The Sun Ship’s design

It is hard to find a more even horizon line than the one at Ales stenar. Viewed from the observation site the sea horizon and the land horizon each cover 180º and the clearly visible horizon around the shiplike formation of stones is thus a full 360º, a unique location. When the stone construction was erected about 2.700 years ago it consisted of 60 stones (today 59). The length was then and still is 67 metres and the width 19 metres. The name Als means sanctuary in old Nordic.

To be able to divide the sunship’s inner quadratic design into quarters, the constructors placed a vertical pole at the observation site in the center of the ship. Then they awaited a starlit night and with a couple of staffs as measuring tools aimed at the Polar Star. A line between the staffs and the Polar Star was fixed and determined. This line corresponds exactly with the line, drawn on the ground, pointing to the north. The following day, this line could easily be checked with the aid of the short sunshadow cast by the pole on the ground at noon when the sun reaches its highest position in the sky. For comparison: The two calculation methods are ancient and were believed to be holy for the pyramid building Egyptian pharaos about  5.000 years ago.

With the Polar Star as the reliable basis, the four cardinal points were determined. At their junctions were placed the four opposing 12th timestones and these four stones thus form the square in the construction’s innner design. This forms the base for the solar orbit’s cardinal points, i.e. the equinoxes and solstices, when night and day are equally long, darkest and brighest, respectively. The combination of a sunyear calendar and a sundial was thus established.

© B G Lind