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Archaeoastronomical Sites by Country 2024

Humans all across the world have been fascinated by the cosmos for tens of thousands of years. And while some might think the practice of astronomy and celestial observation is a modern one, there's plenty of evidence that ancient people watched the skies, too. Archaeological evidence reveals this fact in many sites around the world.

Mexico has the most documented archaeoastronomical sites, with 19. These include the temple of Dzibilchaltun, built to allow the sun to shine directly through one window and out another on the first day of spring. The United States is home to the second-highest number of sites, with 17, ranging from "America's Stonehenge" in New Hampshire to Ohio's Serpent Mound to numerous aspects of Native American life at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. The United Kingdom rounds out the top three, with the internationally famous Stonehenge leading the pack. This is just one of 11 documented sites, which also feature a prehistoric mound tomb that features a distinctive quartz stone that's lit by the sun on the summer solstice. India (10), Ireland (9), and Peru (7, including Machu Picchu) also have significant numbers of archaeoastronomical sites.

More than a dozen countries have just a single archaeoastronomical site. Russia, Turkey, Kenya, Colombia, Syria, and the Netherlands are all on this list. A handful more have just two or three. Noteworthy examples include Saudi Arabia's Kaaba, a stone building in the Islamic holy city of Mecca, and the striking ancient temple complex at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

It's vital to remember that this data only covers discovered, documented archaeoastronomical sites. It's entirely possible that substantial numbers of locations in nations with large numbers of sites may still be unknown. Likewise, it's possible that the many countries that have no documented sites may have one or more that have since been destroyed or haven't been revealed.

  • A zenith tube is a long vertical shaft carved into the ceiling of a cave or other structure, designed such that the light of the sun shines through the tube and illuminates the chamber below only on certain days, such as the Summer and Winter Solstices.

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Country
Number of Sites
Names & Details
Mexico19
Calakmul | Cantona | Cañada de la Virgen | Casas Grandes | Chichen Itza | Coba | Dzibilchaltun...
United States17
America's Stonehenge in New Hampshire | Anderson Mounds in Anderson, Indiana | Bighorn Medicine Wh...
United Kingdom11
Avebury | Ballochroy | Boscawen-Un — Winter Solstice sunrise out of the Lamorna Gap | Bryn Celli ...
India10
Brahmagiri | Hanamsagar | Udayagiri | Sun temples of Varanasi | Vijayanagar | Jantar Mantar | ...
Ireland9
Newgrange — Once a year, at the winter solstice, the rising sun shines directly along the long passa...
Peru7
Buena Vista | Chankillo | Cusco | Machu Picchu | Nazca Lines | Choquequirao | Ollantaytambo
Pakistan5
Lahore Fort | Mohenjo Daro | Taxila | Harrapa | Makli Graveyard
Germany5
Belchen System | Goseck circle | Glauberg | Magdalenenberg (disputed) | Pömmelte Circle Shrine
Egypt3
Abu Simbel — The axis of the temple was positioned by the ancient Egyptian architects in such a way ...
Spain3
Antequera Dolmens Site | Peña de los Enamorados | Dolmen of Menga
Australia3
Ngaut Ngaut — Oral tradition says these engravings represent lunar cycles. | Wurdi Youang — A stone...
Portugal3
Almendres Cromlech | Anta Grande do Zambujeiro | Dolmen of Cunha Baixa
Malta3
Megalithic Temples of Malta | Mnajdra | Tal-Qadi Temple
China2
Puyang tomb — Dated from 5000 BP, depicts a mosaic of constellations. | The Taosi Observatory — An ...
Indonesia2
Borobudur | Prambanan
Iran2
Persepolis | Naqsh-e Rustam
France2
Belchen System | Carnac stones
Italy2
Alatri | Nuraghe
Canada2
Petroforms of North America — Shapes and patterns made by lining up large rocks on the open ground m...
Guatemala2
Tikal | Uaxactun
Cambodia2
Angkor Wat | Phnom Bakheng — According to Jean Filliozat of the École Française, the center tower r...
Honduras2
Copán Ruinas | El Puente
Switzerland2
Belchen System | Columna Jovis
Brazil1
Parque Arqueológico do Solstício (called "Amazon Stonehenge") — An archaeological park located in Am...
Russia1
Arkaim
Turkey1
Göbekli Tepe
Kenya1
Namoratunga
Colombia1
El Infiernito, (Spanish for "Little hell") — A pre-Columbian Muisca site located in the outskirts of...
Saudi Arabia1
Kaaba — Has its corners and walls aligned or oriented towards risings and settings of celestial obje...
Syria1
Rujm el-Hiri — An ancient megalithic monument consisting of concentric circles of stone with a tumul...
Romania1
Sarmizegetusa Regia
Netherlands1
Kokino — Situated 1030 m above sea level on the Tatićev Kamen Summit near Kumanovo.
Sweden1
Ale's Stones
Bulgaria1
Magura Cave — Bronze Age "paintings of staggered black and white squares could have been used to cou...
Finland1
The so-called Giants' Churches (Finn. jätinkirkko) — Which are large (from c. 20 metres (66 ft) to o...
Palestine1
Tell es-Sultan — Also known as Tel Jericho, is the site of ancient and biblical Jericho and today a ...
Armenia1
Zorats Karer (aka Carahunge) — An archeological site claimed to have astronomical significance, alth...
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Which country has the most archaeoastronomical sites?

Mexico, with 19, has the most archaeoastronomical sites worldwide.

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