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Lecture 2 : Megalyths - Cracking the Stone Age Code

(A film discussing the theories of Professor Alexander Thom, engineer and researcher into the mathematical properties of stone age megalithic architecture.)

Thom hypothesizes that the stones laid in recognizable configurations at locations in the UK and Brittany were sophisticated recording devices depicting events in the lunar and solar calendar in human prehistory.

·Alignment of the megaliths relate to the setting and rising of the sun over particular geographic features during solstices and equinoxes.

·Thom hypothesizes that the stones were laid not in imperfect circles as thought by many but in intentional ellipses and egg-shaped configurations based on mathematical principles. Thom proposes that ellipses were formed using arcs around cmultiple points of reference and that the corresponding radii and cords of the ellipses between stones relate to 3-4-5 triangles, or Pythagorean dimensions. The positioning of stones was the result of complex mathematical calculations based upon the positions of celestial bodies at certain times of the year. Thom surveyed the exact dimensions for megalithic arrangements throughout the United Kingdome. In all cases measurements were based upon a standard unit of measurement of 2.72, or the megalithic yard.

·From these observations Thom deduced that the architects of the megaliths were accomplished engineers that formed conclusions based upon an established body of knowledge. Before these findings Pythagorean geometry had not revealed itself in history before the time of Pythagoras, thousands of years after the placement of the megaliths.

· Stones point to reference points upon hilltops, valleys or crags on the horizon which are aligned with the position of the setting and rising of the moon or sun on a particular day in the celestial calendar.

·At Temple Wood in Argyle Thom hypothesizes that a central megalith points to a crag on the horizon where the moon sets every 19 years in the completion of the 19 year lunar cycle. The accuracy of such a measurement would suggest that the ancients made astronomical observations at this site for at least 50-100 years.

·In the North of the United Kingdome in the Isle of Lewis stand the megaliths of Callanish. Thoms measurements have discovered alignments of stones pointing to setting and rising events of both the solar and lunar calendars. Furthermore all the stones are aligned in a North South axis, useful for predicting the precise occurrence of midday.

·Thom applied his theories to Carnac in Brittany and noted similar eclipse configuration of stones at the end of series of rows.

·At Cruceno a square formation of megaliths appeared to differ from the geometry of other configurations in Brittany and the UK. The square was however formed from two 3-4-5 triangles based on ten times the unit of the megalithic yard. The rectangle was aligned to the north and its diagonal cross section pointed to the point of the midsummer sunrise.




Annaliese's general comments about ancient science:

·Construction and manipulation of earth forms was a spiritual process. Identifying receptacles of the spirit in plants, water forms and geological forms. These constructions may have been created with extraordinary mathematical accuracy using established engineering principles and acted as oracular guides and calendars for significant ceremonies such as healing and fertility.


Megalith - [mega]great[lith]stone; Menhir - Single stone, monolith.

Cromlech - Circle of stones; Ahu - Platform for Statue or Monolith

Dolmen - Burial Chambers; Trilithon - 3 stones forming an arch


Stonehenge underwent a sequence of building from the neolithic to the bronze age. Early construction used bluestone that was imported to the site from wales. Sandstone was used for the stones of later construction and these were quarried in the near vicinity.

Click here for more information on Stonehenge...


Consisting of two circles over 600 monoliths from the neolithic period of human history. An obelisk (now absent) in the center of the rings would have cast a shadow acting as an ancient agricultural calendar.

Click here for more information on Avebury...


Located in Brittany, France. An example of megaliths placed in rows and curving lines. At least 3000 stones were placed on the site. The stone placement is most likely more than 5000 years old from the neolithic period.


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