Marden Henge and Durrington Walls Henge

Thornborough Henge

Thornborough Henge

Original Image

Having realized that a lot of folks might not know about Henges other than Stonehenge, I thought I’d mention a couple of them here. The largest is Marden Henge. It’s pretty much just a large circular ditch and mound now, but it’s very large.

Marden Henge is the largest henge in Britain enclosing 14 hectares (Avebury encloses 11.5 and Durrington Walls encloses 12).

Also known as Hatfield Earthworks, there is not much to see but bank and ditch. Plenty of atmosphere though.

And then there is Durrington Walls:

The second largest henge structure known to exist in Britain or Continental Europe is Durrington Walls Henge in Wiltshire, Southern England, second only to Marden Henge further NNW.

Essentially, Durrington Walls Henge is simply the major component in a landscape series of interrelated sites, including nearby Stonehenge, the recently discovered sites dubbed Bluestonehenge & Woodstonehenge, Woodhenge, Coneybury Henge, as well as other, smaller henge-type structures. Acting as outer markers or distance and angle targets away from these hub centres are the mound complexes, like the sets or groups at Durrington Downs, The Packway, The Lesser Cursus and Cursus, Winterbourne Stoke, Normanton Downs, North Kite and the Lake Barrows, Wilsford, Lake Down, Vespasian’s Camp, Larkhill and the King Barrows, etc. These several hundred purpose-built, outlying marker positions are situated from less than half a mile, up to 5 miles out from the main henge sites of the district. In this study we will show the coded mathematical relationships existing between these many outer structures and the centre position of Durrington Walls Henge, which acted as the main hub position for all secondary structures in the district.

They have some nice photos, maps, et al of Durrington Walls too.

The Wiki on Henges has a list of a few more:

Avebury, about 20 miles (32 km) N. of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire;
The Ring of Brodgar in Orkney;
Thornborough Henges complex in Yorkshire;
Knowlton Circles henge complex in Dorset;
Maumbury Rings in Dorset (later reused as a Roman amphitheatre and then a Civil War fort).
Mayburgh Henge in Cumbria;

Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites, the UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Wiltshire, England.
Heart of Neolithic Orkney, the UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Mainland, one of the islands of Orkney, Scotland;
Balfarg in Fife, Scotland;
Dunragit archaeological excavation site in Wigtownshire;
already mentioned: Thornborough Henges, Knowlton Circles, Stanton Drew stone circles, Arbor Low;

Links to all the above in the wiki article.

and the interestingly named King Arthur’s Round Table Henge

It is the fact that henges of various sorts are found all over the place (and since we know of some that have been destroyed during the time of written history, we can presume there were more than even the ones we’ve found) that leads me to the simple conclusion that these were modestly common places. Places where the local farmers might meet for a “farmers market” while visiting the local season solstice party and picking up a new “moon counter” or learning a new Henge Tuning Trick ;-)

Most do not have a megalithic character, in fact, they tend to just be the ditch and mound around the outside. This, to me, tends to confirm the notion that they had some simple sighting apparatus, probably just some simple wooden poles, for local use in calendaring. It also points up the “special” character of Stonehenge and that is why I think it was the Henge College. The NIST or Standards Bureau of its day.

Clearly, back then, they thought that “Everybody ought to have a henge!”…

There is a very interesting passage on that Durrington Walls link above. I’ll quote it here, but it’s probably better read in the context of the original article:

They were built as the primary fulcrum structures within sprawling “open air universities”. At these ancient schools the “brightest and the best” of gifted children were taught the astronomical and navigational arts. The concept of a horizontal-top henge wall was for creating an artificial horizon, similar to what one would see from a ship on the vast featureless oceans. Students situated within the henge, primarily at its centre, could become very familiar with the star, planet, sun and moon rise and set positions or cycles, by using the top of the henge embankments as the target region for 360-degree observation onto the ever moving and changing stellar display. This is consistent with what Julius Caesar said concerning the great schools of Britain run by the Druids of his time.

‘They do not think it proper to commit these utterances to writing, although in all other matters and in their public and private accounts they make use of Greek characters. I believe that they have adopted the practice for two reasons- that they do not wish the rule to become common property, nor those who learn the rule to rely on writing and so neglect the cultivation of memory; and, in fact, it does usually happen that the assistance of writing tends to relax the diligence of the student and the action of memory…They also lecture on the stars in their motion, the magnitude of the Earth and its divisions, on natural history, on the power and government of God; and instruct the youth in these subjects’ (see De Ballo Gallico, VII, 15, 16.).

The late era Druidic schools that Julius Caesar commented about, undoubtedly, had a pedigree back to similar schools maintained during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages*. British historian, Isabel Hill Elder, commenting on the Druidic schools, writes:

‘The students at these colleges numbered at times sixty thousand of the youth and young nobility of Britain and Gaul. Caesar comments on the fact that the Gauls sent their youth to Britain to be educated…It required twenty years to master the complete circle of Druidic knowledge. Natural philosophy, astronomy, mathematics, geometry, medicine, jurisprudence, poetry and oratory were all proposed and taught-natural philosophy and astronomy with severe exactitude’ (Elder refers to Strabo I IV, page 197. Caesars Comm. Lib V. Sueotonius, V Calegula. E. Campion, Accounts of Ireland, pg. 18.).

So when we have a written account from someone as notable as Julius Ceasar, I just don’t see the need to go making up a bunch of stuff about religious rites and crossing sacred rivers into the afterlife and other clap trap.

