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3a / Tactigraphy : L. Dubal
3a.Sweden/Fossum/ tactigraphy


3b / Photo: L. Dubal
3b. Sweden/Aspeberget /-1067

Solar Orb
Several distinct patterns have been used in order to depict the solar orb, or better said the solar halo. We suggest the grouping into the following seven classes:

3. "Stolen Sun" displays the results from of solar eclipses, which are certainly the most dramatic astral events, and which remained misunderstood by most people until recently. The first remarkable achievement has been to identify which orb was shadowing which orb! The engravings representing solar eclipses are a good example for direct dating of Rock Art, but this set of engravings is very inhomogeneous, and more data are needed for a finer classification.

The Swiss astronomer William Brunner identified several engravings, in the districts of Sundais Ryr and Tanum, as candidates to be related with the -1067/X/23 solar eclipse over Bohusländ (Fig.3a-d/LD). At Fossum, the direction of the begining and the end of the eclipse are given by human figures, cups and "lunar" boats, while at Vitlycke, the bull might represent "how the Moon is emerging out of the shadow-casting circle of the Earth" (see ORION, 1978, p.69). If Brunner's interpretation is correct, the Vitlycke circle would be the first identified representation of the Earthly Orb, or at least of its shadow.

G. Battista Maffessoli has identified an engraving, near Capo di Ponte, as candidate for two sequential "snapshots" of a solar eclipse (see Fig. 3e/LD).

4. "Hairy Sun".displays "Rayes Sun" with external rays, in place of the "wild flares" of the "Stolen Sun" as seen in Fig. 3a-c. Brunner has suggested that one engraving at Corren del Valento (see Fig.4a /W.Brunner) displays typical flares of the corona visible during a total eclipse. He related those flares, and the structurally similar ones (though coarser) at Carshenna (Fig. 4b/W.Brunner) with the -884/VII/13 solar eclipse over the Upper Rhein Valley and Valcamonica. According to Brunner, the concentric rings at Carshenna shown in Fig.2d are defining the directions of the beginning and end of the total eclipse with the dots at the centre of the concentric rings.

Even if no one has yet succeeded to relate them with eclipses, "Hairy Suns" are found in a lot of places: "single" ones, e.g.: in the Saharian Atlas (Fig.4c /Capderou), in Trondheim (Fig.4d /LD), in Italian Alps (Fig.4e/ A. Priuli), in New Caledonia (Fig. 4f /G.Buchalski), or, "multiple" ones in South Africa (Fig. 4g /R.Scherz).

5. "Solar Wheel" has internal "rays". Samples are found, e.g. in Guangxi (Fig.5a /nn), in the Californian Sierra Madre, at a site called "Sapaksi", i.e. the House of the Sun (Fig. 5b / E.C.Krupp), or in New Caledonia (Fig. 5c /G.Buchalski).

Shamanic sun

6. "Contacting the Sun" displays shamans approaching the "Stolen Sun" to the point of becoming "heliomorph", as in Bohusländ (Fig.6a /M.Larrey); keeping more distance, satisfied by touching the moon instead, as by the Hopi (Fig.6b /nn), or patting a mini "Hairy Sun", as by the power-seeking Chumash shamans (Fig. 6c/ E.C.Krupp)

7. "Rayed Head" is an attribute of the shaman who appropriates the Rayed Sun for himself: e.g. in Tassili N Ajjer (Fig,7a /LD), in Lybia (Fig. 7b/ Muzzolini), or in the Altiplano (Fig.7c/ M.Bruggmann). It can also be the attribute of supernatural beings, as the anthropomorphic dagger in Valcamonica (Fig. 7d /LD), or of the labrymorphic Goddess Tanit, at Carthage (Fig. 7e /LD). Let us remark here that the tophet of Salammbô, has provided the largest number of engravings of the symbol "moon-over-sun". This symbol might be interpreted as the commemoration of a major founding event: the total eclipse of year -462/IV/30, which served as justification for the territorial expansion. Finally, on the Altiplano again, the door-keeper of the Gateway of the Sun is a Rayed anthropomorphic Sun (see Fig7f /nn).

