The Sun year calendar

The viking’s comprehension of time also corresponds with the placement of Ales stenar. The sun year calendar of the vikings commenced at the winter solstice and consisted of 360 days divided into 12 months of 30 days each. At the summer solstice the month of the sun began. This month consisted of 35 days (i.e. 5 days were added).
Sunrise at the winter solstice           © Foto Bob G Lind

  These empirical sunstudies have been performed sitting on a chair at the observation site.
Winter solstice, the shortest day of the year: Seen from the observation site the sun rises at the winter solstice by and over the southeast stemstone. During six months of 30 days each the sunrises are read between the stones 1a-3a-9a-12a-14a-15a and to the center stone 16a, which marks the summer solstice, (see photo and schedule).


Click here for the calendarical sunrises and sunsets over the month-stones

Sunset at the summer solstice.

Summer solstice, the longest day of the year: The sun sets over the northwestern stemstone. The following month counts 35 days (the month of the sun in Nordic mythology). After this the sunsets are read to the time of the winter solstice after exactly the same 30-day system as by the sunrises, here marked 1b-3b-9b-12b-14b-15b-16b. To the first month after the summer solstice, 5 days were added, and every fourth year a leap-day was inserted (in the same way as in the Viking Calendar). This is clearly illustrated by the distance between the second and third stone, which is wider than the distance between the stones on the opposite side. The difference between the sunrises and sunsets is always 6 months and 12 hours in the calendar. For comparison: 5.000 years ago the Egyptians had developed a sun calendar of 365 days in a year divided into eleven months of 30 days plus one month of 35 days.

OBS! Printable photodocumentation

The solar orbit
For 2.500 years, the solar orbit's change at the horizon, seen from the observation site in relation to the calenderstones, is negligable.