We have a written record of what they were for. Why so many folks feel compelled to make up so much stuff is beyond me…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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35 Responses to Marden Henge and Durrington Walls Henge

  1. Sean Peake says:

    Sir, while I appreciate your interesting postings about henges, I must voice my displeasure at your earlier post that mentioned “Everybody Ought to Have a Henge.” Thanks to you, I have not been able to get that song out of my head.


  2. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. “The concept of a horizontal-top henge wall was for creating an artificial horizon, similar to what one would see from a ship on the vast featureless oceans. ”

    Wow! How cool! Makes sense. I was reminded of the fact that a very similar set up was used until recently in Polynesia with so-called “stone canoe.” I seem to recall reading of them some decades back in a book titled “We, the Navigators” by David Lewis. many people do not realize that Polynesia had megalithic henges also.

  3. oldtimer says:

    We visited Wiltshire last September to see Avebury, Stonehenge, Woodhenge and other sites as well as more modern stuff such as Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral.

    English Heritage, who are responsible for the ancient sites, make no claim to know their real purpose. They observe that Stonehenge is oriented to mark the rising and setting of the sun, but leave open whether that was because of sun worship or astronomical readings. They also note the many burial sites about the place.

    Woodhenge, which is quite close by, consisted of six concentric rings of wood posts – close enough to have been roofed over.

    I agree with you that astronomy has a strong claim, but given the colossal effort that was made to construct Stonehenge, it is easy to imagine it becoming a centre for much more. There is no doubt that the ancients knew their stuff. In two museums, somewhere in Europe, there are two cone shaped hats which are marked to reveal the 17 1/2 year cycle of the moon. That must have taken much careful observation – maybe a subject for a future investigation!

    Wiltshire is a great county for exploring this sort of stuff. And let us not forget it is the home of splendid crop circles too.

  4. neil swallow says:

    hi mr smith i have been visiting your site for some time now finding many points of interest to me here is a link to one of the above mentioned conical hats

  5. neil swallow says:

    hi again just posted about bronze age conical hats mentioned in the above comment it contains a link to a site discussing these i think because of the link it has been put in moderation hope you find it interesting regards neil (an english man)

  6. David says:

    I’ve always been interested by the coastal sites:

    There is a larger one that I have seen pictures of but I am now unable to locate. It looks to have been built when the sea-level was lower. This site is from ~2000BCE, not sure what the sea-level was then but lower than today. Who knows how many sites like this are submerged. Amazing sites.

  7. neil swallow says:

    hope im not being a pain .i cant seem to find the relevant post for this .if i remember correctly somebody pointed you to the book hamlets mill which shows how ancient knowledge is encoded in myth. another book whilst controversial the oera linda also has some interesting ideas on devising anumerical and writing system based on a circle and sections of it please do not think i am assigning you tasks im just passing on the links i found for free download copies Hamlets Mill The Oera Linda Book
    by Wiliam R. Sandbach [1876] regards neil

  8. oldtimer says:
    is the link to the cone shaped hats I referred to above. My memory obviously failed me because there are, in fact, four known examples and that they enable a lunisolar calendar (not sure where I got 17 1/2 years from).

  9. Odin's Raven says:

    Why would they have needed so many schools of navigation, most of them far from the sea? Why would these places be the most impressive buildings of their era? When Britain had a maritime trading empire that spanned the globe, and which was a great source of pride and wealth, it didn’t need such extensive and impressive training facilities.

  10. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Thank you for this post and your comment on the equatorial-sundial thread. I learned a great deal this morning with my morning coffee. pg

  11. MikeW says:

    In case you were unaware, there are numerous stone circles (“alignements”) and henges throughout Brittany, too. (Brittany ending in a dimunitive, meaning Little Britain, as opposed to Great Britain.)

    Google “Carnac, France,” sometime. One of my favorite places.

  12. Jason Calley says:

    It looks to me like the henges were multi-function structures. Certainly a good way to schedule agricultural and cultural events. Very plausibly a way to get standard time and length units. Plausibly a way to teach astronomy required for naked eye navigation.

    That “sky-clad” thing sounds like a good idea too… :)

  13. dearieme says:

    I can recommend a visit to Avebury: tremendous atmosphere.

  14. dearieme says:

    The wiki on Avebury has a howler: it suggests that in the Neolithic the woodland was cleared “probably through the use of slash and burn technique”. Fat chance. I defy anyone to clear British deciduous woodland by slash and burn. The best writer on woodland, Oliver Rackham, points out that no-one has any idea how the woodland was cleared. Myself, I guess that it must have involved using goats heavily.

  15. PhilJourdan says:

    I can see the value of memory over writing – in the short term. But memory fades, so I see the need for a written record to preserve the data in an accurate form.

    But for them, I guess memory was more important. Besides, they probably did not have a good recording medium to work with.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Neil Swallow:

    Thanks! I’d been meaning to look up an article on the conical “hats” but not gotten around to it. Has the whole Metonic cycle layed out on it.

