Stonehenge: A proto-sundial with bias toward summer



Abstract: Stonehenge marks an ancient local meridian and in its complete state would have functioned as a form of proto-sundial or “earth-clock”. Originally the Outer-Circle consisted of 30 upright pillars with the same number of connecting lintels, as suggested by the discovery of parch-marks in 2013. It is proposed that the 30 sections of the Outer-Circle represented the total duration of the day utilising a 30hr time-system. With north and south aligning to the centre of gaps 27+12 (lintels 127+112) and east and west aligning to the centre of pillars 4 and 19, the structure is precisely aligned to the cardinal directions. The Great Horseshoe is positioned so that its trilithons cast shadow and direct light against or toward pillars and gaps in a process that we could recognise as similar to the hand of a clock pointing to a digit on a clock-face.

The Stonehenge Earth Clock: The theory proposes that the cardinal directions align precisely with the intended placement of the structure, the function of which is a filtering and channelling process. Sunlight is intentionally filtered by the structure to frame a column of light or shadow against a specific lintel or pillar, which can then be read as data. The distance of a lintel/pillar from the central axes of the monument is equivalent to the apparent distance of the sun from the North-South and East-West meridians. The arrangement of light and shadow within the structure, at any given point during daylight hours and over the course of the year, can be read as data regarding the position of the sun and the structure can be used to give numeric values to this positioning. Azimuth readings commonly convey data relating to durations of time. A 30hr time-system functioning according to its division across the 360˚ azimuth would be arranged as follows:

360˚^30hr = 12˚ per hour

1440mins^30hr = 48mins per hour

12˚^48mins= 0.25˚ per min

1440mins*0.25˚= 360˚ per day

360˚ represents the total azimuth value of the spinning earth, 1440 represents the total duration of the day in minutes following a hypothetical or mean sun. The value 0.25 is the amount of movement of the mean sun per minute in degrees. The value 12 is the amount of movement of the mean sun per hour in degrees and the value 48 is the requisite number of minutes per hour for the time-system. The following table shows a comparison of the 24hr and 30hr time-systems and details where the (hypothetical) direct channel of light from the mean sun would strike the inner face of the circle. The table also indicates the monument position that is relative to the 360˚ circle beginning north and moving clockwise. The relative position can be used like a solar compass, wherever the true sun is behind a section of the monument, the shadow cast by that section will be more parallel to its pillar(s) in relation to the rest of the monument, indicating the sun is behind that position, assigning its relative position value will give the degree position of the true sun. For instance, if the sun is directly behind pillar 3, the shadow cast by pillar 3 will be the only shadow that is directly parallel to its pillar, and we could say the sun is at 78˚.

24hr 60mins p/h. 30hr 48mins p/h. Strike Position (NP Count) Mean Sun Position/ Degrees Relative Position
00:00 30:00 Gap 12 centre* 0/360˚ Gap 27 centre
00:24 30:24 Pillar 12 centre Pillar 27 centre
00:48 1:00 Gap 13 centre 12˚ Gap 28 centre
1:12 1:24 Pillar 13 centre 18˚ Pillar 28 centre
1:36 2:00 Gap 14 centre 24˚ Gap 29 centre
2:00 2:24 Pillar 14 centre 30˚ Pillar 29 centre
2:24 3:00 Gap 15 centre 36˚ Gap 30 centre
2:48 3:24 Pillar 15 centre 42˚ Pillar 30 centre
3.12 4:00 Gap 16 centre 48˚ Gap 1 centre
3:36 4:24 Pillar 16 centre 54˚ Pillar 1 centre
4:00 5:00 Gap 17 centre 60˚ Gap 2 centre
4.24 5:24 Pillar 17 centre 66˚ Pillar 2 centre
4:48 6:00 Gap 18 centre 72˚ Gap 3 centre
5:12 6:24 Pillar 18 centre 78˚ Pillar 3 centre
5:36 7:00 Gap 19 centre 84˚ Gap 4 centre
6:00 7:24 Pillar 19 centre 90˚ Pillar 4 centre
6:24 8:00 Gap 20 centre 96˚ Gap 5 centre
6:48 8:24 Pillar 20 centre 102˚ Pillar 5 centre
7:12 9:00 Gap 21 centre 108˚ Gap 6 centre
7:36 9:24 Pillar 21 centre 114˚ Pillar 6 centre
8:00 10:00 Gap 22 centre 120˚ Gap 7 centre
8:24 10:24 Pillar 22 centre 126˚ Pillar 7 centre
8:48 11:00 Gap 23 centre 132˚ Gap 8 centre
9:12 11:24 Pillar 23 centre 138˚ Pillar 8 centre
9:36 12:00 Gap 24 centre 144˚ Gap 9 centre
10:00 12:24 Pillar 24 centre 150˚ Pillar 9 centre
10:24 13:00 Gap 25 centre 156˚ Gap 10 centre
10:48 13:24 Pillar 25 centre 162˚ Pillar 10 centre
11:12 14:00 Gap 26 centre 168˚ Gap 11 centre
11:36 14:24 Pillar 26 centre 174˚ Pillar 11 centre
12:00 15:00 Gap 27 centre 180˚ Gap 12 centre

