The Oldest Stonehenge? continued 

    Three alleys of stones lie off the central shape, looking like arms reaching to the North, South and Southeast.  The alleys are two to ten meters wide, with additional stones lying in their path.  These "arms" are important, since the stones with apertures in them lie only on the alleys. 

The North and South arms bend at the end to the West.  "The North alley is 172 meters long, turning West for another 40 meters.  It holds 71 main stones, 43 with apertures.  The South alley stretches 160 meters, turning west for 40 meters.  It holds 69 main stones, 27 with apertures.  The one going southeast stretches 20 meters, with three main stones inside the alley."

Though the exteriors of the stones are rough and lichen covered, the holes are still polished and finely cut, measuring between 5-7 cm in diameter.   And these apertures are the key to the entire site. They are actually very accurate telescopes that point to sunrises and sunsets at specific times of the year.  Lying only in stones on the arms of the complex, each points to a different point on the horizon.  

Herouni's team measured each one and looked for clues of how they might have been used.  "The eye-holes measure 7 to ten centimeters diameter at the surface, then funnel down to 5 centimeters in diameter before opening up again on the other side.  The stones themselves resemble animal shapes, but they are rough cut, nothing looks refined or interesting.  But every one of  the apertures are polished on the inside.  When we took our instruments and looked at the azimuths through them, we found they were very accurate."  

How accurate?  Herouni sketches out a schematic of England's Stonehenge, pointing to two inner circles inside the mammoth stones most people think as the monument itself.  "Those huge 'doors' that everyone thinks is Stonehenge are nothing without these smaller stones in the middle," Herouni says as he points to a circle of lower stones on his drawing.  "These are the sight stones for the complex.  You stood behind them, then you placed a pole in one of these holes in the ground between them and the door ways.  That's the only way you could spot something in the sky.  There are many of these stones and holes, so Hawkins thinks the astronomers rotated around the circle to keep up with the moving sun and moon."

The stones at Sissian are completely different.  "Of all the henges discovered, none have apertures.  None.  And the apertures are so cleanly cut, they pinpoint very small spots in the sky.  At Stonehenge your field of vision is much larger, the door ways are about 70 centimeters wide.  But at Sissian, they are only 5 centimeters diameter.  You can pinpoint a spot within a spot.  It is extremely accurate.  Even more so when you think they might have made cornices from clay or wood and placed them inside the apertures.  It would have made the telescopes amazingly accurate for that time.  Even for today."

Wafer thin obsidian glass uncovered at the site led some to suggest that an optical insert may have been placed inside the  holes for magnification.  "Perhaps," says Herouni, "but no one has uncovered anything like an insert, so it remains to be seen.  I did find a piece of obsidian that had been ground to a sharp point at one end.  It looks to me it was used to etch with. What, we never found out."

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