Thracian Dolmens

TitleThracian Dolmens
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsA. González-García C, Kolev D, Koleva V
Book TitleHandbook of Archaeoastronomy and Ethnoastronomy
ISBN Number978-1461461401
Keywordsdolmens, Edirne, Thracia

The Thracians built structures such as dolmens and false cupola tombs possibly related to their cults and funerary rites. The orientations of the Thracian dolmens fulfill two conditions: First, they point toward mountaintops, where there are often rock sanctuaries; second, the prevailing orientation of the dolmens is toward southwest. In that direction, at the time of construction (ca. 1000 BC), one could observe the setting of the Southern Cross and Pointers (α and β Cen). These stars formed part of the Centaurus constellation in antiquity. An important motif of Thracian art, often linked to the Thracian religion, is the figure of the Horse Rider as an alter ego of the king or the Sun god. Thus, the dolmen entrance would be facing the setting of Centaurus (perhaps the Horse Rider) behind a mountain (perhaps the Goddess).