* Gap 12 is extended due to the half-width of pillar 11, the “centre” referred to in the table is not central to the extended gap but as if the gap were regular.

Table 1 – 24hr + 30hr time-system comparison 12am-12pm

Note: The above table cannot be used to read time using the monument as it details the NP count. To read time using Stonehenge it is necessary to use the SP Count. For a guide to reading time using Stonehenge use the following link

The fundamental design of the monument incorporates the underlying principles of an idealised or mean time system. If the true sun did move at 0.25˚ per minute, all of the time, then an upright pole at the centre of the Outer-Circle would suffice to achieve accurate mean time readings if using a 30hr time-system, however, it does not. The movements of the true sun are irregular, and vary over the course of the day and over the course of the year, and we will return to this point shortly considering the function of the Great Horseshoe. This fundamental arrangement of the Outer-Circle with hour positions beginning and ending at the centre of every gap can be thought of as the Normal Position Count (NP) as detailed in the above table and in diagram 1. The Outer-Circle consisted of 30 sarsen pillars with connecting lintels that formed gaps either side of every pillar. Each section equals 12 degrees arc of sky along the azimuth totalling 360 degrees. Each section had an approximate width of 10ft, with each pillar averaging 6ft width and each gap averaging 4ft width. It is important to note that although the width of pillars and gaps can vary generally by 1ft, none-the-less, from pillar centre to pillar centre is always approximately 10ft width, for example sometimes a pillar may be 7ft and a gap 3ft. However, it is well established that, taking the monument as a whole, the mean average of pillar width is 6ft and gap width 4ft. It is this mean average measurement of sections that is necessary in establishing the basic function of the monument, and defines the placement for the central points of pillars and gaps. Each of the sections starts at the centre of a gap and ends at the centre of the next gap with the pillar in the middle. The start/end of each section is 2ft from either edge of a pillar, and so the centre of any section will be the very centre of its respective pillar (see diagram 1). This arrangement can be used to give time-values to the position of the sun. For instance, where the centre of gap 27 occupies the north position corresponding to 0/360˚ its time-value would be 15:00SHT as at solar-noon it would be receiving the direct channel from the sun whose position would be 180˚ due south, we can see that 180^12= 15.

If we imagine we are stood at the centre of the original undamaged monument, start facing north and so looking at the centre of gap 27 (the region marked 15pm in diagram 1), with north as 0, if we count 7.5 places from this position in a clockwise direction we arrive at the centre of pillar 4 and will now be facing east. As 360˚^4= 90˚ and 30^4= 7.5, and east is 90˚ clockwise from north and the centre of pillar 4 is 90˚ clockwise from the centre of gap 27, this arrangement gives the monument a horological basis to its construction.

Diagram 1

Diagram 1 – Stonehenge with the 30hr clock-face NP count.

We would give the centre of pillar 4 the reading value 22.5 as it would be receiving the direct channel from the sun when the azimuth position is due west at 270˚ as 270^12= 22.5 (as shown in diagram 1). These figures can then be converted into hours and minutes. The pre-decimal figure gives us the hour, and the post-decimal figure gives us the remaining percentage of the hour. The second can be calculated as a 100th of the minute, there are 48 minutes in an SH hour, and so there are 48SH seconds in an SH minute (counted at 48bpm), the calculation is 0.48*50= 24mins, giving us the time 22:24SHT. To convert this into the 24hr system we simply use the quotient between each time-system’s ‘degrees per hour’ rate 15^12= 1.25. We use this to divide the 30hr time value, 22.5^1.25= 18 giving us the time 18:00hrs or 6pm in the 24hr time-system. The same is true for pillar 19 in the west position its reading value would be 7.5 as it would be receiving the direct channel from the sun when the true solar position is 90˚az, 90^12= 7.5, 7.5^1.25= 6am. This is consistent with how we arrange and position a sundial with the 6am hour line to the west and the 6pm hour line to the east.

