(AUSTRALIA) Light Dawns On Aboriginal Find

IS it just a pile of plain paddock rocks placed in a semicircle, or proof Aborigines were the world's first astronomers?

After years of meticulous examination, some of Australia's most distinguished astrophysicists are starting to believe it's the latter - a discovery that could turn history and cultural books upside down and render England's famous Stonehenge an also-ran.

Dubbed Wurdi Youang, the strange stone arrangement was found on a property near Mt Rothwell, 80km west of Melbourne, its two points set in perfect alignment with the setting sun on a mid-summer's day.

CSIRO professors believe the ancient Aboriginal sundial could be more than 10,000 years old, an estimate that would have it pre-date the famous neolithic Stonehenge and the only remaining ancient wonder of the world, the Egyptian Pyramids.

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Understandably, its exact location is a closely guarded secret, although its popularity with the local rabbit community is apparent.

CSIRO astrophysicist Professor Ray Norris said the precise alignment of the stones proved beyond a doubt it was constructed to map the movements of the sun, in order to track the seasons.

"What we have found with this stone arrangement, which is a circle of about 50m across, is it's aligned east-west and what is really interesting is that if you stand at the top and look through this particular gap over the stones, you look at the exact position of where the sun sets on summer and winter solstices and at the spring and autumn equinoxes," Prof Norris said.

"This can't be done by guesswork. It required very careful measurements.

"If it goes back, let's say, 10,000 years, that predates the Egyptians, the Pyramids, Stonehenge, all that stuff. So, that would indeed make them the world's first astronomers."

Head of Sydney University's Koori Studies, Janet Mooney, said the discovery would be an inspiration for young Aborigines and help address what she claims is a fundamental oversight of the skill of the ancient race.

"This discovery has huge significance for understanding the amazing ability of this culture that is maligned," she said.

"It's got the potential to change the attitudes of kids in the classrooms."

SOURCE: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/light-dawns-on-aboriginal-fi...