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
Megalithic science claims to be able to provide a skill set whereby it becomes possible to understand the long-forgotten rules or lost prehistoric science needed to fathom out the purpose or function of a megalithic design that has stood there waiting to be understood for thousands of years. This experience can and often does confer an awesome sense of privilege, and it can connect a researcher directly to their far distant roots, seeing directly into the mindset of their ancestors. Once a few and quite simple rules are understood, the design rules, astronomy, units of length and geometry originally applied by the original architect(s) and/or builder(s) of a megalithic monument can be revealed. This methodology is presently and sadly not recognised by mainstream prehistoric archaeologists.
The various techniques and methodologies by which this recovery process is brought about has been described in many of my books and articles, and in many other works by other relevant researchers in this field. The experiences which led me to be able to write on this subject are perfectly crystallized below, when investigating the relationship between Stonehenge and Woodhenge.
Measuring the Distance between Stonehenge Centre and Woodhenge Centre
In Part One a single action began the process of investigation. I made a measurement of two physical realities : firstly the length of a line connecting Stonehenge centre to Woodhenge, centre, and, secondly, 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. A set of functions are revealed, functions or purposes which presently, no other technique being applied by archaeologists can offer.
I had measured the distance between these two henge monuments previously, and even the angle, in 2003, during the writing of The Measure of Albion (Bluestone Press, 2004, co-authored with John Michell (a facsimile is available in the USA under the title The Lost Science of Measuring the World, 2006, AUP). At the time this data became buried with a mass of other material had been gathered at the time. I had derived the length from the OS map coordinates, and this has since become the quaintly old fashioned way! Google Earth arrived soon after 2003, providing an astonishingly useful tool for this kind of work, although it can be fraught with dangers in this work unless backed up with site work on the ground. Google Earth, like the map, is not the territory. (adapted from Alfred Korzybyski, with apologies!). Researchers will need to recognise that the model of the earth (The Geoid) used by the British Ordnance Survey in making maps of Britain is coded OSGB36, whereas Google Earth uses WGS84 (World Geophysical Survey 1984.) Conversions from one system to the other are available on the web.
The 10033 feet measurement shown in the illustration above was taken centre to centre, using Google Earth. For Stonehenge, the centre was assumed to be that location where the diagonals of the 5:12 station stones rectangle cross each other. The corners of this rectangle were originally occupied by moderately large stones. They were set a few inches inboard of the Aubrey circle perimeter and asynchronous with its hole spacing (see diagram below).
More detail: Stone 91 now lies recumbent next to its original stone hole and stone 93 is a large solitary stump over to southwest of Stonehenge. There are two missing stations, 92 and 94, but fortunately the location of their original holes has been established (Atkinson, et al). The centre of the Aubrey circle, marked as explained above, is depicted below, on a useful diagram that also indicates the principal solar and lunar orientations at Stonehenge and the direction of Woodhenge centre, which remains clearly marked by a solitary drab concrete bollard.
Stonehenge centre to Woodhenge centre = 10033 feet ( ± 3 feet)
It is estimated that this measurement, from centre to centre, is accurate to better than plus or minus three feet of the value given above.
Maxing the Factors
Now look what happens when one discovers the component factors present within this number,
10033 (feet) = 13 x 283.6 x 2.722
The number 10033 feet can be represented by a tryptych containing three relevant numbers, each familiar to a student of megalithic science.
A).The number thirteen is inherently the numerical signature of the longest side length (hypotenuse) of a 5:12:13 triangle.
B). The number 283.6 is the mean diameter in feet of the Aubrey circle, established by professors Alexander Thom and Richard Atkinson, during their 1973 survey of Stonehenge. Each Aubrey hole was located by Atkinson by probing and resistivity testing, and its centre established and marked with a survey pin (Thom & Thom, JHA, 1974, op cit, see Part One).
C). 2.722 is the numerical value of the megalithic yard in feet, a unit that was originally discovered by Alexander Thom following two statistical methodologies prepared by the top Oxbridge statisticians of the time and based on analysis of the diameters of over 150 stone circles. (see Thom, MSIB, 1967, Chapter 5, and Thom & Thom, MRBB, 1978 , Chapter 4)
The point to point measurement of 10033 feet is also associated with an angle so similar to that of the apex angle of a 5:12:13 triangle that it may reasonably be assumed to have been intentional, part of whatever process of laying out the bearings from Stonehenge took place, prior to Woodhenge’s construction. This tends to support the present archaeological view that Stonehenge was the first of these two henges to be erected.
