understanding the megalithic: circular structures: part 2
The megalithic sought integer lengths because they lacked the arithmetic of later millennia. So how did they deal with numbers? There is plenty of evidence in their early monuments that today’s inch and foot already existed and these and other measures used to count days or months; from this, numbers came to be known by their length in inches and later on as feet, and longer lengths like a fathom of five feet, the cubit of 3/2 feet and, larger still, furlongs and miles – to name only a few.
So megalithic numeracy was primarily associated with lengths, a system we call metrology. Having metrology but not arithmetic, the integer solutions to problems became a necessity. Incidentally, it was because of their metrological numeracy that the megalithic chanced upon a rich seam of astronomical meaning within the geocentric time world that surrounds us, a seam well-nigh invisible to modern science. Their storing of numbers as lengths also led to their application to the properties geometrical structures have, to replicate what arithmetic and trigonometry do, by using right triangles and a system of fractional measures of a foot (see later lesson – to come). In what follows, for both simplicity and veracity, we assume that π was too abstract for the megalithic, since they first used radius ropes to create circles, so that 2π was a more likely entity for them to have resolved.
The Fibonacci series is an ideal pattern, widely found within living systems, in which the present magnitude or location of something is the product of two previous magnitudes or locations of it. The next magnitude will again be the sum of the last two magnitudes in what is, an algorithmic pattern producing approximation to the Golden Mean (designated by the Greek letter φ,’phi’). As the series gets larger, the ratio (or proportion) between successive magnitudes will better approximate the irrational value of φ = 1.618033 … – which has an unlimited fractional part whilst the virtue of the Fibonacci numbers within the Series is that they are integers forming rational fractions.
Einar Palsson [1, at end] saw that the myths of foundation for Iceland’s settlement in 930 had Pythagorean roots. Since then Petur Halldorsson has identified patterns that could not have been influenced by Pythagoras (c. 600 BC) and Pythagoras was known to have adapted the existing number sciences found (according to his myth) from Egypt to China.
Such patterns, called Cosmic Images by Halldorsson , seek to establish a geometric connection between places on the landscape and on the horizon, here in the south-western region near Reykjavik, the only Icelandic city. The spirit of a region or island was integrated through organising space in this way, according to centers (Things) of circles and their radius and diameter as numbers of paces, circles punctuated with places and alignments to other places, horizon events or cardinal directions. John Michell provided a guide to some of the techniques in his books [2, at end].
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.
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 [post2post id=”237″].
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”.
Natural time periods between celestial phenomena
hold powerful insights into the numerical structure of time, insights which
enabled the megalith builders to access an explanation of the world unlike our
own. When looking at two similarly-long time-periods, the megalithic focussed
on the difference between them, these
causing the two periods to slide in and out of phase, generating a longer
period in which the two celestial bodies exhibit a complete ensemble of
variation, in their relationship to each other. This slippage of phase between
celestial periods holds a pattern purely based upon number, hidden from the
casual observer who does not study them in this way. Such numerical patterns
are only fully revealed through counting time and analysing the difference between
For example, the solar year is
longer than the lunar year by 10 and 7/8 days (10.875 days) and three solar
years are longer than three lunar years by three times 10.875 days, that is by 32
and 5/8th days (32.625 days), which is 32/29 of a single lunar month
of 29.53 days.
The earliest and only explicit evidence for such
a three year count has been found at Le Manio’s Quadrilateral near Carnac (circa
4,000 BCE in Brittany, France) used the inches we still use to count days, a “day-inch”
unit then widespread throughout later megalithic monuments and still our inch,
1/12 of the foot [Heath & Heath. 2011]. The solar-lunar difference found
there over three years was 32.625 day-inches, is probably the origin of the
unit we call the megalithic yard and the megalith builders appear to have
adopted this differential length, between a day-inch count over three lunar and
solar years, in building many later monuments.