The Horseshoe Alignment: The formation and alignment of the Great Horseshoe is a design intended to channel and filter light for the purposes of establishing a form of specialised time. The horseshoe formation offsets direct light from the sun so that instead of landing at a place within the circle relative to the true solar position it lands at a position relative to the Stonehenge Time-System. The N-S meridian runs through pillar 54 in trilithon 2 and when the sun approaches azimuth 180˚ at solar noon the shadow and window cast by trilithon 2 create a channel of light (the T2 line). The line moves clockwise with the movement of the sun toward the north position. The T2Line actually closes at solar noon but a shadow cast from pillar 60 in T5 runs along the N-S meridian to the corresponding lintel 127 (gap 27) marking position 15:00SHT. Always indicating solar noon rather than midday, and functioning as such, the monument is much like a sundial.

Trilithons 1 and 4 (T1+T4) are positioned as to align with the East-West meridian that runs through pillars 51 and 57. When the sun is at 90˚ (or 270˚) each pillar obstructs the path of direct sunlight, as do pillars 4 and 19 in the Outer-Circle as the meridian line runs through their centre. T4 effectively offsets the position of the light channel coming through the circle and landing on the inner face of pillar 19 (see diagram 2).

Diagram 2

Diagram 2 – Offset caused by trilithon 4.

The sun only rises prior to 90˚ in the summer half of the year from spring to autumn equinox. At this time of year and during the AM period of the day, the azimuth of the true solar position will be “behind” the mean sun. As it approaches solar noon this discrepancy decreases until reaching solar noon, where the process flips. For the PM period the true solar position will then be “ahead” of the mean sun. This process inverts for the winter half of the year, between the autumn equinox and spring equinox the AM is ahead and PM is behind. The aim of sundial design is to offset this variation to create a tool that approximates a representation of the day as equal proportions throughout the year.

The function of the Great Horseshoe begins to make sense when we consider it in terms of daily time relative to seasonal solar drift. Diagram 3 shows the sun at 90˚ due east and the displacement caused by T1 and T4. At this position T4’s displacement toward the north is a positive displacement because the light is travelling around the monument clockwise. T4 obstructs the direct channel of light running at 90˚ and displaces it further clockwise, effectively placing it ahead in time. We can also see that T1 has the opposite effect and displaces the light anti-clockwise putting it back in time.

Diagram 3

Diagram 3 – T1 and T4 Displacement E-W, Sun at 90˚az.

We can begin to consider this function in relation to the overall calibration of the monument. We can think of the Outer-Circle as calibrated to the cardinal directions and therefore the equinoxes. A concept that can be best illustrated if we imagine an upright pole at the centre of the circle instead of the Great Horseshoe, when the sun is at 90˚az the shadow from the pole would strike the centre of pillar 19. The Great Horseshoe is calibrated so that the T4 line strikes the centre of pillar 19 when the sun is at 80˚ azimuth, meaning it is calibrated to a different date, a date when the sun is at 80˚az and it is 6:00am in the morning. There are two candidates: the 5th of May and the 18th of August. The 5th of May is a quarter-date, meaning it is precisely halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice, it is the day traditionally associated with the pagan festival of Beltane. The Great Horseshoe is calibrated so that it reads time most accurately on this date (see diagram 4).

earth clock diagram 1 SP COUNT MAY 5th A4 copy copy

Diagram 4 – May 5th SP Count, time-readings.

Diagram 4 shows times in black as local mean time. Written in red are the digits for the Sundial Position Count (SP). The yellow lines indicate the T4Line positions and where the column of light hits the inner circle hour to hour. The black lines indicate the T1Shadow positions, instead of a strip of light through the centre of the trilithon, it is the shadow cast by T1 that points to the SP markers hour to hour. The SP count differs from the NP count in the way hour positions are assigned to the Outer-Circle. Instead of one hour represented as a complete section (i.e. a pillar with half a gap each side) hour markers are assigned to an individual pillar, then an individual gap, then an individual pillar etc. In this sense the SP count condenses the way hour times are read around the circle. Given that a section is 10ft in width, a pillar 6ft and a gap 4ft width, and if we take the 10ft of the overall section and divide it by Phi we get 6.18ft, therefore we can loosely think of the division of pillars and gaps as according to the Golden Ratio. Condensing the NP count into the SP count was utilisation of this mathematical principle, and allowed for the calibration of the monument. Using the trilithons in the Great Horseshoe as light filters, light was channelled to the relevant positions and the monument was calibrated to May 5th. Why the monument was calibrated to this date becomes clear when we further consider the seasonal drift of the true solar position, a point made easier if we go back to imagining an upright pole at the monument centre instead of the horseshoe and compare the spring equinox to the summer and winter solstice.