But did Stonehenge come first? This is an important question that must not be hurried in the answer. The earliest known structures in the immediate Stonehenge landscape are those three massive post holes which incongruously became known as the ‘car-park post holes’ during the 1970s building of the now defunct earlier Visitor’s Centre and tunnel. Their locations were eventually marked with large white painted circles of concrete.
Whether the Woodhenge site may or may not have been later adapted throughout its long history, it remains true that the earliest known building work on this henge site included some very large post holes.The post holes for Woodhenge indicate that the posts would have been extremely massive, requiring similarly large retaining holes, particularly if the assumed wooden posts were long enough to support a roof structure. Evidence exists, for Cunningham’s excavators indeed found that there were ‘deep ramps to all the holes in Ring III‘. Thom also states (Thom, MSIB,1968, p 75) that ‘if the posts were 2.88 ft (in) diameter the inside of the structure would be a perfect fit‘ (to the sequence of perimeter lengths, discussed in Part One).
But what if those sixteen holes in Ring III were originally not intended for wooden posts? It is by no means a done deal that they were, is it? Their diameter is well matched to many of the eighty or so bluestones that remain on the Stonehenge site today. Might Woodhenge have once housed a bluestone circle during the five centuries gap that currently haunts researchers into the origins of the bluestones. Woodhenge has been somewhat neglected over the years, a wooden Cinderella to its stoney sister, Stonehenge. Viewed sideway on, at ground level, it may resemble a load of bollards, but Thom’s surveyed plan (and Part One and the diagrams here) suggest that Woodhenge is far more interesting than that.
The Unit Length of a Triangle
For any size triangle laid out in two dimensional space, the unit length can be found by dividing the measured length of the perimeter, in any chosen unit of length, by the number of ‘units’ in the perimeter. For a known and accurate 5:12:13 Pythagorean triangle, the perimeter units total thirty, the sum of the side lengths [13+12+5]. For the triangle under investigation, the perimeter length totals 23,153 feet and the unit length becomes that value divided by 30, (see below).
Because the apex angle is negligibly different to that of a 5:12:13 triangle, the unit length can also be derived simply by dividing the 13 side length by 13. But this answer assumes that the 5:12:13 triangle is exact, and geodetic triangles laid out on the ground are almost never exact. However, for this example, on flat territory and over a small area, one would expect the unit length derived from the 13 side alone to be extremely closely matched to that derived from the total sum of all three lengths of this triangle, measured along the ground.
The two side lengths shown in red (on the diagram above) were measured using Google Earth. As an exercise, the reader may like to determine the difference between the unit length derived from the ’13” side alone and that determined from separate measurements taken of all three sides using Google Earth.
There is no substitute for being on site. Walking around this location shows that there is no surface sign that a right angle for this triangle was ever permanently marked, or monumentalised directly, although its location is strongly suggested by the geometry and metrology. A good place to dig, perhaps, but not, not ever, by other than qualified archaeologists who have the required blessings of EH and WHO.
For this example, the best estimate for the unit length is that derived from the ’13’ side alone. The 13th part of that length separating the centre of Stonehenge from the centre of Woodhenge becomes the unit length of the triangle, in whichever unit of length one chooses to measure it with. In feet it is the product of 283.6 and 2.722 , which is 771.77 (feet).
Unit length of the ’13’ side of the triangle = 771.77 feet
But this is also 283.6 megalithic yards (771.77 feet / 2.722 feet), numerically the mean Aubrey Circle diameter expressed in the larger unit of the megalithic yard, instead of the 283.6 feet (mean diameter) of the Aubrey circle. The three factors revealed above can now reduce to just two, and the length 10035 feet is seen to contain 13 lengths of 283.6 megalithic yards.
The 10035 feet distance connecting Stonehenge (centre) and Woodhenge (centre) is thirteen ‘super-Aubrey’ circles… (if you like)!
10035 feet = 13 x 283.6 megalithic yards
The Perimeter Length
The perimeter of a 5:12:13 Pythagorean triangle can be estimated by multiplying the length of the 13 side by 30/13, as shown above. This delivered 23,153 feet or 8,505.9 megalithic yards. The perimeter may also be measured using Google Earth for each of its three sides, and this presents an almost identical length, at 23,151.8 feet.
