“…There, on a windswept plain in England about eighty miles southwest of London, circles of imposing megaliths form the most important prehistoric monument in the whole of Britain… The multitudes that visit the site find that only some of the megaliths still remain standing, while others have collapsed to the ground or are somehow gone from the site. But scholars and researchers have been able to figure out the configuration of the circles-within-circles (which highlights the still-standing megaliths) and observe the wholes indicating where two other circles – of stones or perhaps wooden pegs – had once existed, in earlier phases of Stonehenge.
“…All the studies conclude that the alignments (of Stonehenge’s construction) served astronomical purposes, they were first oriented circa 2900 B.C., (give or take a century or so) to sunrise on the summer solstice day; and realigned circa 2000 B.C. and then again circa 1550 B.C. toward sunrise on summer solstice day in those times.
“…One of the shortest yet most ferocious recent wars in the Middle East was the Six Day War of 1967, when the hemmed-in and besieged Israeli army defeated the armies of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria and captured the Sinai peninsula, the West Bank of the Jordan River, and the Golan Heights. In the years that followed Israeli archaeologists conducted extensive archaeological surveys and excavations in all those areas, bringing to light settlements from nearly Neolithic times through biblical times to Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods. Yet nowhere was the surprise greater than on the sparsely inhabited and mostly empty plateau called the Golan Heights.
“…Virtually in the middle of nowhere, on the windswept plain (that had been used by the Israeli army for artillery practice), piles of stones arranged in circles turned out – when viewed from the air – to be a Near Eastern “Stonehenge.”
Byzantine Copper Coins found in the Golan Heights in the excavations.
A Near Eastern “Stonehenge.”
“…Apart from its unique shape, this is by far one of the largest single stone structure in western Asia, so large in fact that it can be seen from space by Earth-orbiting spacecraft.
“…Engineers who have studied the site estimated that, even in its present condition, it contains more than 125,000 cubic feet of stones weighing an aggregate of close to 45,000 tons. They estimated that it would have taken one hundred workmen at least six years to create this monument – collect the basalt stones, transport them to the site, place them according to a preconceived architectural plan, and raise the walls (undoubtedly taller than the now-visible remains) to form the cohesive complex structure.
“…All of which raises the questions, by whom was this structure built, when, and for what?
After more discoveries about the orientation of the structure by the Israeli archaeologists, there were indications:
“…that the place was indeed, as Stonehenge in Britain, built to serve as an astronomical observatory (and primarily to determine the solstices) is reinforced by the existence of such observatories elsewhere – structures that are even more similar to the one on the Golan, for they feature not only concentric circles, but also the radial walls connecting the circles. What is amazing is that those similar structures are at ancient sites all the way on the other side of the world in the Americas.
“…One is the Mayan site Chichen Itza in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, nicknamed the Caracol (“Snail”) on account of the winding stairs inside the observatory’s tower. Another is the circular observatory atop the promontory of Sacsahuaman in Peru that overlooks the Inca capital Cuzco; there as at Chichen Itza, there was probably a lookout tower; its foundations reveal the layout and astronomical alignments of the structure and clearly show the concentric circles and connecting radials.
“…Such similarities were reason enough for the Israeli scientists to call in Dr. Anthony Aveni of the USA, an internationally acclaimed authority on ancient astronomies, especially those of the pre-Columbian civilizations of the Americas. His task was not only to confirm the astronomical orientations underlying the design of the Golan site, but also to help determine its age – and thus, in addition to the For What question, also answer the question When.
El Caracol, Chichen Itza.
More studies by Arthur Posnansky and Rolf Muller showed:
“…that in order to determine exactly the angle of Earth’s tilt – which indicates, when elevation and geographic position are taken into account, the structure’s age – it is essential to determine precisely where north is. It is thus undoubtedly significant that in the case of the Golan site, the researchers there found that the dominant and on clear days visible peak of Mount Hermon lies precisely north of the structure’s center. Dr. Aveni and his Israeli colleagues, Yonathan Mizrachi and Mattanyah Zohar, were thus able to determine that the site was so oriented as to enable an observer standing in its center and following a sight line through the center of the northeastern gateway, to see the Sun rise there on solstice day on a June dawn at about 3000 B.C.!
“…By 2000 B.C., the scientists concluded, the Sun would have appeared to a similar observer noticeably off-center, but probably still within the gateway. Five hundred years later, the structure had lost its value as a precise astronomical observatory. It was, then, sometimes between 1500 and 1200 B.C. – as confirmed by carbon dating on small artifacts recovered there – that the central stone heap was enlarged to form a cairn – a stone mound under which a cavity has been dug out, probably to serve as a burial chamber.
“…Uncannily, these phased dates are virtually identical to the dates assigned to the three phases of Stonehenge.
“…There was no coffin and no body, nor any other human or animal remains (in the presumed burial chamber at Golan’s structure) in either the chamber or antechamber. But the archaeologists did find, as a result of meticulous sifting of the soil, a few gold earrings, several beads made of carnelian semiprecious stone, flint blades, bronze arrowheads, and ceramic shards. They therefore concluded that indeed it was a burial chamber, but one that had been looted, probably in antiquity…
“…The finds have been dated to the period known as Late Bronze Age, which extended from about 1500 to 1200 B.C. That was the time frame of the Exodus of the Children of Israel to Egypt under the leadership of Moses, and the conquest of the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. Of the twelve tribes, the tribes of Reuben and Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh were alloted parts of Transjordan, from the River Arnon in the south of the foothills of Mount Hermon in the north. Those domains included the mountain range at Gilad east of the Jordan River and the plateau that is now the Golan. It was therefore perhaps unavoidable that Israeli researchers turned to the Bible for an answer to the question: Who?
