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More on Brazilian Stonehenge

Two months ago, we reported on a Stonehenge that has been discovered in Brazil. Now archeologists are learning more about it. Here's what points to the idea that the huge rocks may be a calendar, like Stonehenge is: on December 21, which is the shortest day of the year, the shadow of one of the blocks disappears.

It was important for early humans to keep track of the shortest and longest days of the year, because when the days began to get longer, they knew that the harsh winter was over for another year and that their lives would therefore continue. Scholars say that we don't know the real date of the birth of Jesus, but that December 25 was chosen because it's a date when calendar-watchers would be assured that spring was again coming to the earth.

In LiveScience.com, Stan Lehman quotes archeologist Mariana Petry Cabral as saying, "It is this block's alignment with the winter solstice that leads us to believe the site was once an astronomical observatory.''

Just like the overgrown Mayan cities that were hidden deep in the jungles, locals in the area have known about the monument for a long time. Archeologists didn't recognize what it was until the saw it from the air by helicopter and noticed, Cabral says, "the unique circular structure on top of the hill.'' These days, satellite photos of the earth are often what tip them off.

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