The new year has brought me an opportunity to revise and update the first edition (2000 AD) of Stonehenge, one of those little sparkly Wooden Books, a genre founded by John Martineau.
PART TWO – A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP
In Part One a single action began a process of investigation – I made a measurement of two physical realities. The first was the length of a line connecting Stonehenge centre to Woodhenge, centre, and the second was the angle of orientation that this line makes with respect to an east-west line, termed a co-azimuth angle. This second part of the article shows where that single action can lead a researcher into understanding presently unsuspected purposes within the designs of, in this case, Stonehenge and Woodhenge.
PART ONE – A LOST LEGACY
Soon after the distinguished Welsh archaeologist Maude Cunningham and her husband finished work excavating the site we now know as Woodhenge, in 1929, the locations of each of the site’s many revealed postholes were marked with grey concrete bollards. The best that can be said of this action was that it ensured their original exact positions were recorded for posterity (see Alexander Thom’s photograph below, from 1958, courtesy of Eoghann MacColl).
Visually, Woodhenge is neither a pretty nor an impressive site, unlike its nearest neighbour, Stonehenge, some 1.9 miles to the southwest. VIsitors to Woodhenge tend not to linger around this site, and soon slope off to nearby Durrington Walls, to the north, or Stonehenge, to the southwest. This article claims to lift the present Cinderella status afforded to this Neolithic class II henge and timber circle monument, by identifying a previously unrecognised significance in its geodetic placement with respect to Stonehenge.
1. Avebury is the largest known stone circle anywhere, with a surrounding ditch and bank a mile in circumference
2. The centre of Avebury is placed 4/7ths of the distance between equator and pole, at latitude 360/7*
3. A very detailed and accurate seven station closed traverse survey was undertaken by Professor Alexander Thom in 1978.
4. Thom reported that the perimeter of the outer stone ring was 1302.5 Megalithic yards (MY) of 2.722 feet, which is 3545.4 feet or 520 Megalithic rods ( 1 MR = 2.5 MY).
5. The geometry of the ring is based on a circle 200MY in radius (544 feet/ 1.66m) with centre at point D, exactly 60 MY from C (see diagram above).
6. A 3-4-5 pythagorean triangle ABC of side lengths 30-40-50 MR (75, 100 and 125 MY) defined much of the geometry. From the corners of this triangle (the stones/markers have long gone) three of the various arcs that make up the outer ring were struck. Their radii and arc lengths are as follows:
From A, B and C, each radius 260 MY, define arc FG, from A, arc HG, from B, and arc ML, from C.
In addition, there were two longer arcs struck from outside of the ring, of length 750 MY, from points W and Z (not shown on diagram). The remaining part of the perimeter is based on the forming circle perimeter, whose diameter is 200 MY..
7. The two inner circles are each 125 MY in radius and are therefore as big as any other true circle known in Britain, and the same size as the massive Ring of Brogar in the Orkneys.
8. Avebury, unlike nearly all other stone rings, has CORNERS, which demarcate the arc lengths. Thom
showed that all the arc lengths are integral in Megalithic rods, and total 1302.5 MY (521 MR)
9. Avebury is a MESS. The ring was heavily vandalised in history, has a village built within and
without it, and a major road system has quartered it (see piccy below). Most of the stones were fallen
or missing in 1930. Only nine still stood. Despite this, Alexander Keiller and other archaeologists were able to locate the majority of the remaining stone holes in the chalk and restore much of the original monument, The geometry of the original ring has since been discovered by AlexanderThom.
10. When built, the outer stone ring contained either 98 or 99 stones, some weighing over 50 tons.
AVEBURY TOUR (compressed) 2017 PDF file of full report.
Below is a review of Temple in the Hills, given a five star rating by the reviewer. It’s better than any Easter egg. Half the print run has gone after five months and the book section lets you know how you may acquire a copy. An early chapter from this book is blogged earlier on this site.
I am currently working on a second site in southern Britain, and it appears that the ground rules given in Temple in the Hills concerning the relationship between Stonehenge and the (earlier) ritual landscape of the Preseli Hills (bluestones, remember?) are applicable elsewhere within the major megalithic sites of Britain and Brittany.
To slightly adapt a commonly mentioned quote by Mike P-P, “There has never been a better time to be an archaeoastronomer.”