    Yeah, about 4 am I went to bed… and any new posters went to moderation… Despite my best efforts, it happens once per day most days… Though with diligence and great self discipline I’ve extended the interval to 42 hours on one occasion. With luck, I can reduce the impact of this plague even more. There is a curative bean I’ve found, named Ka-Fee that helps greatly… ;-)


    Imagine your intended use is in navigation on a small ship at sea. How good a navigator will you be if you must have a book that you keep dry? Remember that they often used open skin boats…


    On my “bucket list” is to someday spend a few days at Avebury / Stonehenge. Need to “save up my nickels” though…

    Yeah, I have a love / hate relationship with Wiki. Love that it’s free, hate that you have to filter for junk so much.

    Were I clearing the woods, the last thing I’d do is “slash and burn”. First off, ever try to slash a Great Tree with a stone knife? … How was it cleared? I suspect the proper term is “Harvesting”. As you said, run some goats to clear all the “browse”. Then you are going to need some timbers and some planks and a lot of fire wood while you are doing all the rest of the work… So you just start your harvest at the point where you will first start your building and then do your construction as the land “clears”.

    The Henge was built (and re-built / modified) over thousands of years. The life of the trees in the area are as nothing to it. The lives of people as dust in the wind.

    The idea that some giant clearing process had to be done in a few days (or even months) is just so much modern POV corruption. MU! They start from an ill-formed question and so reach a stupid answer. “How was the land cleared IMMEDIATELY before construction?” It wasn’t. A modest band of folks worked for generations slowly transforming the land around them.

    I’d further speculate that long before the couple of thousand year interval during which Stonehenge was fabricated that there had been earlier henges made without monumental stones. Incremental henges. Each with a bit of clearing for their sight lines. So, picture a “school” where each year a new “class” is to construct a Great Wood Henge, including learning the techniques of felling, dressing, curing, and constructing the Henge. End of the class and the Grad Students burn their henge in preparation for next class. Think after a couple of thousand years you might be running a BIT short on Great Trees and decide to make the Big Instrument out of stone instead?

    BTW, that “burn the Henge” is not at all an unusual thing. At U.C.Davis there is a Viticulture and Enology School. Each quarter the undergrades get to taste the wines made by the Grad Students for their classes. Any wine NOT consumed in class as a ‘teaching tool’ is to be disposed down the drain… Now the Grad Students, having worked their damndest to make a stellar wine (typically with a work goal of running a major California Winery – these are NOT amatures…) are not keen on the idea of dumping it down the drain, so…. Lets just say there are a lot of parties each quarter end and when the Final Exam was given we had to spit the wine out in the bucket to show we knew the protocol, however the Grad Student T.A. in my section was happy to pour 4 to 6 ounce ‘tastes’ of each of the styles he made and see about 1 Teaspoon of it “spit”… ( I still remember the moment when I “spit” and it was about 1/4 tsp… I looked at the T.A. with that “I tried not to swallow please let me get a passing mark…” look and got a big grin in return with a murmered “I really liked that one too…” and I got a very passing mark ;-)

    At any rate, I really do wish “researchers” would spend more time asking “Is this question properly formed?” and less time trying to answer fantasies…


    I know they exist, but I’m sadly deficient in knowing their names or search terms to find them. If you have a pointer to a list or map that would be ‘very nice’ to have.

    My family heritage is from Ireland, the part of England just across from Brittany, and an asserted 1/8 or so of “French” that is reportedly from near there somewhere, then with some Amish / Pensylvania Dutch added in… So I’m very interested in the whole “Brittany” thing, but just have too little of “me” to have gotten to it yet.

    @Odin’s Ravin:

    Well, first off, notice that quote about Rome sending students to study? It wasn’t just for Brittain. There was at least one skeleton found there that isotopes place as growing up in the mediterranian. You had students coming from all over Europe. It’s big because it was a continental scale university.

    Second, for circular slide rules and similiar physical computers, your precision is directly proportional to size. It needs to be BIG to be ACCURATE and PRECISE. So I can make a sundial that’s an inch across, but my eye can only resolve about 1mm (more if I put my contacts in, but I doubt they had contacts then…) Make that same sundial 100 feet and that 1mm resolution is just fine.

    So one of the “issues” with PVC-henge is that it’s going to be a bit on the small side. Usable for my own “toy”, but not usable as an actual scientific instrument, as it is just too small. We see the same thing today in astronomy where we’re allways trying to get a larger aperture and bigger instruments. It’s that damn physics thing… ;-)

    BTW, you put your “school of navigation” far from the sea because the sea is a very harsh place and becuase you need to navigate over land as well. Same reason I had to drive a few hours as part of the “Sailing Club” in high school to actually get in the boat… we wanted to live away from the places that flooded the most. But the particular schools were NOT just “navigation schools”, they were general purpose astronomy (and geometry and…). So you need a couple of technical things:

    1) Good “seeing”. Stable clear skys. That is more common away from the shore.

    2) Flat horizons. Thus the building on a plane.

    I don’t know the relative meteorology of Salisbury Plane in 2000 BC compared to, oh, Central France, but I do know you don”t want to be on the shore when a big northern storm is blowing the ocean into your face at 10 meters up…


    Didn’t know about Seahenge… Thanks!

    BTW, did you know there was a “henge” of sorts in Ohio, USA, complete with what looks to me like a “plumb bob” with Hebrew lettering on it for, reputedly, “holy of holies”?

