by L. McLellan Mann

[Uncorrected typescript. “132” handwritten in top r.h. corner. No date.]

<Diagrams reconstructed by Michael Behrend 1977.>

Ever since it became recognised that the great plain around Stonehenge, covering a considerable part of Wiltshire, had been a notable centre of activity of prehistoric man – especially as regards earthworks and monuments – opinions have differed as to the purpose of all this activity. On the one hand there have been students who attributed the mounds and monuments to a race of semi-savages, working ignorantly and rudely, putting themselves to no end of trouble for some unknown reason.

This view is simply not worth entertaining. Scarcely more so is the intermediate view that some sort of elementary geometry and possible astronomy is evidenced in the lay-out of the structures and works.

{8} A few students have gone so far as to suggest that a competent school of astronomers and mathematicians must have been at work on Salisbury Plain. Lockyer was mercilessly assailed and criticized for suggesting such a thing: yet in principle Lockyer was right and his critics hopelessly wrong.

In detail, however, Lockyer was wrong, for he adopted certain unsound hypotheses to explain the facts which were obvious to him, and which are obvious to any student who takes the pains to examine them. Lockyer’s theory of orientation can be shown to have been quite wrong. He suggested that monuments had been built so that their long axes or entrance passages would be directed to certain fixed stars. It is clear that with a large number of such stars to choose from, and with these stars changing apparent position from epoch to epoch, too much latitude was available in fixing an orientation to suit the object.

Monuments are not orientated to fixed stars, and to that extent it can be said “there is nothing in the orientation theory” – a phrase used today by a school of writers.

Lockyer nevertheless saw the facts. He saw, particularly, that measurement played a prominent part in the work of the old builders and architects, and actually dwelt upon the singular emphasis laid by the preshistoric worker upon a measure which now survives as the British statute mile. He noticed that prominent sites on Salisbury Plain were situated at distance-units of one mile from Stonehenge centre. Discouraged, perhaps, by adverse criticism, Lockyer did not follow up this important clue.

Earlier writers on Stonehenge and neighbourhood held more liberal and enlightened views. One writer actually suggested that the whole area round Stonehenge was laid off as a sort of Planetarium or star-map. So astute a man as Stukeley did not fail to observe in Stonehenge itself not only a system of geometry, but a series of systems, involving different centres.

It seems strange that so many observers, even those free from the obsession of the “savage” theory, should have overlooked one of two facts which very obviously connect the lay-out of Salisbury Plain with astronomy.

Perhaps the most obvious instance is that of the group of round barrows or mounds nearly two miles north-west of Stonehenge which portray unmistakably the constellation of the Little Bear. About one mile east of Stonehenge, groups of mounds (with one or two roughly circular clumps which probably cover prehistoric sites, as other similar clumps have been found to do) supply configurations, which compare very closely with actual star groups. They were not laid down as mere pictures. Neither is their significance exhausted by the mere portrayal of stars. The little Bear group for instance, is accompanied by a mound representing a very faint star which astronomers will recognize as the pole star of about 2200 B.C.

The mounds representing stars in Libra again have a definite meaning as representing the culminating stars on the Prehistoric new-years eve (Feb 25 in our calendar) for an epoch ending 2121 B.C., and thus containing the date represented by the pole-star referred to.

{9} Again, about 2200 B.C. satisfactorily corresponds with the age of the round-barrow builders, who for a considerable period in the vicinity of that date are generally admitted to have been active in this country.

With this preliminary evidence of astronomical symbolism on a large scale, we are therefore encouraged in looking for further evidence of the ancient geometer and astonomer’s work.

Before proceeding further, however, it is necessary to consider a number of facts of the Stonehenge area which attest the reality of a phenomenon as yet unrecognized by Science.

When marking out by means of a barrow a portrayal of the pole-star of 2200 B.C., and so recording an astronomical fact, the early builder came very near to recording another important astronormical fact.

The mound referred to lies at an angle of 49 degrees north of west. Had he placed it just over 51 degrees to the north of west, he would have portrayed the angle of the altitude of the pole of the heavens as it is known today.

We have no right to assume that 49 degrees did not represent the latitude of Stonehenge in 2200 B.C., or that the apparent error of two degrees is a piece of clumsiness on the part of the architects. Every fact attests the passion for accuracy displayed by these men, and there is therefore reasonable ground for thinking that the position of the ritualistic mound – so close to the point which forms with the west line an angle equal to that at which the observer at Stonehenge looks up to the celestial pole – deliberately and accurately records the true altitude of the celestial pole of 2200 B.C.

