Day-inch counting at the Manio Quadrilateral

It is 10 years since my brother and I surveyed this remarkable monument which demonstrates what megalithic astronomy was capable of around 4000 BC, near Carnac. The Quadrilateral is the earliest clear demonstration of day-inch counting of the solar year, and lunar year of 12 lunar months, both over three years. The lunar count was 1063.125 day-inches long and the solar 1095.75 day-inches, leaving a difference of 32.625 day-inches. This length was probably the origin of a number of later megalithic yards, which had different uses.

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paper: The Origins of Day-Inch Counting

This paper presents the theory that in the Megalithic period, around 4500-4000 BCE, astronomical time periods were counted as one day to one inch to form primitive metrological lengths that could then be compared, to reveal the fundamental ratios between the solar year, lunar year, and lunar month and hence define a solar-lunar calendar. The means for comparison used was to place lengths as the longer sides of right angled triangles, leading to a unique slope angle. Our March 2010 survey of Le Manio supports this theory.

St Pierre 1: Jupiter and the Moon

The egg-shaped stone circles of the megalithic, in Brittany by c. 4000 BC and in Britain by 2500 BC, seem to express two different astronomical time lengths, beside each other as (a) a circumference and then (b) a longer, egg-shaped extension of that circle. It was Alexander Thom who analysed stone circles in the 20th century as a hobby, surveying most of the surviving stone circles in Britain and finding geometrical patterns within irregular circles. He speculated the egg-shaped and flattened circles were manipulating pi so as to equal three (not 3.1416) between an initial radius and subsequent perimeter, so making them commensurate in integer units. For example, the irregular circle would have perimeter 12 and a radius of 4 (a flattened circle).

However, when the forming circle and perimeter are compared, these can compare the two lengths of a right-triangle while adding a recurring nature: where the end is a new beginning. Each cycle is a new beginning because the whole geocentric sky is rotational and the planetary system orbital. The counting of time periods was more than symbolic since the two astronomical time periods became, by artifice, related to one another as two integer perimeters that is, commensurate to one another, as is seen at St Pierre (fig.3).

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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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Models of Time within Henges and Circles

image: composite, see figure 1 below

Presenting important information clearly often requires the context be shown, within a greater whole. Map makers often provide an inset, showing a larger map at a smaller scaling (as below, of South America) within a detailed map (of Southern Mexico).

This map is shown in the context of South America with a yellow rectangle which is the part blown up in scale. The subject is the Quetzal birds range which corresponds well to the Olmec then Maya heartlands leading to the god named Quetzalcoatl or Feathered Serpent. (see chapter 8 of Heath, 2018.)

Megalithic astronomy generated maps of time periods, using lines, triangles, diameters and perimeters, in which units of measure represented one day to an inch or to a foot. To quantify these periods, alignments on the horizon pointing to sun and moon events were combined with time counting between these events,where days, accumulated as feet or inches per day, form a counted length. When one period was much longer than another, the shorter could be counted in feet per day and the smaller in inches per so that both counts could share the same monumental space. In this article we find the culture leading to megalithic astronomy and stone circles, previously building circular structures called henges, made of concentric banks and ditches.

Thornborough Henge
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