    There is some evidence for an Israeli genetic contribution to central American Indians along with the sporadic Hebrew inscribed stone artifact. Add to that the assertion that Welsh is rather like Hebrew and you start to get a connection back to the ancient “sea people” and the spread of Phonecians along the coast to Brittain. (There are also artifacts in English – discussed in an earlier article – that tie it to being a ‘fusion’ of an IndoEuropean language with a Semitic core). So you start to put all this together and it looks like there was an Egyptian/ Phoenician / Hebrew connection via the sea out to England and then on across the Atlantic where is fades out. All highly speculative; but then again such investigations always start that way…

    I do find the “Holy of Holies” inscription claim particularly intriguing. Just wish I could read Hebrew enough to verify it. More on the stones in the Wiki:

    and I’m pondering a posting on the Ohio site using non-wiki sources for some of it. But if you want to ‘read ahead’, this site has an interesting reproduction of a map of the place from when it was not burried under Newark:

    @Sean Peake:

    Well, sacrafices are needed for Science to proceed ;-)

    At least I didn’t point out the small size of our Planet and how It’s a Small world after all, it’s a small world…

    (Aint’ I a sinker some times? ;-) But by the rule of “One Song Stickage, you can only have one song at t time stuck in your mind, so now I’ve pushed it out and you don’t have to worry about hearing “Everybody ought to have a Henge, everybody ought to have a working Dial!” any more…)

    For the folks who might be pained by that exchange: It’s a technique I’ve used with some success. Swap rapidly back and forth between two songs prone to ‘stickage’ until the interference pattern causes both to fade… the goal is to dampen the stickage…

  17. PhilJourdan says:


    Imagine your intended use is in navigation on a small ship at sea. How good a navigator will you be if you must have a book that you keep dry? Remember that they often used open skin boats…

    Exactly how I see it. However, the need to learn the rest of the skills is what needs to be written down. Charts of shoals and such – or even where the currents are – are not things you need to know without consulting written material – since they rarely change.

  18. E.M.Smith says:


    While I’m at risk of being seen as advocating against books…

    There is a reason we don’t do “open book” tests on everything. This can just be seen as an extreme case.

    Now, were I running the place, I’d have had a “master set” of books just incase I got eaten by a bear. But I can also see their notion that if you have 100 people who all KNOW this stuff; it doesn’t matter if I get eaten by a bear, or if I’m in a blowing rainstorm off the coast. I’m still going to KNOW where that shoal is without needed to consult my “books”…

    So I can see the notion of demanding that everyone simply know it all to pass. No written “crutches” allowed. (I think we’d agree we’d be just a bit nervouse if our Dentist kept pausing to look in his “how to do Dentistry” book ever couple of minutes…) And once you have done that, exactly why do YOU need to write it down…

    We live in a world that is 1/2 and 1/2. We remember a lot, but write a lot down too. And from time to time I suffer for it. So while writing benefits me greatly, the things that I truely KNOW, those don’t need writing down… So if I was going to “pick one side”, I think I’d go with memory training in a crude and primative world. Much easier than learning to make paper from oak trees or carrying around a library of clay tablets… (Which leaves me wondering, given the writing systems of the time, just how big a library would need to be to “take home” 20 years worth of schooling… there is a logistical thing to consider there…)

    The burning of the Library of Alexandria doesn’t argue so well for the preservation of written knowledge either…


    In looking at the top picture, I keep thinking of Orion and the Pyramids in an ‘almost row’ of 3 ….

    Wonder if there’s any “there there”…

  19. Interesting Connections says:

    A question that arises then is what made England so interesting that it was a center of learning over two thousand years ago and was also the center of the Industrial Revolution?

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    It would appear that I’m not the only one, and certainly not the first, to wonder about the ‘alignment’…

    An Orientation to Orion…?

    It has been suggested that the three henges at Thornborough were constructed so as to imitate the three stars of Orion’s belt. Should this be the case, then one has to question if other triple circles/henges in Britain may have also been constructed for the same purpose.

    The first major monument on the site was built around 3,500BC. This was a 1.2km long processional way, aligned so its western end pointed towards the mid-winter setting of Orion. This also meant the eastern end aligned to the midsummer solstice.

    Then, around 3000 BC, when the three henges at Thornborough were constructed, they appear to have been deliberately laid out to mirror Orion’s Belt. Not only this, but their southern entrances framed the rising of the bright star, Sirius, which in turn meant their axis aligned on the midwinter solstice.


    Professor Clive Ruggles, author of Astronomy in Prehistoric Britain and Ireland, was not so convinced by the Orion’s belt layout of the henges.

    In 2003, following a television documentary on Thornborough, he wrote on his website: “The idea that the configuration of the henges themselves formed a spatial representation of the three stars is something that I view with considerable scepticism.”

    He did, however, concede that it is plausible that the rising of the stars, in relation to the local landscape, may have been significant.

    He said: “For the record, it is the other aspects of the astronomical arguments at Thornborough, notably the various alignments upon the horizon rising position of Orion’s Belt, combined with the other evidence for Thornborough being some sort of pilgrimage centre, that combine to make a plausible case that the heliacal rising of Orion’s Belt was the trigger that caused people to set out on their journey to the site from afar for an autumn ceremony.”

    Somewhere I’ve got a nice “star chart” circular “slide rule” that is for use in astronomy (probably packed away with my Celestron… that lets you ‘look up’ when any particular part of the sky ought to be visible in particular seasons / months. I think I need to dig that out and play with it some more. (I only used it for “what can I find with the ‘scope before).

    IFF Orion tended to rise at a solstice in 3500 BC and had a nice “one two three” of, oh, I don’t know, Harvest, Thresh / store, go to the Henge and Pary Like it’s 2999 (bc) that would be rather useful.