“…According to the books of Numbers and Joshua, the northern part of the Gilead mountains was ruled by a king called Og from his capital of Basham… Og and all his men took the field against the Children of Israel… Winning the battle, the Israelites captured sixty towns that were “fortified with high walls and gates and barriers, apart from a great number of unwalled towns.” The enigmatic Golan site – was thus within the capabilities of the kingdoms in the time of King Og.
“…Og, according to the Bible, was a big and stout man: “His iron bedstead is nine cubits long and four cubits wide” (equivalent to over thirteen feet and six feet, respectively). This giant size, the Bible hints, was due to his being a descendant of the Repha’im, a giant-like race of demigods who had once dwelt in that land. (Other giantlike descendants of the Repha’im including Goliath, are mentioned in the Bible as siding with the Phillistines at the time of David).
David and Goliath
David and Goliath
“…The Biblical assertions that the area had once been the domain of the Repha’im and that Og was descended of them are quite intriguing, because we find the Repha’im and their offspring mentioned in Canaanite myths and epic tales. The texts, which clearly place the divine and semidivine actions and events in the area we are dealing with here, were written on clay tablets discovered in the 1930s at a coastal site in northern Syria whose ancient name was Ugarit. The texts describe a group of deities whose father was El (“God, the Lofty One”) and whose affairs centered on El’s son Ba’al (“the Lord”) and his sister Anat (“She who answers”).
“…Several of the discovered texts deal with such involvement on the part of the trio…
“…Another tale, The Legend of King Keret… concerns the claim to immortality by Keret because of his divine descent, instead he falls ill, and his sons wonder aloud: “How could an offspring of El, the Merciful One, die? Shall a divine die?” Foreseeing the seemingly incredible death of a demigod, the sons envision not only the Peak of Zaphon, but also the Circuit of Broad Span lamenting for Keret:
For thee, father,
shall weep Zaphon, the Mount of Ba’al.
The sacred circuit, the mighty circuit, the circuit of broad span,
[for thee] shall lament.
“…There is here, then, a reference to two highly venerated places that shall mourn the death of the demigod: Mount Zaphon, the Mount of Ba’al – and a renown sacred circular structure – “the sacred circuit, the mighty circuit, the circuit of broad span.” If Mount Zaphon, the “Mount of the North,” was Mount Hermon, which lies precisely north of the Golan site, was then the Sacred Circuit the enigmatic Golan site?
“…But being only a demigod, Keret in the end did die. Was he then the one buried in the tomb within “the sacred circuit, the mighty circuit, the circuit of broad span?” Though the Canaanite texts give no chronological hint, it is evident that they relate events from the Bronze Age – a time frame that could well fit the date of the artifacts discovered in the Golan site’s tomb.
“…Whether or not any of those legendary rulers ended up being buried at the Golan site, we may never know for sure… archaeologists, they are, however, certain ( based on structural features and various dating techniques) that the construction of the “henge” – concentric walls of what we might dub Star Stones because of the astronomical function – preceded by 1,000 to 1,500 years, the addition of the cairn and its burial chambers.
“…As at Stonehenge and other megalithic sites, so too regarding the Golan site, the enigma of who built them is only intensified by establishing their age an determining that an advanced knowledge of astronomy underlay their orientations. Unless they were the divine beings themselves, who was there capable of the feat – circa 3000 B.C. in the case of the Golan site?
“…In 3000 B.C. there was in western Asia only one civilization high enough, sophisticated enough, and with an extraordinary astronomical knowledge, capable of planning, orienting astronomically, and carrying out the kind of major structures here considered: the the Sumerian civilization… accounted for virtually all the “firsts” of what we deem essential to a high civilization… Their calendar, still in use as the Jewish calendar, was inaugurated in a city called Nippur in 3760 B.C. – embracing all the sophisticated knowledge required for the structures we are discussing.
“…It was a civilization that preceded that of Egypt, Indus Valley, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Elamites, Cannanites, and Phoenicians…
“…Did the Sumerians venture as far as the Golan Heights? Undoubtedly, for their kings and their merchants went westward toward the Mediterranean Sea… the Persian Gulf… When Ur became their capital their merchants were familiar in all parts of the Near East…
Mr. Sitchin at this point recounts the legend of King Gilgamesh: Gilgamesh: The King Who Refused to Die.
“…One of the most recounted episodes in the King’s adventures has been the incident in which he encountered two ferocious lions, fought them off, and killed them with his bare hands… it was a totally unexpected discovery to find at a site near the concentric circles, a stone slab with such a depiction.
“…While the textual references and the depiction on the stone slab do not constitute conclusive evidence that Gilgamesh reached the site on his journey to the Cedar Mountains of Lebanon, there is one more intriguing clue to be considered. After the site was identified from the air, the Israeli archaeologists discovered that it was marked on (captured) Syrian army maps by the name Rugum el-Hiri – a most puzzling name, for it meant in Arabic “Stone heap of the bobcat.”
“…The explanation for the puzzling name, we suggest, may well lie in the Epic of Gilgamesh, reflecting a memory of the King Who Fought the Lions.
“…And we shall see, that is just the beginning of intricate and intertwined associations.