Saturday, October 21, 2006

Germanic Archaeoastronomy Gustav Friedrichs - LexiLine Journal 437

This posting presents information about the work of Gustav Friedrichs in the area of archaeoastronomy in the early part of the 20th century.

As reported previously, I present a paper each year at the annual conference of the Walther Machalett Association for Prehistory and Early History (Arbeits- und Forschungskreis Walther Machalett für Vor- und Frühgeschichte e.V.) and I work together closely with the former attorney, Dr. Gert Meier, President of this Association [since renamed Der Forschungskreis Externsteine e. V.]
See in this regard:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/LexiLine/message/1495
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/LexiLine/message/1345
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/LexiLine/message/1343
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/LexiLine/message/1309
http://ancientworldblog.blogspot.com/2005/12/upcoming-conferences-of-machalett.htm

In the course of discussions about the upcoming annual 2007 and 2008 conferences (which always take place starting on Ascension Day in Horn / Bad Meinberg, Germany), Dr. Meier recently sent me a copy of a rare book previously unknown to me which he had just located in a local German library.

TITLE: Germanische Astronomie und Astrologie während der Stein- und Bronzezeit [Germanic Astronomy and Astrology during the Stone and Bronze Ages ] + Die Gertrudenberger Höhle bei Osnabrück: eine germanische Kultstätte um 1600 v.Chr. [The Gertrudenberg Cave ]
AUTHOR: Gustav Friedrichs (who was a "Rektor", i.e. a school principal, in Osnabrück, Germany)
PUBLISHER: Lindenberg, Hellerau bei Dresden, 1929.

Friedrichs is also apparently the author of Gustav Friedrichs, Die Geschichtszahlen der Alten sind Kalenderzahlen , Verlag Wilhelm Heims, Leipzig 1910 and also Gustav Friedrichs, Deutung und Erklärung der germanischen Märchen und Mythen, Verlag Wilhelm Heims, Leipzig 1934.

A bookseller writes as follows: Broschur, Umschlag mit Beschädigungen, 88 S. 15,7x23,2. Aus dem Inhalt: Die verschiedenen Arten der Märchen-, Mythen und Sagendeutung; Die astrologische Weltanschauung; Vollmondzeit wird durch drei, Neumondzeit durch zwei Personen vertreten; Jeder der drei Brüder wird durch zwei Personen vertreten; Erlösungsmärchen; Höllenmärchen; Himmelsmärchen; Astrologische Körperteile; Astrologische Wunderdinge. 18,00 EUR, #413).

Book Review by Karl Kaiser in ZfdPh 63 (1938), pp. 398-401.


Friedrichs' book on Germanic astronomy is of great interest because it anticipates some of the discoveries that I discuss in my book Stars Stones and Scholars, not only in my conclusions about megaliths in general but also about German megalithic sites in particular.

Friedrichs claimed, as do we, that there were astronomical lines of sight to be found at ancient Germanic megalithic sites and he also argued that ancient megaliths and mounds represented stars of the heavens. For example, he identified a megalithic site at Giersfeld (map, illustrations), Ankum, near Osnabrueck in the county of Bersenbrueck as the stars of Ursa Major.

As noted in Destination Germany at visit-germany info :
"The Giersfeld, the Osnabrück region's largest area of prehistoric graves, has 6 megalithic tombs and 4 tumuli which offer an insight into the New Stone Age and Bronze Age."
See in this connection also, Das Giersfeld by Wilhelm Tiede (in German language).

Friedrichs' observations have in part been criticized by the German astronomer, Dr. Andreas Hänel , President of Dark Skies Germany, Museum am Schölerberg, Osnabrück, Natur und Umwelt - Planetarium, Am Schölerberg 8, D-49082 Osnabrück, Tel.: 0541-5600326, Fax: 0541-5600337, http://www.spacetelescope.org/projects/anniversary/press_meetings.html, who himself later has however written about Neolithic astronomical alignments at megalithic sites (Dr. Andreas Hänel, Astronomie in der Steinzeit - astronomische Orientierung von Megalithgräbern), abstracted as follows in German:
"Auf der Suche nach den frühesten Hinweisen auf astronomische Beobachtungen sind wir auf mögliche astronomische Orientierung von Bauwerken angewiesen. Geeignete Monumente sind die megalithischen Bauten des Neolithikums, wobei die Zugänge von Grabkammern besonderes Interesse erfahren. Die Methoden der Messungen werden beschrieben und die Orientierungen neolithischer Grabkammern in Nordwestdeutschland, der Bretagne und Katalonien wurden vermessen und werden in einem europäischen Zusammenhang diskutiert."
Friedrichs, as Hänel has written, may have made some initial amateurish, pioneering types of errors, but our review of his work indicates that he was on the right archaeoastronomical track in an era when the mainstream academia totally negated the idea that Germanic peoples had any Neolithic astronomy of any kind, much less the sophisticated kind of astronomy alleged by Friedrichs. The recent discovery of the Nebra Sky Disk has of course laid such erroneous notions to rest. What Friedrichs wrote, therefore, is plausible.

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