    So now I’m wondering if I could identify something similar for now? Would be nice to be able to just look up on a clear night and say “Oh, time to harvest the beans, plant the kale, and go down to the Pub on Friday” ;-)

    Oh, and another interesting page:

    gives a list of a bunch of “stone circles” all over the place including Egypt, Malta, Scotland, Portugal, and even the one in Turkey (Gobekli Tepe) which will probably send me back to looking at the exact stone count in that circle too…

    One thing for certain, though: You don’t move that much stone around just because you are feeling like a day out with the buddies…. These folks were up to something.

    @Interesting Connections:

    Maybe just the fact that it is darned hard to invade with a large land army, so has a bit more natural “stability”…

  21. neil swallow says:

    i had the great pleasure of holidaying in malta 30 + years ago and visited many of the megalithic sights there some are circles but many are so called “temple complexes” but they are truly awesome with fat lady carvings .big controversy about dissapearance of ancient bones involving catholic church as well .supposedly the oldest of all megalithic sites until discovery of gobekli

  22. MikeW says:

    Here are some web sites with information about stone alignments and henges in Brittany and other parts of France.

    These were just from a quick search, and there are more authoritative sites to be found on the net.

    In my opinion, some of the similarities between Britain and Brittany stones may be due to an even greater age of this culture than suspected. At the end of the last Ice Age, the water in the English Channel would have been much less, and much less of an impediment to human travel. At one time the museum in Carnac had an exhibit that hinted at this possibility in a way, but seemed to have removed it during my last visit there in 2005.

  23. Jason Calley says:

    @ neil swallow I guess I ought to thank you. That site on the Malta hypogeum is wonderful — but I just spent two hours trolling through part of the site! Where does the time go? Seriously, Neil, there is some really good info there (along with a smaller set of very questionable stuff.)

    @ E.M. It doesn’t have to be ALL memorized, even without paper and books. Here is a gentleman in Georgia who claims to have found star charts pecked into stone (in mirror image) to allow wet leather copies to be made.

  24. dearieme says:

    About Brittany: the Carnac stones are tremendous; they seem to stretch on and on.

  25. neil swallow says:

    @jason calley glad you found it interesting as did i your link to the tugalo stone thankyou.there seems little doubt that ancient mariners crisscrossed the globe many times during the dim past .it appears there is some evidence of australian type aboriginals in south america before the amerindian culture . i did have loads of links on these types of snippets but stored on an old computer which succumbed to freezing temps whilst in storage and killed my hardrive sad really .its an intriguing story regarding the voyages of the phoenicians .if that interests you i would highly recommend reading the oera linda book i linked to in my first post .its origins are the subject of much controversy but there are parts contained within that hint to earlier versions ie 2 pages missing as if the author turned over 2 pages at once .also a royal tour or procession was undertaken in the past through parts of swizerland and they describe people who lived in lake villages built on piles in the water of lake geneva .then in a severe drought sometime after the print of this book the water levels of the lake dropped again revealing previously unknown remains of log pile foundations of dwellings. there are many examples in the book that point to authenticity .the people of this book were seafarers and describe voyages as far away as india .all this long before any mediterranean civilisations .anywho its well worth a look .on another note the work of anthony perrat on plasma formations in the sky linked to thousands of petroglyphs around the world seems to explain many things in the past that are beyond the wit of modern anthropology.this study is still ongoing has been conducted withe help of hordes of feild workers and is interesting just for the petroglyphs alone but the laboratory experments with plasma show uncanny resemblance to these .this research was done before suddenly converging with david tallbots work on comparative mythology which is tied in with electric universe theory .i know that correlation is not causation but it is interesting that large birkland currents twist in braided pairs and occur in numbers that match those of many post hole rings and formations of henges.heres a couple of links to a.perrats work first link contains many plasma formations and petroglyphs second link higher res pics but mostly showing locations around world its worth noting that many of these glphs predate the polynesians by thousands of years .whoever made them had been and gone long before .both pdfs are about 6mb hope you find them interesting regards neil

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    @Neil Swallow:

    The ability to do ‘genetic archaeology’ has shown that what looked like uniform population groups in fact had markers for many other types.

    So, for example, we’ve found cacasian genes and Hebrew genes in North American Indians. (A politically contensious thing for no good reason). This ought not to be surprising given that East Coast indians often had a ‘european’ look to them and built ‘long houses’ in the manner of european structures.

    In a similar way, we have written histories of “Red haired polynesians” (who were largely killed off by their non-redhead neighbors…) and there are clear Japanese markers in some South American coastal tribes (that match the written record of voyages to America AND they make a similar pottery). I’ve also read at least one report of an African genetic marker in some Central American tribes. As though a 1/4 or so black african population mixed in with others.

    Basically, what we are finding is that people have been running all over this planet from the start. It is NOT the nice simple little “civilization started in Babylon and spread over the world, before then nobody left home.” It is not “things have linearly improved” but rather a story of leaps forward, and catastrophic collapses. “Modern” folks have been on this planet for 150,000 years plus. That is about 25 times all recorded history (give or take some early lists of pharoes…) It is sheer arrogance to think that we sat around on our butts for 145,000 years then suddenly started reading, writing, making boats, and building empires.