There is here a suggestion of a change of latitude since the Bronze Age. As a matter of fact there are thousands of such pieces of evidence, but meantime the facts as seen on Salisbury Plain are under examination. Any hypothesis have formed must of course be considered as having the sanction of ample evidence from other sites. Perhaps it will be enough to suggest that the known changes of land level and climate – both naturally to be associated with changes of latitude – demand that evidences of change of latitude should appear in records so ancient as those now under review.

Much controversy, for instance, has raged round the problem of the so-called “Helestone” of Stonehenge, which stands close in to the north-east, and simply clamours for recognition as a marker of the midsummer sunrise. Yet the stone lies too far south to mark the midsummer sunrise even now that the lowering obliquity of the ecliptic has altered the line of sunrise since the time of the Stonehenge builders.

Yet the simple possibility of a change of latitude, slightly to the south such as would make the round barrow of the Little Bear group mark the altitude of the celestial pole, would also bring the Helestone into line with the midsummer sunrise line of its period. The two objects, however – barrow and Helestone – are widely separated in period, and doubtless various changes of latitude and of cardinal directions took place in the interval between their respective epochs.

Where the reasonable possibility of a secular nutation of the earth’s pole provides a satisfying reason for the apparent error {10} in the positions of these two important landmarks, no rational explanation is otherwise forthcoming. The position of the Helestone has, by common consent, been left as an unexplained mystery.

A change of latitude implies a change of position of the earth poles, and consequently almost always a change in the direction of the cardinal north line. (The exception is when the pole in its trackway crosses the orignal north line or its continuation beyond the pole.)

In very few out of thousands of prehistoric objects – earthworks, monuments, and carvings, has the writer found that the apparent north line of ancient times was in keeping with that of to-day. In late Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain there is a continued, consistent, veer of the ancient north to a distance reaching some five degrees west of north. When approaching 1 A.D. the ancient north agrees with that of to-day, and again approximates to it at an earlier age. This matter is elsewhere dealt with, and relative evidence adduced.

Turning to Stonehenge itself, evidence of a change of three degrees in the direction of calendar (sic) north since the erection of the present structure is very apparent. Isolating three particular stones which reasonably might have been expected to conform with the cardinal directions in the most elementary geometry, we find that all three fail by three degrees to meet the requirements. The east stone, for instance, blocks the view of the cardinal east line (and consequently of the equinoctial rising sun) in its present position. When the monument was built, with the east-line three degrees further north, a clear view of this salient cardinal direction was possible.

Otherwise than by such a change, we are left to explain why the builders took much infinite care to preserve the view of the midsummer sunrise, yet totally neglected so crucial an aspect as that of the equinoctial sunrise (slightly north of the east line).

The north and south lines, with an allowance of three degrees, fall into harmony with the lay-out of the stones – indeed the whole monument responds to this slight amendment of aspect.

When the function of the stones, as marking geometrical and chronological positions on the great clock-dial of Stonehenge, falls to be examined, it will be found that, with a veer of north line to three degrees west of modern north, the well-known stone 59 marks the year 2326 B.C., in which year a total eclispse of the sun was seen in this country, the eclipse being recorded on this actual stone.

That is, the stone in relation to Stonehenge as a whole occupies the same position as an index of the year 2326 B.C. would occupy on a cup-and-ring marking.

Unless the three degrees of allowance for an ancient westerly veer of the north point be made, the position of the stone fails to mark the locus appropriate for the year 2326 B.C. recorded on the stone itself.

The entire matter of change of latitude and of cardinal directions, implying change of angle of midsummer sunrise, change of altitude of celestial pole, and change of direction of fixed stars, is, as a study, in its infancy; nevertheless fairly accurate broad rules are to be discerned. The broad rule of a western veer of the {11} ancient north in Britain – increasing until about 4750 B.C. and decreasing to the present (with possibly a slight easterly swing about 1 A.D.) – has been found consistent with the facts of the monuments and with the readings obtained from them.

A co-ordinate, moreover, is to be found in Egypt. The Ghizeh pyramids show scarcely any divergence from the modern north line (although, small as the change is, it has been discussed and a change of latitude suggested).

A simple diagram shows that, with five degrees of veer to the west of Stonehenge, a line from Ghizeh      * minutes west of present north (as in the Pyramid of Khufu) would intersect the old north line from Stonehenge at a point some four and a half degrees beyond the Pole as measured from Ghizeh.

This would mean that, although there is practically no change of cardinal direction at Ghizeh, there was nevertheless a considerable change of latitude – the pyramid originally resting in four and a half degrees lower latitude.

