Top 10 Archaeoastronomical Sites In The World!

El Castillo

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By Daniel Schwen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Also known as Kukulcán’s Pyramid, El Castillo is a step-pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico, the centre of Mayan civilization. Several of its features pointed to astronomical elements. There are a total of 365 steps built into the sides of the pyramid, along with extra steps for the platform on top. Each step may possibly indicate the number of days in a year (365.25) or the number of lunar orbits in 10,000 rotations (365.01).

The most striking feature of the pyramid is the appearance of a serpentine shadow descending the stairway! This is seen during the equinoxes of March and September. The shadow starts descending west of the northern stairway as a sculpture of a snake’s head lies at the bottom.

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Another salient feature of El Castillo pyramids is the orientation of its western faces. The western faces seems to point to sunset every year around 25th May, traditionally the date of changeover from the dry to the rainy season.

Next: Casting light exactly at the centre!

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