Cretan Calendar Disks

I have interpreted two objects from Phaistos (Faistos), both in the Heraklion Museum. Both would work well as calendar objects.

One would allow the prediction of eclipses:

The other for tracking eclipse seasons using the 16/15 relationship of the synod of Saturn (Chronos) and the Lunar Year:

Locmariaquer 1: Carnac’s Menhirs and Circumpolar Stars

Read 1458 times when last published on, Wednesday, 16 May 2012 14:22

At megalithic sites, the only alignment of note on the northern horizon has usually been the direction of the north pole or “true” North on the site plan. “Megalithic” cultures worldwide, both the later manifestations in the Americas or the old world cultures of Northwest Europe or Egypt, built structures oriented in a very accurate way to North. The builders of the Great Pyramid for example or of the geo-glyphs of the Amazon rainforest, seemed to have had an unexpectedly good method for determining North, no easy task when a pole star is never exactly north and, in many epochs, there is no star near to the pole.

Continue reading “Locmariaquer 1: Carnac’s Menhirs and Circumpolar Stars”

The Cult of Seven Days

Published in Nexus Magazine in 2004

When understanding the origins of human knowledge, we tend not to look into the everyday aspects of life such as the calendar, our numbering systems and how these could have developed. However, these components of everyday life hold surprising clues to the past.

An example is the seven day week which we all slavishly follow today. It has been said that seven makes a good number of days for a week and this convenience argument often given for the existence of weeks.

Having a week allows one to know what day of the week it is for the purposes of markets and religious observances. It is an informal method of counting based on names rather than numbers. Beyond this however, a useful week length should fit well with the organisation of the year (i.e. the Sun), or the month (i.e. the Moon) or other significant celestial or seasonal cycle. But the seven day week does not fit in with the Sun and the Moon.

The Week and the Year

Continue reading “The Cult of Seven Days”

Story of Three Similar Triangles

first published on 24 May 2012

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.

Figure 1 Robin Heath’s original set of three right angled triangles that exploit the 3:2 points to make intermediate hypotenuses so as to achieve numerically accurate time lengths in units of lunar or solar months and lunar orbits.
Continue reading “Story of Three Similar Triangles”

Kerherzo Rectangle near Erdeven & Crucuno

first published in March 2018

In 1973, Alexander Thom found the Crucuno rectangle to have been “accurately placed east and west” by its megalithic builders, and “built round a rectangle 30 MY [megalithic yards] by 40 MY” and that “only at the latitude of Crucuno could the diagonals of a 3, 4, 5 rectangle indicate at both solstices the azimuth of the sun rising and setting when it appears to rest on the horizon.” In a recent article I found metrology was used between the Crucuno dolmen (within Crucuno) and the rectangle in the east to count 47 lunar months, since this closely approximates 4 eclipse years (of 346.62 days) which is the shortest eclipse prediction period available to early astronomers.

Figure 1 Two key features of Crucuno’s Rectangle

About 1.22 miles northwest lie the alignments sometimes called Erdeven, on the present D781 before the hamlet Kerzerho – after which hamlet they were named by Archaeology. These stone rows are a major complex monument but here we consider only the section beside the road to the east. Unlike the Le Manec Kermario and Kerlestan alignments which start north of Carnac, Erdevan’s alignments are, like the Crucuno rectangle accurately placed east and west. 

Figure 2 Two stones, angled to the diagonal of a 3-4-5 triangle 235 feet from north west stone and setting sun at summer solstice
Continue reading “Kerherzo Rectangle near Erdeven & Crucuno”

Astronomical Rock Art at Stoupe Brow, Fylingdales

first published 28 October 2016

I recently 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.

Figure 1 Neolithic stone from Fylingdales Moor | Credit: Graham Lee, North York Moors National Park Authority.

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.

Continue reading “Astronomical Rock Art at Stoupe Brow, Fylingdales”