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An astronomical complex or commemorative astronomical complex is a series of man-made structures with an astronomical purpose. It has been used when referring to a group of Megalithic structures that it is claimed show high precision astronomical alignments. For the study of Archaeoastronomy, such complexes of similar structures are required for adequate measurement and calculation to ensure that similar celestial sightlines were intended by the designers. These arrangements have also been known as observational, ceremonial or ritual complexes with importance for the study of prehistoric cultures.
The term has been used in the naming of various series of observatories used for observing the stars in modern times.
Ancient astronomical complexes
Examples of suggested ancient astronomical complexes that may have been used as solar and lunarobservatories include, in reverse-chronological order:
In 2006, then Atlit Yam was discovered in Israel in 2009, dated with certainty to at least 6300 BCE, at which point it was abandoned and submerged in the Mediterranean, but still being excavated and analyzed as of 2014. Atlit Yam has human skeletons ceremoniously buried, and is a small semi-circle of long, narrow uprighted stones etched with cup marks.
Rogem Hiri, 40,000,000 kg of stone with a 'gate' or opening in the outer stone circle through which the sun rises on each Summer Solstice (with this 'gate' matching the Summer Solstice's sunrise even more accurately millennia ago), and a burial chamber in the center under two 5-tonne megaliths, a layer of circa 3,000 BCE exposed, with a surveyed but unexcavated, estimated 4,000 BCE, layer beneath.
^Fialko, Vilma., Laporte, Juan Pedro., New Perspectives on Old Problems: Dynastic references for the Early Classic at Tikal. In Vision and Revision in Maya Studies, edited by F. Clancy and P. Harrison, pp. 33-66, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.