John Michell’s Perpetual Choirs

15 April 2017 Views: 10450

In 1972  John Michell inferred an enormous ten-sided form nearly sixty three miles across, in which important historical and neolithic sites had been intended as ten vertices around an ancient centre, signified by a Whiteleafed Oak.

Figure 1 The Decagon of Perpetual Choirs, anchored upon Stonehenge, the Solstice sunrise in summer and set in winter

Michell had previously [1991] developed the idea of the enchantment of the land as an actual practice; land areas were enchanted by using a geometrical pattern integrated with myths and ritual calendars, enacted within that framework. This  was long before, around 930, such a pattern was being established of thing-places in Iceland. The idea of thing places is still find-able in English names such as Goring, the centre northeast of Stonehenge, where the summer solstice sun arose.

“Perpetual choirs were a Celtic institution, from pagan into early Christian times. In Iola Morganwg’s Triads of Britain, translated from Welsh, it is stated that ‘in each of these three choirs there were 24,000 saints; that is,
there were a hundred for every hour of the day and the night in rotation, perpetuating the praise and service of God without rest or intermission.’ ”  – The Measure of Albion

“Three of the choirs were located at Stonehenge, at Glastonbury, and near Llantwit Major in Wales. Others appear to have been at Goring-on- Thames and at Croft Hill in Leicestershire, a traditional site of ritual,  legal, and popular assemblies.” The Dimensions of Paradise


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Harmonic Astronomy within Seascale Flattened Circle

first published in July 2018

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).


Figure 1 Seascale type-D flattened circle and neighbouring nuclear facility.
photo: Barry Teague

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.

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Educating Megalith Builders at Crucuno rectangle

Around Carnac in Brittany the land is peppered with uniquely-formed megalithic designs. In contrast, Great Britain’s surviving monuments are largely standing stones and stone circles. One might explain this as early experimentation at Carnac followed by a well-organised set of methods and means in Britain. What these experiments near Carnac were concerned with is contentious, there being no appetite, in many parts of society, for a prehistory of high-achieving geometers and exact scientists. Part of the problem is that pioneers interpreting monuments are themselves hampered by their own preferences. Once Alexander Thom had found the megalithic yard as a likely building unit, he tended to use that measure to the exclusion of other known metrological systems (see A.E. Berriman’s Historical Metrology. Similarly, John Neal’s breakthrough in All Done With Mirrors, having found the foot we still use to be the cornerstone of ancient metrology, led to his ambivalent relationship to the megalithic yard. Neal’s interpretation of the Crucuno rectangle employs a highly variable set of megalithic yards, perhaps missing the simpler point, that his foot-based metrology is supported as present within the dimensions of the Crucuno rectangle; said by Thom to be a “symbolic observatory” of the sun: this monument was an educational device, in which Neal finds the geometry of “squaring the circle” which, as we see later, was probably the Rectangle’s main metrological meaning.


Figure 1 Alexander Thom’s survey of Crucuno Rectangle by Alexander Thom, see MRBB, 1978,   19   & 175-176
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