Wurdi Youang

Wurdi Youang

 

The Wurdi Youang stone arrangement in Victoria was built by the Wathaurung people before European settlement, but all records of its use have now disappeared. This egg-shaped ring of stones, about 50m in diameter, has its major axis almost exactly East-West. At its Western end, at the highest point of the circle, are three prominent waist-high stones.  Morieson (2003) pointed out that some outlying stones to the West of the circle, as viewed from these three stones, seem to indicate the setting positions of the Sun at the equinoxes and solstices. Norris et al (2008) have confirmed these alignments and have shown that the straight sides of the circle also indicate the solstices.
  
   However, a sceptic might still raise some doubts. First, the outliers are only accurate to a few degrees - could these alignments have occurred by chance? Second, although the stones of the circle are large and immovable, the outliers are small and could have been moved. Third, besides the outliers indicating the solstices and equinox, there is an additional outlier whose significance is unclear. While these doubts may seem contrived, they have to be answered, and the best way to do so would be to find another site with similar astronomical alignments.  Other stone arrangements in Victoria also indicate the cardinal points, from which we may conclude that the local Aboriginal people knew these directions with some precision, presumably by observing celestial bodies. But are there other sites which point to the position of the solstices? The search continues.

 

indicated horizon at Wurdi Youang

Further Information

Article by Chee Chee Leung in the Age

All material on this page © Ray Norris 2007 except where otherwise indicated.
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