Atlas Obscura is organizing trips! Join us on an adventure »
Today Only: 50% off Atlas Obscura books and calendars at Barnes & Noble »

Ehlanzeni, South Africa

Adam's Calendar

Hidden in the hills is an ancient stone structure, known only to a few, that some claim to be the oldest megalithic site in the world. 

In 2003, South African pilot Johan Heine was flying over the hills of the gorgeous Mpumalanga region of South Africa when he crashed his plane into the mountainside. After exiting the plane, Heine saw before him three monolithic, five-ton dolomite stones sticking out of the ground, and behind them a giant stone circle. The befuddled pilot didn’t know it yet, but he had just discovered an ancient manmade structure.

Known to only a select few and accessible solely by rough dirt roads past the wild horses of Kaapschehoop, the megalithic stone calendar is dubbed Adam’s Calendar. One archaeologist, Michael Tellinger, has claimed it is the oldest manmade structure in the world, though that claim has been disputed.

With the shape of a circle and a diameter of 100 feet, it is nicknamed the “Birthplace of the Sun” and dubbed “Africa’s Stonehenge.” Tellinger believes that the stone circle is aligned with the world’s equinoxes, solstices, and the cardinal directions of north, south, east, and west. He notes that the stones of Adam’s Calendar were built in alignment with Orion’s Belt, which follows a 26,000 year long cycle around the Earth. This leads Tellinger to believe that the calendar is as much as 250,000 years old, although the most commonly used figure is 75,000 years—still a full 16 times older than the Great Pyramids of Giza. As of now, the true age of Adam’s Calendar remains a mystery that is yet to be solved.