunset during the solstices. If so, the Nebray disk is the oldest portable device for such measurements.
The late discovery of the Gozek circle – as well as other ring structures of Western and Central Europe – is due to the fact that they have survived only as silhouettes and could be identified only by aerial observation and by comparing very accurate aerial photographs and geophysical photo-images. In addition, the circles lie in the middle of fields cultivated over thousands of years, and therefore have been almost completely destroyed.
Besides scientific, there are also rather exotic versions offered by amateur researchers. In their opinion, the Gozek circle could be a “beacon” for spaceships and with its help stored information about visits to Earth by extraterrestrial beings.
To date, Western European archaeologists have investigated only a tenth of all the concentric circles found. This is due in part to the fact that most of the circles are on private land, whose owners are not very willing to provide it for excavations.
Consider the prehistoric circles from an airplane thanks to the fact that agricultural crops in these places grow unevenly – where densely, and where less often. Such marks are called cropmarks by archaeologists, but being on the ground, at a stone’s throw from them, it is almost impossible to see them.
It took 7 months of hard manual labor and 1,675 oak logs to reconstruct the Gozek circle, including the wooden palisades.