Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published by the Sophia Centre Press in partnership with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, Faculty of Humanitiies and the Performing Arts, at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David

We are currently seeking submissions for future volumes of Culture and Cosmos.

Volume 21

Clava Cairns, Midwinter Sunset and the Minor Lunar Limit

J. Anna Estaroth


This is a study of the Early Bronze Age cairns at Balnuaran of Clava, near Inverness, Scottish Central Highlands, from the perspective of skyscape archaeology. The site's solar orientations link it with Maeshowe in Orkney. The role of lunar limits is discussed with special reference to Balnuaran of Clava Central and its rays, which link the site to Stonehenge in Wessex. New alignments are investigated, in order to verify skyscape phenomena and integrate them with previous academic research. The importance of seasonal alterations in light and darkness leads to a suggestion that Clava monument-types may be qualitatively different. Passage-graves appear to be associated with midwinter sunset, the nearest new Moon, minor lunar limits and darkness, although light is still significant. Conversely ring-cairns seem to be associated with sunrise, the midsummer full Moon, major lunar limits and light, yet they have dark connotations, leading to conclusions that the role of light and darkness is paramount in understanding these monuments.

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