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Paper: The “Madonna di Loreto” Bronze Age Sanctuary and its Stone Calendar
Volume: 409, Cosmology Across Cultures
Page: 375
Authors: Tunzi, A.; Zupone, M.L.; Antonello, E.; Polcaro, V.F.; Ruggieri, F.
Abstract: The “Madonna di Loreto” (Trinitapoli, Puglia) site is the largest Bronze Age sanctuary presently known in Italy. Inside its area, several hypogeal structures excavated in the calcareous rock and devoted to ritual use were found. The most impressive manifestation of the cult is however a set of more than 1000 circular holes, aligned in rows and covering the whole sacred area. The holes were excavated during many centuries, following a rigid plan and taking into account specific celestial points. The archaeoastronomical study of the rows revealed three main alignments: that with the highest frequency, i.e. with the highest number of holes, is along the meridian, thus referring to astronomical phenomena with a daily periodicity; that with an intermediate frequency to a phenomenon with annual periodicity (the azimuth of the sunrise on a peculiar day, near to the summer solstice), and that with the lowest frequency to the South major lunistice, a phenomenon with a long term (18.6 years) periodicity. This agreement has a very high statistical significance and it allows us to interpret the hole rows as elements of a complex calendric system with a ritual character.
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