Chalice of the Sun: ChaRa.

For human in all ages, the Sun was more than a mere celestial body. It was a deity and source of life. However, one may see this deity only at the hours of its emergence on the horizon during the sunrise and the sunset. How did the people in ancient times observe, for instance, an incredible phenomenon of eclipse with their eyes safe? One might pour water into a bowl and watch the reflection. That was the very thing that they did for thousands of years, until the representatives of the Catacomb Archeological Culture improved the method.


6The Catacomb Community is an ethnic and cultural society of the Middle Bronze Age (2500-2000 BC), which was spread in the steppe and forest steppe zones of Dnipro, Don and Volga rivers. The Northern boundary of their natural area embraced the territory where the Bezvodivka Solar Observatory is located. The Catacomb Culture was explored by Gorodtsov V.A. in 1901-1903. The name of the culture is derived from the way of burials in the lateral niches of the burial pit, the catacombs. The improvement consists in a fact that they made two holes in the wall of the vessel, which may be called “eyepieces” in the likeness of microscope eye-pieces.

The ceramic vessel was recurrently found by archeologists in burials, mostly beside the head of a dead person, in an upside-down position. It has the shape of ideal hemisphere and swings from touching. It couldn’t be used as a home ware because the contents will be poured on the table. Scholars paid attention to the holes in the vessel and discovered an unusual thing. If someone looks at the hole from the opposite edge the diameter of the hole in the eyepiece is equal to the visible diameter of the Sun. The radius of the sector that is visible through the eyepiece is equal to the tenfold diameter of the Sun. The holes are similar, both are oriented toward the opposite edge of the chalice. However, the purpose of the chalice remained unknown.


The visible diameter of the Sun varies, but it is equal to 31’40’’ on average. Furthermore, the visible diameter of the Sun is equal to the visible diameter of the Moon. The tenfold diameter will produce 5о17’. Given that the diameter of the chalice is equal to 19 centimeters, the diameter of the hole in the eyepieces is about 2 millimeters.

 sin 31’40’’ х 190 mm = 0,0092 х 190 mm = 1,75 mm.

In some other vessels the second eyepiece is oriented toward the inside of the chalice. It has the same dimensions and the radius of the visible circle will be also equal to 5о17’. How did they use the chalice in practice?

One may place the chalice in a way so that eyepiece’s hole would catch the solar disc at the moment of sunrise in a day of summer solstice. Then the chalice is fixed and retained for half a year, and at the winter solstice one may look into the eyepiece at the moment of sunset and define the angle of Sun’s deviation from the axle at which the chalice and the point of sunrise in the day of summer solstice are located. The deviation equals 2о40’, which is equal to 4,5 diameters of the Sun.

There is the rule in astronomy. The fool Moon which is close to the day of the summer solstice rises on the horizon in the point of winter solstice. But not exactly at the same point because it happens with the deviation of ten visible diameters to the north and south from the solstice point. So the deviation is:

 31’40’’ x 10 = 316’40’’  or  5о17’

 The orbit of the Moon deviates from the ecliptic approximately 5о17’ as well.


The migration between the extreme north and south positions lasts 18 years and 11 days. This period is called “the saros”, after which the sequence of solar and lunar eclipses is repeated. Thus, the chalice could be a tool for determining the dates of astronomic events of eclipses of celestial bodies.         

They used to pour water into the chalice, look into the left eye-piece and wait for the eclipse of the Moon, which is the presage of the solar eclipse and, according to the rules of celestial mechanics, takes place 13 days prior to the latter.

The ornament of the chalice contains the pairs of lines with 13 or 14 dots in each. It is known that 13 days before the sun eclipse and 13 or 14 days after it the Earth drops the shadow on the Moon. It means that in the period of 27 days which is called “the dragon month” the Moon’s orbit, еру Earth’s ecliptic and the Sun are in the same plane. That is why the lunar eclipse can happen. The ornament can be considered like a scheme that facilitated calculating the astronomic cycles of celestial bodies. Also, four circles with dots are on the vessel. Two of them have 8 dots, one has 13 and the other has 19 dots.


Among the scientists is accepted to believe that the periods of the minor saros (18 years) and the major saros (56 years) which is comprised of three minor saroses had been specified by the “civilized” peoples 4500 years ago: the ancient Babylonians, Egyptians, Chaldea. However, the ancient Ukrainians were not included in the list. Now they are there!  That is due to the fact that you have not only a clay pot that is 4500 years old, but also a portative astronomic device of the Early Bronze Age, which is a material and scientific evidence that, from a prospective of scientific substantiation, proves the fact that the ancient people who lived on the territory of Ukraine were engaged in a complex science and, most probably, they were the teachers of those Southern “civilized” peoples.