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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 97 00:50:15 -0800
Subject: Solstice Cam
_Winter solstice sunset at Maes Howe_
(Orkney, Scotland, UK)
For the first time the winter solstice sunset, as seen from within a 5,000
year-old chambered cairn, will be broadcast over the Internet between 14:30
and 15:15 GMT from December 10th until December 22nd, 1997. This chambered
cairn is the most spectacular of many in _Orkney_, situated in Stenness on
the Orkney Mainland.
The precise reason for this alignment may never be unveiled, and will remain
one of the many mysteries open for speculation. But it can be assumed that
such a connection with the winter solstice sunset was done on purpose. So
the Neolithic people that lived in the neighborhood of this megalithic
mound, must have been aware of other things between Heaven and Earth than
simple survival - eating, drinking and raising the next generation. Like
monuments at Newgrange (Ireland), Stonehenge (England), Carnac (France),
Hunebedden (Netherlands) and the Great Pyramids (Egypt), this megalithic
mound was also constructed for a special purpose. Many ideas float around,
* was it for burials of important people only?
* was it for communal burial?
* was it a place of worship?
* was it a place to get into contact with spirits?
* was it for protection against raiding people?
This monument is part of a mystical atmosphere, that attracts people!
To get a better feeling of what the reasons are behind such a sophisticated
building, _Victor Reijs_ (a Dutch archaeoastronomer) is studying the
alignment(s?) of the passage and chamber in _more detail_. After a few
visits and talks with people, the idea emerged to install a camera inside
the chamber, so that the behaviour of the sun can be recorded and analyzed
in a more scientific way. And why not use The Internet to transport this
unique information around the globe!
Thus for the first time in the world, the light of a winter solstice sunset
will be broadcast in real-time over the Internet. These broadcasts are
scheduled from December 10th until December 22nd 1997, everyday between
14:30 and 15:15 GMT. It can be seen at: _http://maeshowe.mypage.org/_. It
is expected that this project will be continued on an annual basis.
With the help of _Historic Scotland_ (care-taker of Maes Howe on behalf of
the Secretary of State for Scotland) and _Charles Tait_ (photographer and
publisher based in Orkney), the idea of broadcasting has been materialized
by _Victor Reijs_ within a year. Besides _equipment from the three mentioned
initiators_, this project is also sponsored generously by the following
organizations: J&W Tait Ltd (UK, transportation), _Multicap_ (BE, radio
modems), _Travel agency Nijenhuis_ (NL, travel insurance) and _Electric
Engineering_ (NL, cables).
Victor Reijs (project leader)
Last major content related changes: November 30, 1997 (version 0.6)
[I removed some out-of-date URLs from the excerpt above. They may have been
updated by now, so you may want to recheck that page. For other information
and the Cairn Cam pictures visit:
© 1997 Peter Langston