Erdeven Alignment’s counting of Metonic and Saros Periods

first published in March 2018

The word Alignment is used in France to describe its stone rows. Their interpretation has been various, from being an army turned to stone (a local myth) to their use, like graph paper, for extrapolation of values (Thom). That stone rows were alignments to horizon events gives a partial but useful explanation, since menhirs (or standing stones) do form a web of horizon alignments to solstice sun and to the moon’s extreme rising and setting event, at maximum and minimum standstill. At Carnac the solstice sun was aligned to the diagonal of the 4 by 3 rectangle and maximum and minimum standstill moon aligned to the diagonal of a single or double square, respectively.

It seems quite clear today that stone rows at least represented the counting of important astronomical time periods. We have seen at Crocuno that eclipse periods, exceeding the solar year, are accompanied by some rectalinear structures (Le Manio, Crucuno, Kerzerho) which embody counting in miniature, as if to record it, and it has been observed that cromlechs (or large stone kerb monuments) were built at the ends of the long stone rows of Carnac and Erdeven. Sometimes, a cromlech initiated a longer count,with or without stone rows, that ended with a rectangle (Crucuno). The focus on counting time naturally reveals a vernacular quite unique to this region and epoch. We have seen that the Kerzerho alignments were at least a 4 by 3 rectangle which recorded the 235 lunar months in feet along its diagonal to midsummer solstice sunset. After that rectangle there follows a massive Alignment of stone rows to the east,ending after 2.3 km having gradually changed their bearing to 15 degrees south of east. Just above the alignments lies a hillock with multiple dolmens and a north-south stone row (Mané Braz) whilst below its eastern extremity lies the tumulus and dolmen,”T-shaped passage-grave” (Burl. Megalithic Brittany. 196) called Mané Groh.


Figure 1 The intermittent extent of the Erdevan Alignments, and associated dolmens
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Number Symbolism at Table des Marchands

Table des Marchands, a dolmen at Lochmariaquer, can explain how the Megalithic came to factorise 945 days as 32 lunar months by looking at the properties of the numbers three, four and five. At that latitude, the solstice angle of the sun on the horizon shone along the 5-side of a 3-4-5 triangle to east and west, seen clearly at the Crucuno Rectangle "Lunar Counting from Crucuno Dolmen to its Rectangle".

Before numbers were individually notated (as with our 3, 4 and 5 rather than |||, |||| and |||||) and given positional notation (like our decimal seen in 945 and 27), numbers were lengths or marks and, when marks are compared to accurately measured lengths measured out in inches, feet, yards, etc. then each vertical mark would naturally have represented a single unit of length. This has not been appreciated as having been behind marks like the cuneiform for ONE; that it probably meant “one unit of length”.


Figure 1 The end and cap stone inside the dolmen Table des Marchands in which the elementary numbers in columns and rows perhaps inspired its attribution to the accounts of merchants
Locmariaquer (Morbihan, Bretagne, France) : la Table des Marchand, interieur.
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Lunar Counting from Crucuno Dolmen to its Rectangle

Figure 1 The entrance of Crucuno’s cromlech, which opens to the south-east
[Summer Solstice, 2007]

It is not immediately obvious the Crucuno dolmen (figure 1) faces the Crucuno rectangle about 1100 feet to the east. The role of dolmen appears to be to mark the beginning of a count. At Carnac’s Alignments there are large cromlechs initiating and terminating the stone rows which, more explicitly, appear like counts. The only (surviving) intermediate stone lies 216 feet from the dolmen, within a garden and hard-up to another building, as with the dolmen (see figure 2). This length is interesting since it is twice the longest inner dimension of the Crucuno rectangle, implying that lessons learned in interpreting the rectangle might usefully apply when interpreting the distance at which this outlier was placed from the dolmen. Most obviously, the rectangle is 4 x 27 feet wide and so the outlier is 8 x 27 feet from the dolmen.

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