BBC: Our Ancestors Were Stupid
“Excavations of a field at Crathes Castle found a series of 12 pits which appear to mimic the phases of the moon and track lunar months.”
Then they trot out that stale old idea that ancient people needed to build giant monuments to tell themselves what time of year it was:
The pit alignment also aligns on the Midwinter sunrise to provided the hunter-gatherers with an annual “astronomic correction” in order to better follow the passage of time and changing seasons.
And these, mind you, were hunter-gathers, not agriculturalists — not that any farmers need a calendar to tell them when to plant. Every traditional farming culture has its signs: “When the leaves of such-and-such tree are big as a mouse’s ear, plant such-and-such a crop.”
And hunters? They watch the animals and factors affecting animals. “It’s snowing hard. The elk will be moving down off the mountain.”
And gatherers? They watch the plants. “It’s rained for the last week. Let’s go check our mushroom-gathering area — they might be coming up.” I plan to do that tomorrow, in fact.
You don’t need twelve posts in a circle to tell you when it is time. Even today, would you need a calendar to tell you when it was spring? Changes in vegetation, bird migrations, and other natural signs are quite enough.
Astronomically aligned structures are meaningful, but sometimes we do not know why. But many instances, ancient Tenochtilan, for example, aligned grand buildings showed that the rulers enjoyed the favor of heaven/the gods. Likewise in imperial China and in the Middle East.
Possibly these twelve posts in a meadow were erected on the orders of some Paleolithic “Big Man” whose ideas about the “formal construction of time” were connected to his sense of self-importance. That makes as much sense as allegedly telling people when it was time to hunt and gather.