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Archeoastronomy in the Greater Florianopolis

(em Português

An open sky museum.

The Institute of Archeoastronomy, under the direction of teacher Adnir Ramos, present the archeoastronomic discoveries done in Ponta do Gravatá.

Ponta do Gravatá is located in the promontory east of the Lagoa da Conceição basin – Florianopolis, Brazil. Nowadays is inhabited by artesian and sport fishermen, sportsmen of the most varied modalities, tourists and students who search leisure, calmness, beauty and culture.

In remote times, the primitive peoples of the region had also lived this paradise for diverse activities: they fished, they collected fruits and clams, hunted, produced stone devices, sacred rituals and very probably to make studies from its astronomical comments.

In some places of the Earth there are overlapping rocks - called by the scientific community - as mega stone monuments. The studies prove that the comment of the sky was in the base of the knowledge of all the old societies, therefore they had been deeply influenced by the confident precision of the cyclical unfolding of certain celestial phenomena, such as the day - night, the phases of the moon and the stations of the year.

In 1988, the researcher Adnir Ramos when studying the stone signals of the catarinense coast, he noticed that, beyond the strange drawings, it also had in the top of the mount of the Barra da Lagoa, some immense granite rocks that seemed to have been placed there.  To pay his college, Ramos left to fish in the sea or in the Lagoa da Conceição at 4 a.m. in the morning and thus he watched the sunrise. Observing the dawn, behind the hill, he started to see certain links between the sun and got even more curious to the point of discovering many astronomic observatories in Santa Catarina’s coast.

After bibliographic studies he stated that, in Santa Catarina, where we are developing such studies, the writer and geologist Major José Vieira da Rosa, in 1918, wrote: “We cannot steal ourselves to another comment: all the tips and capes, all our islands and islets and even in the interiors of the land there is abundance of these colossal granite blocks… Some as the rock Balloon and the Sand Rock crown the top of a mountain; others form the hillsides or embroider the coasts of our rich sea and decorate the landscape of our bays. We possess enormous blocks of overlapped rocks, as of Itaguaçu, presenting bizarre forms and grottos formed for enormous boulders, as the ones that are in the Caeira, in Saco Grande and in the proximities of the Lagoon of the Peri, which fancy rooms, in different levels, are formed by these block of overlapped stones”.

In this phase of the works of research and documentation, we are tabulating and registering the data of the comments made in field and comparing with the 1600 traced routes, from the 40 megalitos previously defined in the massive east of the basin of the Lagoon of the Conceição.

The survey of the geographic coordinates of the 40 megaliths, and the rotation of the positioning of megalithic monuments, it was executed by AEROCONSULT and the FUNPAR - National Foundation of the Federal University of Paraná, contracted for the IPUF - Institute of Urban Planning of Florianopolis in partnership with ASSESC. Aerophotogramethry and measurements for Global positioning system - GPS had been used as technological resources.

These two stages of the research had proven the existence of primitive astronomical observatories in the region that understand the localities of the Barra da Lagoa, Fortaleza da Barra and Ponta do Gravatá. However the apparent movement of the sun in the changes of stations was only analyzed, lacking still to analyze the apparent movement of the moon, of the planets and the fixed stars.

With the intensification of the research of field in the solstices and equinoxes new discoveries in the Ponta do Gravatá had been made.
The word Solstice, also derived from one Latin word, solstitium, it means, very appropriately, breakpoint of the Sun. In the Solstices, the Sun stops in its annual apparent movement, in the direction North-South, e starts to move in the contrary direction. It went northward; it starts to go southward, and vice versa.

According with the Archeoastronomist Doctor Germano Alfonso, member of the research team, the days of Equinoxes and Solstices are easily perceived only with the observation of the sky. Even though primitive and prehistoric cultures had been able to determine them with easiness in constructed rudimentary observatories with blocks of rocks.
When registering the apparent movement of the sun, in the Astronomical Observatory of the Ponta do Gravatá, during the summer solstice, we verify some curiosities as to how the primitive men marked this passage.

According to the rotation of the geographic coordinates, the megaliths PE31; PE33, PE37, PE38 e PE39 constitute in an astronomic observatory of rocks that give directions of sunrise and sunset in the spring and fall equinoxes and in the summer and winter solstices.

With the systematization of the research, we noticed that beyond these alignments, confirmed by precision equipment, there are other megaliths that help count the history of the peoples who had lived in the region. For example: in the proximities of the rock number 31, a set of megaliths which was manipulated to show the maximum angle of the sun in the south hemisphere, of the following form exists: to the north side of rock 31, it has two rocks that get our attention. One of them seems that it serves for the observer to locate themselves in top and to observe the narrow channel in the rock of the front that lines up accurately with the sun in the entrance of the summer. The rock that contains the narrow channel was balanced by smaller rocks in a way that the water drains in the direction of the sun, combining the consequence of the star in the sea with the one of the narrow channel only in the summer solstice.

This fact suggests the hypothesis of having had some sort of cult or even sacrifice, for if the primitive peoples immolated a victim, its blood placed there would drain in the direction of the rising sun.