In Part Three, the consequences of this research will make it possible to recover yet more useful information from the designs of Stonehenge and Woodhenge, taken together. And we will then make a journey to the Preseli Hills of West Wales, where interest widens way beyond those outcrops that have proved to be the source of many of the Stonehenge bluestones.
Additional Notes : It is fortunate in this work that the foot and the megalithic yard have remained clearly defined and recogniseable units of length. Thom’s megalithic yard became recognised during modern times in Megalithic Sites in Britain (Oxford, 1967). Metrologist John Neal, in various metrological publications from 2000 onwards, proposed that the megalithic yard should more correctly have been named a megalithic step, being 2.5 times the length of the foot from which it derives within the traditional system of metrology, and not three times that length (a yard).
Neal identified the foot from which the megalithic yard derives to be the Geographical value of the Belgic foot (1.08617 feet). The root value of the root Belgic foot holds a ratio of 15:14 with the ‘root’ value of the English foot.
Similarly, Thom’s megalithic fathom (5.44 feet = 2 megalithic yards) would be better termed a pace, but Thom’s megalithic rod, (6.805 feet = 2.5 megalithic yards) sits comfortably within the canon, because a rod can be a double royal cubit, here based on a royal cubit whose single length is 3.403 feet.
In comparison, the inner and outer diameters of the sarsen circle accurately measure 28 and 30 double royal cubits at geographical value (3.4757485 feet), respectively.
Robin Heath, December 2017 StoneAgeSurveys skyandlandscape.com
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.
The Brief History of Woodhenge’s Discovery
Originally, what became Woodhenge was first discovered in modern times during the first half of the nineteenth century, as ‘earthworks’ thought by some archaeologists of the time to be a disc barrow. It had been named Dough Cover, surely the first reference to the site’s henge shape. In 1926 Woodhenge’s discovery was amongst the first triumphs of the new science of aerial photography, and the site was first positively identified from an aerial photograph taken by Squadron Leader (later Group Captain) Gilbert Insall, VC, in 1926, during a survey of Wessex by Alexander Keiller and OGS Crawford. Keiller later undertook the pioneering restoration work at Avebury, during the 1930s, and Crawford was Archaeology Officer for the Ordnance Survey and later became the editor of Antiquity. Having recognised the importance of the site, renowned archaeologists Maud and Ben Cunningham immediately began work excavating the site, and by 1929 their survey report confirmed that it was indeed a henge.
In 1958 and again in 1973, Alexander Thom undertook a survey of the Woodhenge ‘bollards’, a simplified version of his original plan of the site appearing in Megalithic Sites in Britain (Oxford, 1967, p74) site. His original site plan is reproduced below.
Thom wrote that a ‘very careful survey’ of the site, ‘using steel tape and theodolite, was made of the concrete posts which the excavators placed in the post-holes in the chalk’. He then linked the site with Stonehenge astronomically by pointing out that the axis of the site aligns to ‘the point on the horizon where the midsummer sun first appeared about 1800 BC’.
The calculated ‘first flash’ azimuth is indeed 49.2 degrees when the given figures for the latitude of the site and horizon altitude are entered into the standard formula (see below).
A hawk-eyed reader may spot that on the plan published in MSIB the solstitial sunrise is given a declination of 24.2 degrees, which corresponds to a date around 4800 BC, far too early for all dating estimates of Woodhenge. The original plan (above) gave the declination in Thom’s own handwriting, at 23.9 degrees, and a theodolite measured horizon altitude of 0.5 degrees.
STONE AGE SURVEYS
QUICKAZ – Finds azimuths in a flash!
1. Determining solstice sunrise at Woodhenge, circa 1800BC (dec 23.9 degrees)
The proposed sunrise is in the NE quadrant.
Epoch 1800BC, Declination = 23.914, Latitude = 51.2, Horizon Altitude = 0.5 degrees
Correction for Earth’s Curvature = 1.37197E-06, Parallax Correction = .002 degrees,
Refraction Correction = 0.55 degrees
^ ^ ^
********- horizon -****^****^****^**********
First Flash = 49.20144 degrees
disc half risen = 49.61157 degrees
disc on horizon = 50.42171 degrees
The same formula run with 24.2 degrees declination (4,800 BC) give the following rise azimuths for the sun:
2. Determining solstice sunrise at Woodhenge, circa 4800BC (Dec 24.2 degrees)
^ ^ ^
********- horizon -****^****^****^**********
First Flash = 48.64856 degrees
disc half risen = 49.06212 degrees
disc on horizon = 49.8788 degrees
Program by Robin Heath, Stone Age Surveys, 28th November 2017
The geometry of Woodhenge is shown to be one of a family of designs which mostly occur on the western side of Wales (Castell Mawr and Hirnant), and in Brittany. The various arcs are struck from the points of a triangle, usually of integer side-lengths and Pythagorean (right angle triangles). Sometimes the ‘blunt end’ is semi-elliptical (Castell Mawr) rather than semi-circular (Woodhenge). The plan of Woodhenge given above shows the design to be based around a 12:35:37 Pythagorean triangle, from whose corners the various arcs are struck to define the perimeter. The arcs at the blunt end share a common centre at A, whilst those at the sharp end share a common centre at C. The measured distance between A and C is 6 megalithic yards (2.72 feet), which makes the triangle 12:35:37 in units of half a megalithic yard.
