Discovered in 2016 by a group of enthusiasts, the Calendar Stone of Gela is one of the most important prehistoric monuments in Italy. The site of Contrada Cozzo Olivo, officially recognized by the National Institute of Astrophysics and Archaeo-Astronomy and the Association of Geologists of Sicily on 18 March 2017, is located a few miles from the city of Gela, set in a very important archaeological area, between the monumental necropolis of Dessueri from the mid-late Bronze Age and the Copper Age settlements of Ponte Olivo.
The Calendar Stone, renamed ‘the little Stonehenge’ by English and American newspapers, is dated between the 4th and the 3rd millennium BC and was used by prehistoric populations to measure seasons. In fact, on 21 June and 21 December, during the summer and winter solstices, it is possible to observe a unique phenomenon from a privileged observation point. As the sun is rising, it shines through a hole made on a naturally oriented sandstone slab, creating an incredible spectacle of light.
On the east side of the Calendar Stone there is a very important menhir about 5 meters long resting on a side with its base near a pit, where it was probably allocated. The menhir served as a ‘viewfinder’, as the top part touched the base of the hole in line with the solstitial axis.
Over the 2 years following the discovery, hundreds of enthusiasts and scholars have gathered at this site waiting for the sunrise on the solstice.
|YEAR OF CONTRUCTIONS||IV – III millennio a.C.|
|CURIOSITY||In the 2 years following the discovery, hundreds of enthusiasts and scholars gather at this site during the winter solstice, waiting for the sun to rise.|
Written by: Giuseppe La Spina