The iconic Stonehenge, a British monument dating back to 3000BC, has been a source of intrigue for researchers for centuries.
While most believe it was a burial ground and possibly of spiritual significance, music teacher Michael Goff has a different theory – he thinks it was used as a “seasonally varying sundial”.
Mr Goff has published a study suggesting that the stone circle was used in 2500BC to create shadows at “regular intervals”.
He told Express.co.uk: “The study is to some extent a set of observations which demonstrate that Stonehenge marks regular intervals of time and is, therefore, a type of megalithic sundial.
“He added that it doesn’t just mark annual time, but also daily time.
“It is also important to note that Stonehenge, as a sundial, is seasonally variable the time reading varies with the variation in the Sun’s position from season to season in this way it is similar to the ancient Egyptian shadow clocks.”
Mr Goff, who got into researching Stonehenge after building small-scale stone circles himself, said his theory “radically alters our view of Stonehenge, from a temple to a technology”.
Last month, Professor Mike Parker Pearson, from University College London (UCL), made a breakthrough in the understanding of the Neolithic construction after the discovery of a similar ancient stone structure at Waun Mawn, in the Preseli Hills.
Experts now theorise the dismantled monument in Wales became the “building blocks” of the Stonehenge attraction that stands in Salisbury, Wiltshire, today.
And Mr Goff says this only supports his theory further.
He told Express.co.uk: “My theory indicates that they used the southern cross as a star constellation to follow and to judge time.
“Each time the southern cross was back on due south it would sit in the south gap at Stonehenge and this could be used to observe the change in the position of the Sun and, over the course of a year, this gives you a calendar.
“However, the southern cross was only visible in the northern hemisphere due to the difference in the Earth’s tilt between then and now.
“At the location of Waun Mawn in Wales, because it is slightly further north, the southern cross was closer to disappearing below the horizon than it was at the area of Stonehenge.[“
Mr Goff believes that moving the stone circle south gave the builders “]several hundred more years in which they could use the southern cross to mark their calendar[“.
Stonehenge was created by a culture that left no written records, so much about it remains a mystery.
Questions about how it was built and what it was used for are still hotly debated.
The site, especially the great trilithon, the horseshoe arrangement of the five central trilithons and the embanked avenue, align with the summer and winter solstice.
A natural landform at the monument’s location followed this line, and some experts think it may have inspired its construction.
But there’s still a lot of debate about other astronomical associations and what the site meant to its people.
However, Mr Goff thinks his study shows that Stonehenge was made by “]a solar cult or followed a religious and scientific interest concerned with plotting the movement of the Sun”.
You can read his full paper, which Mr Goff hopes will be peer-reviewed soon, here.