From point B the flatter arcs are struck to then complete the perimeter.
Woodhenge consists of a set of concentric arcs struck from each point of the triangle, with one gap (see plan). It is the perimeters which reveal the true nature of the design. While the radii are not integral multiples of the megalithic yard, the perimeters turned out to be of lengths close to 160, 140, (gap), 100, 80, 60, 40 megalithic yards. For each ring the radius of the arc at the ‘sharp end’ is 1 megalithic yard smaller than that struck from the ‘blunt end’ (MSIB Table 6.5 shown below, author’s commentary in brackets).
Ring Perimeter (My) R1(My0 Major axis P(actual)
I 160 24.02 53.04 161.0
II 140 20.84 46.67 138.2
III 100 14.47 33.94 104.2
[The same perimeter as the Aubrey circle diameter 283.6 feet = 104.188 feet]
IV 80 11.29 27.58 79.9
V 60 8.10 21.21 61.3
VI 40 4.92 14.84 39.4
Thom noted that there were deep ramps to all the holes of ring III, and that the holes averaged at 2.88 feet diameter (7.839 feet). He concluded that very large posts had been used, ‘carrying perhaps a platform or roof‘ [or maybe a bluestone or two?]. He further noted that the ring was 4 per cent larger than expected, and that holes of the above larger diameter would assure ‘the inside of the structure would be a perfect fit‘.
Neglecting ring III, Thom applied his statistical methodology, designed by mathematician and statistician Dr Simon Broadbent, to find from the values of P(actual), the value of the megalithic yard which best fits Woodhenge. This turned out to be about 2.718, a value so close to his later value for the megalithic yard ( 2.722 feet) as ‘to show that we can be quite certain we are using the identical geometrical construction to that used by the builders‘.
To briefly digress, when I was staying with the Thom family in preparation for writing the biographical account of Thom’s life and work (Alexander Thom: Cracking the Stone Age Code, Bluestone Press 2007) the full nature and extent of the excoriation this pioneering archaeoastronomer had endured from the negative reaction to his work from many mainstream prehistorians and archaeologists was laid bare in front of me. This became known within archaeology as ‘Thom bashing’ and ‘Thomfoolery’. However, some of the leading prehistoric archaeologists of that time (Atkinson, Burl, Case, MacKie) were both amicable and quite accepting of his work and studied the implications of accepting the claims Thom had made concerning the capabilities of Neolithic megalith builders. What was also painfully true was that many of his most vehement critics were neither equipped nor qualified to assess the numerical nature of Thom’s findings. Interested readers can glimpse the nature of this energetic debate – a fascinating vignette of a true pioneer who arrived on the scene during the most turbulent time in the recent history of archaeology – by watching the archived 1970 BBC ‘Chronicle‘ documentary, Cracking the Stone Age Code, available on the web (search ‘BBC archive Chronicle Thom’). They do not make documentaries like that any more.
What happens when Stonehenge and Woodhenge get together
Thom first surveyed Woodhenge in 1957-8 while he was still professor of Engineering at Brasenose College, Oxford. By the time of the 1973 Stonehenge surveys he had retired and moved back to the family farm (The Hill) in Dunlop, Ayrshire. He enjoyed full assistance during that work from his son, oceanographer Dr Archibald Thom, professor Richard Atkinson, Stonehenge custodian Major Lance Vatcher and members of the Survey Branch, Royal School of Artillery. His report first appeared in the Journal for the History of Astronomy, Vol 5, part 2, No 13, June 1974), and a version of this paper later appeared in Megalithic Remains in Britain and Brittany (Thom and Thom, Oxford, 1978).
