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Rujm el-Hiri in the Levant – Summer Solstice Observance

Rujm el-Hiri is the “Circle of the Giants” in the Middle East aligning to the summer solstice.

Rujm el-Hiri. Photo by Flickr user: israeltourism

Rujm el-Hiri. Photo by Flickr user: israeltourism

What: Summer solstice observance

Where: Rujm el-Hiri or “stone heap of the wild cat” – Golan Heights, Southern Levant (between Syria and Israel).

When: Summer solstice sunrise

Please Note: The surrounding area of Rujm el-Hiri, Golan Heights, is currently within the boundaries of a military zone. Therefore we would not encourage anyone to visit Rujm el-Hiri at this point as it might be dangerous. We recommend that anyone interested in visiting the site to wait until the situation is more suitable and safe. This post is for interest purposes only.

About: Rujm el-Hiri has been called by some the “Stonehenge of the Middle East”, although it may be even older than the English megalithic site. Rujm el-Hiri was arranged in concentric circles using more than 42,000 basalt rocks,  impressively weighing almost 40,000 tons. The largest circle is 155 meters in diameter. Many dolmens as well as petroglyphs have been found nearby making it one of the most significant ancient sites in the area although very few have ever even heard about it.

In Hebrew the site is called “Gilgal Rephaim”- Circle of the Rephaim. The Rephaim or Rephaites, according to most interpretations, were a race of giants who are mentioned in various texts including the Bible. The name Rephaim could also mean Spirits or Ghosts but also Healers.

Rujm el-Hiri Collage

Rujm el-Hiri close ups. Photo credit: Flickr user Michael Homan

Rujm el-Hiri’s Summer Solstice Alignment

Archaeologists Anthony Aveni and Yonathan Mizrachi, who have done an extensive research on the site, describe  various alignments to the solstices, the equinoxes as well as Sirius and other stars. Observed from the grounds of Rujm el-Hiri, Mount Hermon, a sacred mountain to some religions, is in the direction of true north. Mount Tabor is currently very close to where the winter solstice sunrise appears.

In the below excerpt from their website, they describe the summer solstice and its possible date:

The NE entryway marked the summer solstice sometime around the 3rd millennium B.C.. The complex was aligned via a line running from the geometrical center of the circular complex through the monumental NE entryway on the outermost stone ring of the complex.

While the NE axis of the complex is generally oriented to the solstice, of the two openings, only the external NE entryway was accurately lined up with it at around 3000 B.C. However, calculating the axis of the inner entryway indicates that it was aligning with the summer solstice around 15,000 B.C…

…Moreover, the heliacal rise-set dates of Sirius lay close to the solstices at that time [3200 B.C.] (first appearance in the pre-dawn sky was one day from June solstice and the last day on which it was seen rising in the east after sunset occurred three days before December solstice).

The researchers find 15,000 B.C. to be an impossibly early point in time. However, to some it may be a clue that the site might as well be much older than it is currently thought. The heavy modifications that have taken place throughout the centuries leave us with a lot of questions about the true origin of this mysterious site. Furthermore, radiocarbon analysis cannot be used to calculate the exact time since no organic material has been found that would be suitable for analysis.

Hebrew Wikipedia user אסף.צ [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Above, Rujm el-Hiri; note the size of the site compared to the grazing animals. Image Credit: Hebrew Wikipedia user אסף.צ [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commonsthe northeast entryway of Rujm el-Hiri.

Research shows that the site has been altered. A. Aveni and Y. Mizrachi’s calculations showed that the original center point of the complex does not lie at the center of the later built burial chamber, but at the geometrical center of the circular stone walls; about 4-5m south of the tomb. A visitor now sees a cairn that some people claim served as tomb at some point in time but more careful investigation reveals that Rujm el-Hiri’s purpose was different when it was built.

Gilgal Rephaim is an incredible site that proves that the solstices and equinoxes held meaning to the ancient people of the past.

Below is an aerial video of the ancient site Rujm el-Hiri:

A Note About Visiting Ancient Sites:
Please be mindful and respectful of the ancient sites.  Treat them with care as to not disturb them, damage them or remove anything from them. Help protect these incredible sites so that they can continue to stand the test of time.

Please note: This event is not run by The Spiritual Sun and has been posted only as a point of interest.

About the author

Christos

6 Comments

    • Hey John,

      Yeah I think that news story is fake. It comes from a website called ‘worldnewsdailyreport’ and seems to just fabricate fake stories for sensationalist purposes. (Something that certainly doesn’t help many things out there which sound strange but are in fact true…)

      I believe that specific photo they used, and some similar others that are around on the web, were by people entering a photoshop contest to create the most realistic looking images of the existence of giants or something like it.

  • Wow, it’s surprising this site is not more commonly known.

    And it just makes me think how dates like 3,000 or 15,000 (!) BC should make us reconsider the official stance on our early history.

    thanks for sharing!

  • Intriguing site, I have no image even of who the people are that built it. Are they perhaps one of the Mesopotamian period’s people, or people linked to the Egyptian side, or a local pastoral people?

    I also only noticed the size of the site when I saw that cow 🙂 155 meters is pretty impressive. Pretty cool how some sites are so obvious from the air, but not easily discovered from the ground, like Nazca lines.

    I find the geometry with concentric circles like that very nice.

    Thanks for showing this site Christos

    • Hey Karim, I also found it very interesting that this site, along with others around the world, don’t reveal their full beauty and magnificence unless someone looks from above them.

      Some people miss Rujm el-Hiri or get disappointed because they did not expect to find something looking like random piles of rocks. A look from the sky though could easily attract anyone’s attention and awe.

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