It is not often that one makes an original discovery, but I believe that by a careful application of logic and a bit of luck of I may have achieved just that.

I was amazed discover on various enthusiast sites that the megalithic stone circle of Mzora (also spelt variously Msoura/Mezorah) in Morocco is listed as location unknown. This large Neolithic ellipse consisting of 168 surviving stones with a major diameter of nearly 60 metres cannot, apparently, be located on any map and reliable latitude and longitude co-ordinates for it are entirely absent. The website Megalithic Portal confirm that although the GPS co-ordinates provided are only approximate the site can be reached by car from the nearest town (Asilah) with the reluctant help of locals (kengelma. (2007). Msoura - Stone Circle in Morocco. Available: http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=16110. Last accessed 13th January 2011).

If those that have visited the monument more recently have taken a GPS reading, they don't appear to have made it publicly available. Indeed the Panaromio (photograph) layer of Google Earth was of no use when I started hunting because there are multiple sites in that area of Morocco that users had identified as the correct one which added to the confusion (for example http://www.panoramio.com/photo/14736610).

The uncertainty as to its actual location is echoed in Robert Temple’s new book Egyptian Dawn:

“It has always been extraordinarily difficult to find Mezorah […] Maps are of limited use. No road approaches the site nearer than several miles’ distance.”  Temple, Robert (2010). Egyptian Dawn. London: Century. p384

And also

I have not been there since GPS devices became available. I have tried to find it on Google Earth, but the name is not given on the maps, and when searching the terrain visually, one gets the information that ‘that zoom level’ of satellite photography is not available for that area, so Mezorah (M’Zora) appears impossible to find by this means also. One would have to have access to a military satellite to find it.” Temple, Robert (2010). Egyptian Dawn. London: Century. p385

However I believe I have located this 'lost' Moroccan stone circle using available public domain information and Google Earth. 

The information on Megalithic Portal gave the location of the site as 25km south of Asilah. However if this were true the nearest town to the site would be Larache not Asilah. I therefore rejected this information as erroneous.

Having established that the site was near the town of Asilah and seen that the co-ordinates given at both Megalithic Portal and on Google earth Community (http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showthreaded&Number=175102 ) indicated a similar area, although didn’t locate the circle itself, they gave me a ‘ballpark’ area to search. So, using an old aerial photo of the site from a travel website (http://lexicorient.com/morocco/mzoura.htm), I fired up Google Earth and hunted for a match.
Picture
Aerial Photo from http://lexicorient.com/morocco/mzoura.htm
After a few minutes of searching and several false alarms, I spotted an area that looked promising. I re-orientated the image on Google Earth to match the aerial photo and, wow! That’s a pretty good match.
Picture
Screen shot of the site from Google Earth orientated to match aerial photo
The idiosyncratic tree-line matches, the buildings appear in the correct place and the distinctive ‘X’ shaped scar of earlier excavations also appears to fit. Using the ruler function within Google Earth I did a rough measurement of the diameter of the ellipse which came to just over 56 metres. This confirmed that the object was of the right dimensions in the right part of Morocco and matched remarkably closely the aerial photograph. 
I’d found it!
Picture
Screen shot of the site from Google Earth orientated to North
I can therefore say with some confidence (and for the first time) that the 'lost' megalithic stone circle of Mzora is located at the following co-ordinates:

35⁰24’14.89”N 5⁰56’37.88”W
Or in Decimal: 35.404139, -5.943848

I hope these new, accurate, co-ordinates enable further research into the astronomical alignments that exist and allow more people to (responsibly) visit this remarkable monument.

EDIT: I've written a further brief summary of why Mzora is such an interesting and important site. See my post The Mysterious Moroccan Megalithic Menhirs of Mzora.
    
©Graham Salisbury 2011

 


19/01/2011 17:46

wow! wonderful! it`s interesting!

Reply
Michael B
19/01/2011 21:29

"I can therefore say with some confidence (and for the first time) that the 'lost' megalithic stone circle of Mzora is located at the following co-ordinates:"

If you enabled the Panoramio layer you would see a group of shots that someelse had already taken and placed (unless you are the user 'asilah tourism' on Panoramio.

Reply
Graham Salisbury
20/01/2011 04:18

Michael B

Thank you for your comments. The Panaromio layer was of no use when I started hunting because there are multiple sites that Panaromio users had identified as the correct one which added to the confusion.

Reply
Peter
06/02/2011 09:09

Graham, Google Maps shows for the coordinates you mention a road between fields, but nothing like a stone circle of 55 mr diameter. Is it lost again, or can you please recheck the coordinates ? Thanks, Peter

Reply
Peter
06/02/2011 09:15

Graham, false alarm, the problem was that Google Maps automatically zooms in to the nearest surfaced road R417 as a consequence of which the stone circle is not visible in the view. You're right on the spot. Thanks.

Reply
Bjarne Rosenstom
08/07/2014 12:35

I visited this monument a few days ago. A fantastic site. Easy to find. Just take Route 417 from the Tanger-Rabat Highway and turn left when you reach the sign to Mzora. The place is now fenced in and watched over by one the the neighbouring houses (they have the key to the gate).

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Graham Salisbury