8. "Gravid" shaman has "embodied" the astral symbol, e.g. the Solar Wheel, as in Bohusländ (Fig.8a /LD), the Concentric World Rings, as in the upper Rhone Valley (fig. 8b /LD), or, as in Carthage, the Goddess Tanit is bearing the Moon crescent (Fig.8c /LD).

Heavenly Bodies

9. "Comets": the occurrence of special events, such as comets, has not escaped the observation of the engravers, e.g. hand-like comet in New Mexico (Fig 9a /LD), flower-like comet in Valcamonica (Fig. 9b /LD), or sparkling comet on stele of Carthage (Fig 9c /LD).

10. Orbs "Conjunction" seems to be quite frequently represented, though the identification remains to be done. It is difficult to start with a set of engraved cups! Solar eclipses, as we have seen, are already not always straightforward to identify, therefore more complex astral events are most of the time non-decipherable. In some cases, some orbs are recognisable, e.g. in Lithuania (Fig. 10a /V.Straizys) or in Chaco Canyon (Fig 10b /R.Lussier) where one body might be identified as the exploding Supernova which first appear in year 1054 (now Crab Nebula) and the other as the hand-like Haley comet (for sure, only the moon crescent is unambiguous, and some would like to Venus and an hand). In other cases no hints have been found, e.g. in Gran Canaria, where the largest cup has 70 cm diameter (Fig. 10c/ C.Estaban), in Kitakyushu (Fig. 10d/ ) or in Gabon (Fig. 10e /R.Oslisly).

Léo Dubal, virtual laboratory for archaeometry


3c  / Photo: L. Dubal
3c. Sweden/ Aspeberget/ -1067
3d / Photo: L. Dubal
3d. Sweden/Vitlycke/ -1067
3e / Tactigraphy:  L. Dubal
3e.Italy/Capo di Ponte/tactigraphy
4a / Photo :  W.Brunner
4a. Italy/Côren del Valento/-884
4b / Photo: W.Brunner
4b.Switzerland/ Carshenna/-884
4c / Photo: Capderou
4c.Algeria/ Ain Maghsel
4d / Photo: L. Dubal
4d. Norway/ Lerfall
4e / Photo; A. Priuli
4e. Italy / Malegno
6c/ Photo: E.C.Krupp
6c. USA/CA/ CarrizoPlain
4f/ Photo: G.Buchalski
4f. New Caledonia/Tchamba
4g/ Photo: R.Scherz
4g. South. Africa/ Renosterberg
5a/ Photo: nn
5a. China/Guangxi/ Huashan
5b/ Photo: E.C.Krupp
5b. USA/CA/ "Sun's House"
5c/ Photo: L. Dubal
5c. New Caledonia/ Monfaoué
6a/ Photo: L. Dubal
6a. Sweden/ Aspeberget/-1067
6b/ Photo: nn
6b. USA/AZ/Hopi
7a/ Phopto: L. Dubal
7a. Algeria/Sefar
7b/ Photo: Muzzolini
7b. Lybia/ Anou Maquaren
7c/ Photo: M.Bruggmann
7c. Peru /Qu'elcatani
7d/ Tactigraphy: L. Dubal
7d. Italy/ Zurla/tactigraphy
7e / Tactigraphy: L. Dubal
7e.Tunesia/Carthage/ tactigraphy
7f/ Photo:nn
7f. Bolivia/ Tiwanaku
8a/ Photo : L. Dubal
8a. Sweden/ Aspeberget
8b/ Photo: L. Dubal
8b. Switzerland/ Sion
8c / Tactigraphy: L. Dubal
8c.Tunesia/Carthage/ tactigraphy
9a/ Photo: L. Dubal
9a.USA/NM/ Albuquerque/1066
9b / Tactigraphy: L. Dubal
9b.Italy/CapodiPonte/ tactigaphy.
9c / Tactigraphy: L. Dubal
9c.Tunesia/Carthage/ tactigaphy
10a/ Photo: V.Straizys
10a. Lithuania/ Molètai
10b/ Photo: R.Lussier
10b.USA/NM/ ChacoCanyon/1054
10c/ Photo:  C.Estaban
10c.Spain/GranCan./ Amarga
10d/ Photo: N. Yoshida
10d. Japon/Sagita Hill
10e/ Photo: /R.Oslisly
10e. Gabon /CongoBomba

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