    So your pointer to a hint of what was is a very interesting hint indeed… As soon as I’ve got the time I’m going to be reading it…

    FWIW, some time with my “Start Chart” circular sky “computer” leads me to the tentative conclusion that Orion was rising on the horizon when the 3 circle Henge was built (as were the Great Pyramids). That the Sphynix was built (as a lion prior to the head being re-cut) when Leo was rising about 10,500 years ago. Each an embodyment of the same wisdom: Look to the skys, and to the rising stars. They are your standard for weights, measures, time itself. I think it is the vernal equinox and that may be the ‘error term’ in the length of the Rod. I need to run the ‘equation of time’ for the vernal equinox in about 3500 BC and see if it is 0.06 or so “off” from S.I. time.

  27. Jason Calley says:

    @ neil swallow Yes, I remember that bit about the Australian link to the earliest South American skeletons! Curiouser and curiouser. I have that filed in my brain under “Unconfirmed but don’t delete.” By the way, I would assume that you have read some of Dr. Barry Fell’s books. Dr. Fell’s reputation is still debated pro and con, but my personal opinion is more pro than con.

    If you like snippets dealing with unexplained science (what I normally think of as “fringe science” as opposed to “crank science”) you might want to visit WARNING! The site is like eating peanuts and can be addicting!

    I appreciate the recommendation of the Oera Linda book. I have taken a quick look and will do a more in depth read as time permits. You are right though; it looks very interesting. The idea of a wide spread , very likely world spanning network of early ocean navigators is one that I find intriguing. I am thinking somewhere in the 8,000 BP to 3,000BP era with parts of the old trade routes still running all the way until Columbus. Most people have no appreciation of how much easier it is to sail than to travel overland, even with relatively neo-lithic technology. The presence of such clues as ancient Egyptian petroglyphs in Australia seems to me to be quite believable.

    As for the correlation between old petroglyphs and the electric universe ideas, I am still firmly on the fence. I think that the basic idea of electric forces being not just a factor, but perhaps even a dominating factor in cosmology deserves a serious study. I am just not so convinced of observable incidences of electric catastrophies during human periods of our history. Still, I am willing to look! And there were those VERY odd and massive multiple fires that broke out all around Lake Michegan the same day as the Great Chicago Fire…. Hmmmmmm. Strange things do happen, sometimes.

  28. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. When my wife and I come across some mystery of ancient prehistory we usually blame it on the “Red Headed Old Ones.” She and I had both come to very similar conclusions about ancient humans long before we ever met.

    Also, I may be embarassing myself, but I did a quick search and did not see an entry concerning this on your site. Are you familiar with John Michell and his book Ancient Metrology?
    I think I first heard of it here at your site, but I cannot remember.

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    Another tiny bit of “clue”… From:

    These cumulative effects make the day about 14 minutes longer than the night at the Equator and longer still towards the Poles. The real equality of day and night only happens in places far enough from the Equator to have a seasonal difference in day length of at least 7 minutes, actually occurring a few days towards the winter side of each equinox.

    I calculated a 1440 minute vs (1440-14) minute “correction factor” and it makes almost the same correction factor as the Mesopotamian “Lunar Second” vs the S.I. second. It is:


    where the “Mesopotamian” correction factor is:


    (Made by dividing 2 by the 1.98 reputed “Lunar Second”)

    Using the Equinox day length correction DIRECTLY without any further corrections for latitude or equation of time or whatever makes our Roman Cubit and Rod 6 second Pendulum 6.008658958 seconds. That’s an error term of all of 9.8/1000 of a second. That would be under 2 inches of error in length on a 30 foot Rod pendulum.

    Given all the other error sources in an ancient pendulum system, and that I’ve not done this to the exact latitude where the pendulum was likely to be ‘swung’, this is looking like the “consistent” offset seen in the various lengths ( that 1/100 place error term from S.I. seconds).

    So a 30 foot chunk of 3000 BC cordage is unlikely to have been a metal wire at standard temperature and pressure and the center of a 2 kilogram carved rock is unlikely to have been known to sub-centimeter precision. Given all that, once you have a 30 foot chunk of cordage that’s calculated to under 2 inches (and may end up closer with other correction terms identified) I think we’re settling in on The Answer.

    At the Equinox, a rising constellation is used to mark the calendar. That constellation which is rising in your era of the zodiac. (Right now, Pices. About 2012, Aquarius. During the time of Stonehenge and the Pyramids, Orion.) That constellation determines your monuments and your “age” (as in “This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius..”)

    At that time, you measure your pendulum with a sundial and set your standards of measure. This use of an equinox sun instead of an equilux sun (along with your latitude offset) introduces an error term in the 1/100 place, but it is a constant offset so the relative measure is repeatable and reliable.

    Frankly, given the times, having a 1% or less deviation from S.I. units (and much less between each other) is a pretty impressive feat.

    I guess the next step to to try making a “Rod” and seeing just how close I can actually come. Only a month and a half to wait / prepare ;-)

    Remaining sources of error that I can think of:

    String “stretch” and rebound.
    Center of mass of weight.
    Distributed mass of string.
    Imperfect ‘pivot’.
    Air resistance.
    Re-power of pendulum if slowed too much.
    Width of shadow / edge precision.
    Atmospheric lensing (morning vs noon air thickness).
    15 Degree line “kerf” on the sundial.
    Sundial alignment error? (not sure this would really matter).
    Thermal expansion of pendulum.
    Solar heating of pendulum.