In the east direction of the narrow channel we find the rock no. 33 which is aligned with the megalith no. 31. In the north side of the megalith no.33 we notice that there is a dolmen turned to the east and another one turned to the west.
These dolmens that send us to the ritual of the primitive peoples in the north hemisphere, for according the researcher Ronaldo Mourão and the religious leader Howard Hunter, in the moment of the prayers the ancient Aryans turned themselves to the east in the direction of the sun to worship Miter the god of the celestial lights of the bright skies.

During the first rituals the priest started his action, turned to the west with the goal of refusing the devil that dominated that side, the nearest side to the night. When the ceremony was over he turned to the east where the day starts which was associated to the light of knowledge.

We believe that the two dolmens had been used by the ancient men that lived in the area as altars of prayer to seek illumination represented by the rising sun and the protection against the powers of darkness represented by the sunset.

In the south sides of the megaliths no.33 there’s a set of rocks that complete this observatory. One of these rocks is the megalith no.34 already mentioned by the teacher Germano in his presentations as a characteristic type of monolith found in many parts of the world and especially in Brazil.

Observing also this monolith we can see that it can be used to mark the rising of the sun in the skyline in the summer solstice in the following way: behind the platform where the monolith is there is another platform where the observer can position himself to see the sun rising. It’s interesting to notice that there is a specific place to the observer to stay and the height is circa 5’6”, and he can’t either go to the left of the right for if he goes to the left he falls into the cliff and if he goes to the right he gets out of the desired angle.

However the observations are not limited to the sunrise in this observatory.  We still notice that the ancient observers marked the sun in the zenith and ocaso of the solstice of summer in the related observatory. In the top of the platform, behind the monolith nº. 34, there is a huge block with some cracks that had been used to give continuity to the apparent movement of the sun. In this crack, it is possible to pass a person sideways, and he/she is positioned north south. The curiosity is in the two small rocks that had been placed on top of one of the cracks.

Observing the passage of the sun in the noon sun during the summer solstice we verify that the sun passes for an orifice between the two rocks, exactly when it is in the zenith of the Capricorn tropic. The observer needs to enter in this crack and go until the middle of it to see the sun passing through the orifice or to see the light of the sun illuminate the center of the crack. We still notice, that a couple of minutes after the passage of the sun in the zenith, a pretty mask is projected in the soil of the crack in a combination of light and shade.

The observations, however, do not stop there. From the same point where the sun illuminates at noon, there is another crack in the southwestern direction and from this exact point we observe the sun in ocaso, for an orifice above the altar which is behind the crack. Beyond the altar is observed that a rock next to it was dislocated in the extremity below. The dislocated rock serves of aiming to see the sunset in the summer solstice and to produce effect of light inside the cracks with the mount 
Ponta do Gravatá is also known by the name of Dragon for the silhouette of the hill looks like a sleeping dragon on the sea shore. At the head of the supposed animal is the astronomic observatory.  The dragon’s eye is represented by a rock that is used to see the passage of the sun in the point that marks the entrance of winter. On this rock, strategically positioned, we look through an orifice the sun in it maximum limit of the north hemisphere during winter solstice. Another detail in the rock is the bed that is in it. Laying on this bed the observer integrates himself to the dragon’s eye semi open and delights to see only the constellations which are in the north side of the Capricorn’s tropic. This phenomenon makes it possible to determine the beginning of winter through the apparent movement of the stars. Another curiosity is length of the bed which is about 5’6”. It looks like it was made for the man of Sambaqui who had a stature between 5’5” and 5’6”. Moreover, the cradle is protected against rains and the winds, what it guarantees to the observer a calm sojourn almost and insurance, it was not the small point where the rock is supported and the precipice that is the 9, 84 ft. from it.

The Equinoxes are notable, therefore almost always the nights and the days have different durations. In almost all the places on the Earth, during about half of the year, the days are longer than the nights and, in the other half, the nights are longer than the days.
If we measure daily the intervals of time between the rising and setting of the Sun, throughout one year, we will be able to verify that has only two days where the nocturnal period corresponds, almost accurately, to the daylight. They are the Equinoxes of fall and spring.

This event did not pass unobserved in the archeoastronomic small farm of the Ponta do Gravatá. After the summer solstice, it was verified that beyond rocks 37 and 39 to mark, necessarily, the equinoxes, new alignments in other megaliths had been analyzed.
For example, a rock that we ignored in the first survey and that today we are studying, it is a monolith that has the form of an animal, known of the fishermen as capybara or water hog.

When observing the passage of the sun in the autumn equinox, we notice that such sculpture marks the equinoxes with another rock at the west, next to the fishermen’s farm, in the left edge of the beach. We also notice that the head of the animal is turned to the east, in the direction of the rising of the sun, in the equinoxes.
Notice that the animal is representing a northward walk , and that in determined period, he stops and looks at the east as of making a reflection regarding the time and the covered space, looking at not only to the sun, but also to the other megaliths which are behind him.

The next step is to analyze the apparent movement of other stars in this farm, fight for the preservation and seek for improvement in the access trails in the farm to guarantee quality tourism.
Help us in these researches for these precious treasures are being destroyed by lack of knowledge and support to the researches.