This implies a considerable change, and also implies a similar dating for Stonehenge and the great Pyramid.

As a matter of fact, the writer has long seen that the early chronology of Petrie for the date of the First Egyptian Dynasty alone can be reconciled with the new facts of monument geometrical symbolism.

The date of a five-degree western veer at Stonehenge agrees only with about 4750 B.C. Petrie’s date for the Great Pyramid is      * B.C. Evidence is elsewhere submitted to show that, in terms of measurement symbolism, the Great Pyramid dates itself at 4750 B.C. (height measures) with 4721 B.C. (base measurement). This gives an interval of 29 years, whilst Manetho allots 29 years to the reign of the first monarch of the Fourth Dynasty.

* [Blank in typescript.]

The measure symbolism of Stonehenge-ring and the Great Pyramid are identical, Stonehenge being on the scale of 1/100 and the Pyramid on the scale of 1/10 of the prehistoric time measure values. The height of the pyramid is 5776 inches: the inner margin of the Stonehenge sarsen ring has a radius of 577.6 inches. Both monuments symbolise the 4750-year cycle. Whilst, however, Stonehenge appears to have been built at the beginning of this 4750-year cycle in 5151 B.C., the Pyramid in question dates the 4750 years forward to 1 A.D., in which the great Maya cycle of 144,000 days began concurrently with the heliacal rising of Jupiter.

Since 4750 B.C. for the Great Pyramid implies, in Manetho’s (chronology), for the beginning of the Dynasties the year 5519 B.C. – itself another Maya 144,000-day cycle beginning; and since that cycle ended with the fourth king; the link between the mythical or semi-mythical kings of Manetho and the ancient time cycles becomes more and more manifest, and the chronology receives thereby considerable support.

As to the symbolism for 4750 B.C., in accordance with rule the 4750 date should be symholised by stars in Ophiuchus or Scorpio, {12} denoting the era –6441 to (–)4281. Below is a comparison of the four main sites at Ghizeh, the three large pyramids and the Sphinx, which are exactly in accord – even to direction of celestial north – with the four symbol stars of Ophiuchus, culminating midnight Feb. 25 within the era specified.

Note also the configuration of the six round barrows, just south of the eastern end of the Cursus, which is to be described as recording the same period of 4750 B.C. (The barrows may not be contemporary with the Cursus but may have been added later as part of the great scheme round Stonehenge.)

Finally, let the four and a half degrees lower latitude at Ghizeh be considered.

The present latitude is 31 degrees. Four and a half degrees lower would yield 26½ degrees for the latitude of Ghizeh at 4750 B.C., and would accord exactly with the angle of the entrance passage.

Thus the great Helestone of Stonehenge finds its parallel problem at Ghizeh. The difference of latitude banishes difficulties from – and indeed introduces common sense into – the discussion. The Helestone assumes its proper place as marking the sunrise of the period, whilst the entrance passage of the pyramid, inclined 26½ degrees, assumes its proper place as marking the true celestial pole of the period.

Similarly the change of latitude gave the barrow portraying the 2200 B.C. pole star on Salisbury Plain its true function of recording the altitude of the pole.

The great precessional cycle, taken as 25920 years, after which the pole of the heavens returns to its original position, having described a circle of some 47 degrees (diameter) in the northern heavens, was well-known to the ancients. What more definite and appropriate purpose could be imagined for the great entrance passage of the pyramid, facing north, than that of watching for the end of the great round of time, when the original polestar would return (a watch frustated by the great natural change of cardinal directions).

Other explanations of the passage, as with the Helestone, seem lame and unsatisfying. For some time the ruling opinion was that the passage was directed to the star Alpha Draconis in the third millennium B.C. But the altered view about Egyptian chronology, carrying back the date of the pyramid a thousand years at least (and some two thousand years at most) destroys the significance of the Alpha Draconis explanation. Why should the builders have fixed, for no apparent reason, upon a third-magnitude star, which did not mark their celestial north, for so obviously important a thing as the view from the great entrance passage? The same would apply to any star that was not the pole star of the period.

It is suggested therefore that the entrance passage of the pyramid of Khufu was inclined at such an angle as to allow observation of the true celestial north pole, then at an altitude of 26½ degrees about; and that the increasing angles of later pyramids agree with the gradually northward change in the latitude of the pyramid. It is submitted that the symbol stars of the period, the confirmation of Manetho’s list, the opinion of so well-known a scholar as Sir Flinders Petrie (as to date), the measurement symbolism as compared with Stonehenge – and indeed the whole body of facts – imply the date of 4750 B.C. for the Great Pyramid, associated with a latitude of 26½ degrees.