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
“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.
I’d found it!
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