It dawned on me while working on the relationship between Stonehenge and Woodhenge that Alexander Thom is probably the only individual who has ever undertaken an accurate survey of both monuments. I was particularly aware of this during a trip to the Stonehenge landscape with John Michell in 2003. While setting up a theodolite on an anonymous barrow some 3700 feet from Stonehenge, I noted that all three sites lay on a straight line connecting Stonehenge with Woodhenge. When I returned in 2014 (with a better theodolite) I had more time to study this linearity and its relationship with the sky and landscape.
The centres of the two henge sites are spaced 10033 feet apart. Defining the centre of Stonehenge is rather harder to estimate than for Woodhenge, due to each phase of the former monument having a slightly different centre than the others (Thom, JHA 1974, op cit). I used the crossing point of the two diagonals of the station stone rectangle, as shown below ( lower left). The measurement is from Google earth, and estimated to be accurate to within two or three feet, based on a normal surveying practice of defining a previously laid out base line, in this case the measured distance between the eponymous Cuckoo stone and Woodhenge centre, some 1350 feet in length, and using Google earth to compare the accuracy of that already known length with the length delivered by GE for the unreachable (out of bounds) centre of Stonehenge!
The azimuth or bearing of this line, looking from Woodhenge to Stonehenge, is 247 degrees and 23 minutes, obtained from a sun-shoot. Looking up the line from Stonehenge, this azimuth angle (the angle between north is 67 degrees and 23 minutes’, and the angle from the white east-west line (illustrated above) is therefore 22 degrees 37 minutes). This is significant, for it is uniquely the acute angle of a Pythagorean 5:12:13 triangle. It means that the two thin white lines above, each aligned to the cardinal points of the compass, for the ’12’ side and the ‘5’ side of the triangle, and have lengths, according to Pythagoras’ theorem, of 9261 feet and 3858 feet respectively. There is no sign of any monument at the point where these lines meet, at the right angle, although a dig there may prove fruitful for anyone up for the task and who has permission from the custodians of this World Heritage site!
Here’s where the application of megalithic science begins to deliver big dividends. There has so far been no digging, no invasion of the site, no massive expense and yet already this investigation is able to change the way we look at these two henge monuments, separately and as a pair. And there has been neither the harming of any archaeologists, nor employment of loony fringe ideas. Just one angle and one length accurately measured using precision instruments up to the task.
There is already an existing 5:12:13 triangle implied within the 5:12 station stone rectangle, once described by Aubrey Burl as ‘near perfect’. The diagonals of this construction are 13 of the same units that make up the known and measured ‘5’ and ’12’ sides, and the three measurements are 108.8 feet 261.2 feet and 283.6 feet, respectively. It is the 13 side of a 5:12:13 triangle that is our measured length from Stonehenge to Woodhenge, measured as 10033 feet.
As they say on the sport news, look away now if you don’t want to see the result.
Now for the good bit – 10035.47 feet = 283.6 x 13 x 2.722 feet.
Alternatively 13 x The Aubrey circle diameter (expressed in megalithic yards) = 3686 megalithic yards
[99.98% of the measured value, using the later value for the megalithic yard determined by Thom during the 1973 Stonehenge survey (Thom, JHA,1974, op cit) and confirmed by the Avebury survey of 1975 – 6, (Thom & Thom, MRBB 1978, op cit, pp 36-43)].
Thus it appears, based on this first step in investigating the relationship between Stonehenge and Woodhenge, that these two henges relate to each other, through a fundamental measurement of the Aubrey circle, namely its mean diameter (Thom, 1974, JHA, op cit), which is fundamentally and intelligently incorporated into the distance that separates their two centres.
That is enough for the first part of this article. Result.
Robin Heath StoneAgeSurveys 3rd December 2017
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 the quote from Mike P-P, “There has never been a better time to be an archaeoastronomer.”
Three yonking great stones that mark 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 follows 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 are now recumbent, and lie buried in the bank, just as one finds at the minor standstill moonset ‘detector’ (301.4*) at Parc y Meirw (Field of the Dead) on the Llanychaer road, about a mile away. Prehistoric precision astronomy at its best in Preseli!
For nearly ten years I have had to wait in order to capture the sun’s disc located at the end of this alignment during its setting moments on the day of the spring equinox. For more details, avail yourself of a copy of Bluestone Magic, a Guide to the Prehistoric Monuments of West Wales – as these sheep clearly did – page 56 and elsewhere, which contains colour photos and explanatory text about these two robust alignment sites.
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 stuff 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 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).