The Russia stones are three large (8ft) bluestone uprights, stonking great stones that were once part of a stone row marking to the Equinoctial (west – 270*)) sunset, part of a section of the Dinas Cross to Pontfaen road in the Preselis, near Russia (’tis true!), where the road markedly changes direction and traces the path of the alignment for about 470ft (170m). Two of remaining three upright stones are those stand in front of the sun’s disc in the distance. All other stones, some massive, now lie recumbent, buried in the bank, just as one can find at the minor standstill moonset ‘detector’ (301.4*) at Parc y Meirw (Field of the Dead) stone row on the Llanychaer road, about a mile away. Prehistoric precision astronomy at its best in Preseli, with photographs of the event…read on!
Thunderbirds are go! I have recently been invited to give a presentation on my work in the Preseli Hills at the first of the above events.
This first event is being held at the Memorial Hall in Newport, Pembs, which is located on the right as one leaves the village travelling on the A487 towards Fishguard. Please note that parking can be the devil’s own business there, so the Carpark down the hill may be a wise decision, travelling towards Fishguard, and before you get to the Memorial Hall, it’s on the left at the main crossroads in the town, and just a short walk gets you to the hall.
I am informed that fizzy drinks and canapes are going to be available, and I’m told by Paul Sanday, a geologist and the organiser of the event, also one of the speakers, that he wants to “get things moving on the debate about Stonehenge’s connections with the bluestone sites within the Preselis”. I wonder how much stirring of these dark and well muddied waters might he be looking for!? Usual photos, storyline and new research from me, plus question time and jolly books for sale with some humour. Could be a lot of fun.
The second event is hosted by the long standing, successfully managed and well informed West Wales Dowsers, associated with the BSD. The venue is Bronydd Village Hall, about two or three miles from Carmarthen on the main Newcastle Emlyn road to Cardigan. The post code is SA33 6BE for all you non-dowsers. And for those who eschew the sat-nav, one turns at the sign for the steam railway, following the road past the station, then, after about a quarter mile the village hall is on the left. The clue is that it looks just like a village hall, and is sited opposite Timberman and before the charming bridge over the river. Huge free carpark.
Doors open at 1:45 for a 2pm start. I’ll be presenting lots of stuff about my research, and my latest book, Temple in the Hills, plus a Q&A session, and you’ll also get the chance to mingle and chat with loads of nice folks into all manner of interesting aspects of the earth mystery genre. The secretary is Jennifer Forrest. Certainly better than watching an old black and white ‘B’ movie on the telly! All done by 4:30pm, in time for everyone to get home for Countryfile.
Here is a tarted up version of the first geodetic survey around Pentre Ifan and Carningli, in spring 2009. This first saw the light of cyberspace on the skyandlandscape (SL) website. The survey was undertaken with a Wild T16 theodolite, pegs, GPS device and tapes, and it revealed a complex isometric (equal lengths) megalithic structure across the eastern flank of Carningli mountain. The corner ‘points’ of two back-to back equilateral triangles were each marked with significant and large well known prehistoric monuments.
Read on! The PDF is free to go for students, megalithomaniacs, and even archaeologists (for non-commercial use only and the source must be credited). The whole story of this survey is told in a fully illustrated colour book Bluestone Magic – a Guide to the Megalithic Monuments of West Wales, available from this website (see books section for details as to how this book can be rapidly be found landing on your doormat).
The first review of my recent book, Temple of the Hills has been received from author and researcher Dr Thomas K Dietrich, whose most recent book, Temple of Heaven and Earth – Guide to Earth Energy & Inspiration at Sacred Sites was published by Save our Sacred Sites Society, San Bruno, California. It is a thorough and coherent account of the ancient roots of human encounters with what John Michell (in The View Over Atlantis) called ‘Spiritual Engineering’ and which has since come to be re-categorised as ‘earth energies’. A professional stone-image carver, once a student of the late Professor Rodney Smith during the 1960s, Dietrich has spent a lifetime reading ancient history, mythology and science, living in Ireland for thirteen years and travelling widely, investigating ancient sites throughout Europe, Corsica, Sardinia, Tenerife, Malta, Rhodes, Crete, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, the Red Sea, Israel, Jordan, in addition to the American Southwest, Mexico, Yucatan, Belize, Guatemala and South America, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru.
An active researcher, Dr Dietrich has written The Earth Holder (1983), The Origin of Culture and Civilisation (2005), The Culture of Astronomy (2011) and Temple of Heaven and Earth (2016).
Dr Dietrich is therefore among the rather too few people who are amply experienced and qualified enough to be able to write a critical review of my own work, for which I warmly thank him.
For more details of his research, visit his website cosmomyth.com
Photograph Two. Castell Mawr Henge. Larger than Stonehenge Over 500 feet ‘diameter’, this site sits perched on the flat summit of a rounded hill near Eglwyswrw, north of the Main Preseli ridge and off to the left of the dolmen in the previous photograph (Image via the wonderful Google Earth).