    You know, I’m becomming more and more impressed that I’m trying to explain a 98/10000 offset from S.I. units…

    Maybe I ought to just call it “good enough” and move on. It’s not like I’m trying to build The Great Pyramid or anything ;-)

    Besides, repeatability would have been far more important to folks then, and S.I. units didn’t exist so “who cares”?

    (The reason I use the ‘error in time’ rather than the ‘error in length’ most of the time in assessing the ‘accuracy’ of this thesis is rather simple. We have known unit rods and cubits. They have their own ‘repeatability’ error term and their own ‘creation precision’ error term and their own ‘aging’ error terrm. So they are at best a clue as to what was the actual Rod or Roman Cubit used – though a very good one. Creating a fictional hypothetical one via the pendulum calculator tells us the theoretical length if one were using atomic clocks, S.I. seconds, and modern materials. In both cases, the pendulum is measured via a ‘swing count’ over a unit of time. So the only two “real” errors are the potential mis-count of swings (how do you score a ‘partial’? and no count will have a perfect final swing… just very close) and the error in the unit of TIME. I’m presuming that the swing count will be mighty darned good (as it’s an integer quantity of swings and a 30 foot pendulum is going to be pretty clear when it reverses…) and that the error term is mostly from a “difference in time”. That I’ve found such differences in ‘the likely places’ and to the appropriate degree is encouraging that that is in fact the source of the offset from an S.I. theoretical pendulum. As a sidebar: The English and USA units were re-defined in terms of S.I. units some decades past. To actually test this thesis would require using original OLD method units for Rods, Roman Cubits, and then comparing them to an actual recreation process. If THEY match, then it’s a ‘done deal’ and all the S.I. conversion and adjustment crap falls out of the process. Unfortunately, lacking a 1600s era Rod, I’m stuck with the ‘string of conversions vs theoretical’ method… And now that I’m in the “under 1%” land an ever increasing number of “ignorable” issues in those conversions and historical measures start to matter. Basically, the more precise you are, the more different trivial things matter.)

  30. neil swallow says:

    @jason calley hi on the point of anthony perrat and the petroglyphs it should be noted that he is very uncomfortable with the electric universe theory he is one of the formost plasma scientists around when his second paper came out (the second link i gave) most Electric universe proponents were dissapointed because nothing pointed to a north pole auroral display which would have tied in with there polar array alignment of the planets.perrats work shows that all of these petroglyphs are all aligned to the south feild of view and are all sheltered from this auroral display by being carved in the shade so to speak he is only claiming a large prolonged magnetic disturbance caused this on a magnitude unseen in present times and because of the geographical locations and elevations(inclination)he has been able to show how what look like similar shapes are indeed the same shapes seen from a different angle all emanating from the south pole it was an auroral display but a huge one obviously noteworthy to anyone around at the time. prior to this paleolithic art was all about nature and also used perspective only recently “discovered” in rennaisance art. then suddenly in the neolithic all these previously unexplained weird forms appear world wide .i was not implying this was a worldwide culture only that this phenomena was “observed”worldwide hence the similarities.but that is not to say our forbears did not get around as we see the evidence that they did .when the polynesians arrived at many of the south pacific islands they were uninhabited but some one had been there long before as E.M.Smith observes above life is not a nice comfortable linear progression but catastrophe and regrowth in fits and starts .E U theorists latched on to perrat not the other way around .this is a serious scientific study with some intruiging results.

  31. Malaga View says:

    @ Jason Calley
    Thanks for the link to Science Frontiers… I did a search for Stonehenge and found some interesting entries that could almost have been written by E.M :-)

    The lozenge, of 0.5-mm beaten gold excavated 1 km from Stonehenge…. Markings exist on the plaque which indicate that the 16-month calendar was in use. Guide lines exist for inserting the intercalary leap day. Eight additional lines can be identified as indicating moonrise and moonset at the equinoxes’ standstills. Using actual horizon altitudes at Stonehenge and azimuths shown by the lozenge, calculation shows that the average discrepancy of the solar lines is 0.36 days and that it was made about 1600 BC.

    The lozenge was a means whereby observed angular measurements could be recorded and subsequently retrieved years later without recourse to writing. It was essentially a textbook for making the calendar, a reference encyclopedia

    The Diffusion Of Science In Prehistoric Times
    B.A. Frolov insists that these “primitive hunters” constucted surprisingly sophisticated models of the natural world, especially the motions of celestial bodies. Many of these models seem to have been non-utilitarian; that is, built only to satisfy intellectual curiosity. Furthermore, some scientific notions were widespread geographically, indicating perhaps long lines of communication. To illustrate, Frolov cites the similar astronomical sophistication revealed by the Lake Onega petroglyphs in Russia and those at Stonehenge. He also points out that the aborigines of North America, Australia, and Siberia all called the Pleiades the “Seven Sisters.” Coincidence is very unlikely here, he says. This and other notions must have existed before Australia and North America were peopled. The absence of writing as we know it would not have deterred ancient humans from developing and communicating mathematical and scientific skills and accumulating knowledge, possibly in the form of myth.

