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There are so far hardly archaeoastronomical considerations of the historical labyrinths. Mechthild Meinike from Halle (Germany) made such investigations for the Troy Town of Steigra .
The area around Steigra is richly at early finds, in particular the sky disk of Nebra and the circle of Goseck provided headlines in the last years. This very day large archaeological excavations are accomplished nearby with many finds from the Bronze and Stone Ages.

The astronomical classification of the Troy Town by the adjustment of the azimuths on the surrounding topography, salient points, other early buildings, and water places however brought no substantial purchases, nor was it brought by the consideration of the moon extremes.

Mechthild Meinike computed the sunrise and sunset azimuths for the labyrinth at the solstices for the years 1500 B. C., 1700 A. C., and today. The values of the azimuths for the three used times lie together very closely. The values of 1500 B. C. are drawn on the illustration shown here .

The drawing

The drawing

The results are as follows: A line, which one draws through the center of the labyrinth, the small rhombus, and the entrance area, points to the sunset at summer solstice. In other words, if one stands in the center, the sun is setting down behind the entrance on summer solstice. When going into the labyrinth one has first the going down sun in the back, one comes thus from the going down sun.
If one stands in the center of the labyrinth at the time of the sunrise on winter solstice and looks towards the grave hill beside the labyrinth, then one looks into the rising sun.

Here the summary of the article (translated from German):

Concluding it can be stated that the Troy Town of Steigra has an adjustment on the sunset at summer solstice, if one looks from the center towards the entrance. The sunrise at winter solstice is just behind the grave hill. Thus the Troy Town hides a concrete reference to historically handed down sun stories of virgins, knights and dragons.

What does this mean now for the labyrinth-enthusiast?

As we do not know enough about the real age of the labyrinth of Steigra and its meaning or use, this is not a proof, that the adjustment to the sun played a role for the the building of the labyrinth. However, we can assume that a connection with the running of the sun could exist and from there also a relationship with the relevant historical tradition in myths, fairy tales and narrations could be given.
Further archaeoastronomical investigations in other old labyrinths would be desirable.

Source: Die Trojaburg von Steigra by Mechthild Meinike, published in MegaLithos 3/2005 (ISSN 1439-7366)

Here you can read a post about the Spring festivitiy in the labyrinth of Steigra in 2008.

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One of the four historical labyrinths in Germany is situated at Steigra in the Burgenlandkreis district in Saxony-Anhalt. It is also named Sweden Ring or Troy Town.

The layout is the classical type with 11 circuits. The exact time of origin is uncertain. Much points to the 17th century, in addition, an older origin would be conceivable. It lies beside a hill grave.

In the neighborhood one made world-wide unique archaeologically finds in the last years: The 7000 years old sun observatory of Goseck, the 3600 years old sky disk of Nebra.

The turf labyrinth of Steigra kept over centuries. Nowadays it is maintained annually by the confirmands of the locality. The patron saint of the parish church is St George, and there is even a tavern St George.

Annually on Saturday after April 23, the day of St George, takes place a spring celebration at the labyrinth. This year that was on April 26, 2008.

Caught in the labyrinth

Caught in the labyrinth

The citizens of Steigra accomplished this spring celebration for the first time 1995 according to own conceptions and with own texts. The whole village takes active part in it.

The dragon is beaten

The dragon is beaten

But the main part is thereby a ritual in the labyrinth. A young woman represents the winter sun virgin, which is caught in the labyrinth and has to be released from a knight.

The sun virgin

The sun virgin

Each year another virgin is selected. The knight is determined before in a kind of knight tournament among several young men.

The liberation

The liberation

Before the freeing of the sun virgin the knight must solve still further tasks and kill also a dragon, which guards the labyrinth.

Virgin and knight

Virgin and knight

On a board at the labyrinth you can read the following poem (translated to English):

From the chains of hard winters, I, knight, liberated you;
whereon on us and our children the sun’s blessing is shining.
You lovely virgin gives me strength, warmth, and fertility;
the bad, dark powers of the night avoid our togetherness.

In the year 2008 Sophie Kaiser were the virgin and Ronnie Sobirai the knight.

Here a short video from the ceremony:

More photos of the labyrinth in the photo gallery on mymaze.

Here you can read a post about archaeoastronomy for the labyrinth of Steigra.

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