Ancient Campsites

posted Feb 19, 2016, 7:48 AM by Paul Wagner
As we drive to the trailhead, the radio stations began to drift off into static and fading holy roller broadcasts....and we've taken to  listening to lectures on CDs about various topics.  One of the recent series of lectures is about ancient cities, from CataHayuk in Turkey to Knossos on Crete...

And the archeologists always seem to make a big deal about the orientation of these cities and temples---facing the rising sun in the East, open to the setting sun in the West, oriented North South around a central axis...Our tent at dinner time. ©

And we couldn't help thinking that this may not be quite so rooted in ritual and religion as they seem to imply.  When we pick a campsite, one of the things we look for is morning sun, to help us get up and get warm in the morning.  And views of the sunset (and a little warming light at the end of the day) are also a good idea.

Meanwhile, where we live in Napa, the grape-growers know to plant their views on a North/South axis so each side of the vine gets equal sun, and the grapes on one side don't get burned...

So is the photo above a nice campsite, or is it a temporary temple?

It seems like these are all things that people who lived their lives without electric lights would understand and internalize quite quickly.  But is it religion?  Or is it just good common sense?