Saturday, July 27, 2013

Rujm el-Hiri

We just finished week two at Marj Rabba. Interesting site, great people. I've been enjoying learning more about the many mysteries of the Chalcolithic period. We work Sunday through Friday with Saturdays off, though we seem to tour something on either Friday or Saturday. Last weekend we toured the excavation at Akko. Today we took a trip to the  Golan Heights to visit Rujm el-Hiri. I had never been here before, and I have to admit that even with a map, it would have been very challenging to locate. Thanks to Chad Hill for navigating us there.

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Rujm el-Hiri is an amazing site where giant basalt boulders are placed in circles, all around a central rock quern burial. Some people call it the Stonehenge of the Chalcolithic because the sunrise on the solstices seems to match the orientation of the structure. Here is a picture of the circles from an elevated position from Wikimedia:
Gilgal_Refa'im_-_Rujm_el-Hiri

A whole lot of people moved a whole lot of rock to make these designs. It very much reminds me of Poverty Point in Louisiana. Lots of questions are raised about the purpose of both Poverty Point and Rujm el-Hiri. There seems to be a debate about whether this was built in the Chalcolithic period or later. There do seem to be several Chalcolithic settlements in the area. It's always hard to date structures such as these. There were burials in the giant central rock quern, but they were robbed long ago. In any event, it's an amazing site.
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