  32. neil swallow says:

    @E.M.Smith i confess im itching to see your final outcome on building a henge.i had been wondering what to do as a feature in my rather large garden .being a carpenter i would build mine from logs as i would want it to blend in as my plan is more for a wild natural place. will you actually be posting a plan when youve established your “Smithmetric”if so i will be very much looking forward to it with interest. @jason i fogot to say thankyou for the links had not heard of mr bell will check into it .i am familiar with the other site and agree

  33. kuhnkat says:

    The henges may have finally been superseded:

    much more convenient!! 8>)

  34. E.M.Smith says:

    @Neil Swallow:

    Well, this week I stuck a Tiki Torch into the most southernly central planting square and next week I plan to set an empty beer bottle at each hour point during the day… It’s a start ;-)

    (Yes, I really did put the torch in…)

    The “SmithHenge” is a ‘someday’ thing and will be preceeded by a PVChenge as a rough cut. THE biggest problem I’ve got is that I’m in a valley with mountains on all alignments, with houses in front of them, and with an 8 foot fence about 10 feet from the East side. No way I can get anything much out of the horizon lines on solstice / equinox sun / moon. Then add that I’ve got streetlights for about 30 miles in all directions. Stars? WHAT Stars? So any star sightings are basically going to be a bad joke.

    But it doesn’t really matter anyway, as I’ve got a large tree in the line of sight to the pole star and Bambusa Oldhami on the alignment to the equinox / winter solstice quadrant and a house in the way of the settings…

    Yeah, it’s a ‘bummer’…

    So I’ll likely make PVChenge as a first cut just to get things sorted out (i.e. changes needed for the elevation and easy to pop together / apart for setting up out in the boonies some dark clear night… Yes, a “Porta-Henge” ;-)

    Eventually, should I ever end up with dark sky open dirt, a “4×4 Henge” in about 1/5 – 1/10 scale.

    And, if The Sky Gods should smile upon me, it would be the model to say to the Concrete Guys: Pour it like this, only bigger, and don’t mess it up…

    When? At the present rate, about 2020… for 4×4 Henge…

    BTW, I’ll be doing it all in Rods or subdivisions of Rods. While I may use my own (re-derived) method to make my Rod measure, it will be an honest original Rod.


    Good point. That was a rather old gizmo… It’s always possible it was finally just obsoleted.

    The other possible is that 4000 to 5000 years ago is near the peak of the warm rise. It may also just be that then the sky was clear much more often, then things cooled… and cooled… and the “seeing” just ran out as the rain / cloud level increased. Haven’t had the time to look at weather records for the area from the LIA forward to see how it behaves in colder vs hotter… but I have my suspicions…

    The other point is that we change an “age” about ever 2170 years. Last work on Henges seems to be about 1500 BC. So it was about “2 ages” ago. Given that it started about an “age” before that, it’s quite likely that it was built for sighting stars that just moved to much to be ‘adjusted’ and they went on to other, less solid, versions that could be more readily kept in sync (but that did not survive as well…)

    There is pretty good evidence for the Egyptians knocking down ‘aligned’ temples ever 400 years or so and rebuilding them back on alignment. Much easier with stone blocks than with giant megaliths in the dirt…

    So, in my vision of things, the “3 circle Orion” Henges ended when Orion moved off the mark. Then the non-constellaion shaped Stonehenge gets used a couple of thousand years (with changes during that time) and after final stone are set, it’s good for a couple of hundred then… maybe it was better to make a woodhenge from scratch every century or so…

    About then would be a good time for the Greeks to be putting antikythera together… Stonehenge last update / release / patch complete about 1500 BC, obsolete about 1000 BC, a woodhenge or two as folks work out the precursors to the Antikythera that shows up in about 150 BC. Kind of fits…

    At any rate, the first step is a decent Sundial. I’ve pretty much convinced myself that it’s “close enough” for making the Rod measure and that the lunar adjustments are not the ones that make things close in the 1/1000 place. So most likely the first step is just a nice equatorial mounted skinny pole with a wheel around it. Then I’ll see how close I can make my Rod / Perch / Pole …

    That’s proably enough for this summer.

  35. lapogus says:

    Only just seen this and haven’t had time to go though all the comments, but about 15 years ago I concluded that there was very liekly an Orion connection in Orkney (Ring of Bookan, Ring of Brodgar, and the Stones of Stenness). A quick google finds that I am not the only one to notice this – and from the map half way down the page the correlation does seem very good, although the middle star is slightly out over Brodgar. The Orkneyjar page also states that this Orion link has been established/accepted by academics with regard to Thornborourgh – .

    Personally I think the henges and circles were initially used for astronomical purposes, and its likely that most were initially built with wooden posts which are much easier and accurate for alignments and calculations. But I think they then lost the mathematical and astronomical knowledge (or the need for it as agricultural and food storage technology improved), and the places became mainly quasi religious sites. Our local stone circle used wooden posts for a 1000 years, but then these were replaced with stones, and then another thousand years later an out circle was added, with some gate stones. They also spread a layer of white quartz around the outer circle, and I think they have found the same thing in other stone circles in the British Isles. Standing stones are obviously much harder work to put in than posts but much more impressive if they have a religious context, (and they are much lower maintenance in the long term).

    One thing has intrigued me with regard to Stonehenge – apparently the carbon dating of Stonehenge rests on just two samples, which gave results differing by 2000 year, so room for error and a rethink there. I have not read his book “The Stonehenge Observatory”, but the author (Dean Talboy) could well be on to something in his suggestion that Stonehenge is much older than we think – and . (I found this from his comment on the ball bearing story in the Independent a few months ago – ).

    Great to read your thoughts on subjects like this (and the the Iron Sun). I have always believed that there is so much we don’t really know – about both the ancient world and our new scientific one – that we have to keep an open mind.

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