Interpreting Lochmariaquer in 2012, an early discovery was of a near-Pythagorean triangle with sides 18, 19 and 6. This year I found that triangle as between the start of the Erdevan Alignments near Carnac. But how did this work on cosmic N:N+1 triangles get started?
Robin Heath’s earliest work, A Key to Stonehenge (1993) placed his Lunation Triangle within a sequence of three right-angled triangles which could easily be constructed using one megalithic yard per lunar month. These would then have been useful in generating some key lengths proportional to the lunar year:
the number of lunar months in the solar year,
the number of lunar orbits in the solar year and
the length of the eclipse year in 30-day months.
all in lunar months. These triangles are to be constructed using the number series 11, 12, 13, 14 so as to form N:N+1 triangles (see figure 1).
n.b. In the 1990s the primary geometry used to explore megalithic astronomy was N:N+1 triangles, where N could be non-integer, since the lunation triangle was just such whilst easily set out using the 12:13:5 Pythagorean triangle and forming the intermediate hypotenuse to the 3 point of the 5 side. In the 11:12 and 13:14 triangles, the short side is not equal to 5.
Only two type-D stone circles (see figure 3) are
known to exist, called Roughtor (in Cornwall) and Seascale (in Cumbria). Seascale
is assessed below, for the potential this type of flattened circle had to
provide megalithic astronomers with a calendrical observatory. Seascale could also
have modelled the harmonic ratios of the visible outer planets relative to the
lunar year. Flattened to the north, Seascale now faces Sellafield nuclear
reprocessing plant (figure 1).
Stone Age astronomical monuments went through a
series of evolutionary phases: in Britain c. 3000 BC, stone circles became
widespread until the Late Bronze Age c. 1500 BC. These stone circles manifest
aspects of Late Stone Age art (10,000 – 4500 BC) seen in some of its geometrical
and symbolic forms, in particular as calendrical day tallies scored on bones.
In pre-literate societies, visual art takes on an objective technical function,
especially when focussed upon time and the cyclic phenomena observed within
time. The precedent for Britain’s stone circle culture is that of Brittany,
around Carnac in the south, from where Megalithic Ireland, England and Wales probably
got their own megalithic culture.
came across Rock Art and Ritual by
Brian Smith and Alan Walker, (subtitled Interpreting
the Prehistoric landscapes of the North York Moors. Stroud: History Press
2008. 38.). It tells the story: Following a wildfire of many square miles of
the North Yorkshire Moors, thought ecologically devastating, those interested
in its few decorated stones headed out to see how these antiquities had fared.
Fire had revealed many more stones carrying rock art or in organised
groups. An urgent archaeological effort would be required before the inevitable
regrowth of vegetation.
A photo of one
stone in particular attracted my attention, at a site called Stoupe Brow
(a.k.a. Brow Moor) near Fylingdales, North Yorkshire.