Gavrinis 1: Its dimensions and geometrical framework

This article first appeared in my Matrix of Creation website in 2012 which was attacked, though an image had been made. Some of this material appeared in my Lords of Time book.

Gavrinis and Tables des Marchands are very similar monuments, both in the orientation of their passageways and their identical latitudeGavrinis is about 3900 metres east of Tables des Marchands but, unlike the latter, has a Breton name based upon the root GVR (gower). Both passageways directly express the difference between the winter solstice sunrise and the lunar maximum moonrise to the South, by designing the passages to allow these luminaries to enter at the exact day of the winter solstice or the most southerly moonrise over many lunar orbits, during the moon’s maximum standstill. Thus both the monuments allow the maximum moon along their passageway whilst the winter solstice sunrise can only glance into their end chambers.

From Howard Crowhurst’s work on multiple squares, we know that this difference in angle is that between a 3-4-5 triangle and the diagonal of a square which is achieved directly by the diagonal of a seven square rectangle.

Figure 1 The essence of difference between the winter solstice sunrise (as diagonal of 4 by 3 rectangle) and southerly maximum moonrise (as diagonal of a single square), on the horizon, is captured in the diagonal of a seven squares rectangle.
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Astronomical Time within Clava Cairns

In North East Scotland, near Inverness, lies Balnuaran of Clava, a group of three cairns with a unique and distinctive style, called Clava cairns; of which evidence of 80 examples have been found in that region. They are round, having an inner and outer kerb of upright stones between which are an infill of stones. They may or may not have a passageway from the outer to the inner kerb, into the round chamber within. At Balnuaran, two have passages on a shared alignment to the midwinter solstice. In contrast, the central ring cairn has no passage and it is staggered west of that shared axis.

This off-axis ring cairn could have been located to be illuminated by the midsummer sunrise from the NE Cairn, complementing the midwinter sunset to the south of the two passageways of the other cairns. Yet the primary and obvious focus for the Balnuaran complex is the midwinter sunset down the aligned passages. In fact, the ring cairn is more credibly aligned to the lunar minimum standstill of the moon to the south – an alignment which dominates the complex since, in that direction the horizon is nearly flat whilst the topography of the site otherwise suffers from raised horizons.

Cairns at Balnuaran of Clava. plan by A. Thom and pictures by Ian B. Wright
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