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13 January 2008
The Pleiades carved by prehistoric people in the Alps

Two groups of man-made cup markings carved on a pair of boulders found in the Italian Alps may represent the Pleiades star cluster, according to the  archaeo-astronomer Guido Cossard. The carvings have been found near the Plan des Sorcières - literally  'The witches' plateau' - at Lillianes, in Val d'Aosta (Italy). According to Mr Cossard, who made the discovery, the series of cup markings have the same shape as the famous star cluster, and it may represent 'the most ancient star map ever found'. "Even the archaeo-astronomical orientation of the site is a confirmation, because it's clearly aligned to the rising point of the Pleiades," added Cossard.
     The first cup-marked boulder was located by Paolo Chiaberto, a colleague of Mr Cossard, while the second was identified during a survey in the same area. In fact, were Alessandro and Francesco, Cossard's sons, who discovered the second group of markings. On the boulders there is an additional cup mark, and it may represent the 7th Sister of the Pleiades, considered to be missing. Although the Pleiades are popularly termed the Seven Sisters, only six stars are easily visible to the naked eye, and a considerable mythology has grown up to account for the 'missing' Pleiad, since the times of Eratosthenes (276 BCE - 194 BCE). Additional details of the discovery will be presented in Lillianes City Council on January 17th at 9PM.

Source: ANSA, Virgilio Notizie (12 January 2008)

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