Equinox Spring TRUE SOLAR TIME copy

Diagram 5 – Spring Equinox times, upright gnomon positions.

Diagram 5 shows the spring equinox with local mean time hour positions and the equivalent SP count. The black lines denote where the shadow from the upright pole or gnomon would be cast. It will be noted that each hour generally corresponds to a particular pillar; this is the “natural” calibration of the Outer-Circle. The reason the hour lines do not run straight along the E-W meridian is because on this date 6am and 6pm actually occur just prior to the sun reaching 90˚ and 270˚ respectively. It will also be worth noting that the hour angles are of a roughly consistent size and run consistently over the course of the day. Solar noon on this date occurs after midday local mean time. The maximum solar noon ever occurs before or after midday is 15mins, the same cannot be said for the other hours relative to the equinox. The daily variation for when local mean time hours occur in the morning and evening is much greater than the variation at solar noon and solar midnight. This is because as the sun appears to approach north or south it travels less vertically and begins to travel more horizontally and therefore covers its greatest distance across the azimuth.

earth clock diagram June 21st (only done up to 11SP) TRUE SOLAR

Diagram 6 – Summer Solstice times, upright gnomon positions.

Diagram 6 shows the summer solstice and where the shadow will be cast at the same local mean time hours on this date. 6am occurs when the sun is at a much lesser azimuth position, by the time the sun reaches 90˚az it is over an hour later in the day. This shows the extent of variation for the morning period during summer. It will be noted that the sun travels its greatest distance across the azimuth at solar noon for the entire year, on this date, because the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun. This essentially compensates for the more extreme variation earlier in the day when the solar position is behind mean time, and therefore solar noon and midday actually occur closer in time than they do on the equinox. The diagrams not only illustrate the variation in when hours occur but also the difference in the perceived duration of hours throughout the year if using this kind of primitive sundial design.

earth clock diagram Equinox March 21st TRUE SOLAR TIME copy copy

Diagram 7 – Winter Solstice times, upright gnomon positions.

Diagram 7 shows the opposite is true for the winter solstice compared with the summer; 6am occurs when the sun is at a much greater azimuth position and so it is much earlier when the sun crosses 90˚az (of course, in the winter period the sun does not rise until much later and would still be under the horizon at this point). When the sun does rise it is closer to the region where it appears to travel more horizontally across the sky, and its position begins to get closer to mean time. Because the Northern Hemisphere is tilted away from the sun at this point in the year, the sun appears to travel at its slowest rate across the azimuth leading up to and during solar noon, and solar noon and midday occur only 2mins apart, despite the huge discrepancy in the AM and PM periods. Relating this information to the function of the Great Horseshoe it becomes obvious that its calibration to May 5th gives the structure a bias toward summer. The annual variation produced by the perceived seasonal drift of the sun is greatly reduced for the summer period.

earth clock diagram 1 SP COUNT June 21st A4 copy copy copy

Diagram 8 – Summer Solstice, SP Count positions and times.

Diagram 8 shows the local mean hour times on the summer solstice that the sun reaches the same SP count positions as on May 5th. It can be seen that in any instance the discrepancy is no greater than 30mins, with an average of 28mins late. If we compare diagrams 6+8 with diagram 4, taking 6am as an example, in diagrams 8 and 4 we can see that the variation at 7.5SP is 29mins.

earth clock diagram 1 SP COUNT MAY 5th A4 copy copy

Diagram 4 – May 5th SP Count, time-readings.

In diagram 6, at 6am the sun is at 74˚ azimuth, 16˚ away from 7.5SP (pillar 19 centre at 90˚az relative position), there are 4mins per degree and so 16*4= 64mins. The Stonehenge design with Great Horseshoe offset, has therefore, reduced the effect of seasonal solar drift by 35mins for this hour as 64–35= 29. The Great Horseshoe achieves significant reduction in the perceived variation of the time during the summer because it is calibrated to the quarter dates nearest to summer solstice giving the monument a bias in favour of the summer half of year. The winter, then of course, is negatively affected. Where in the summer seasonal solar drift (SSD) is reduced by the Stonehenge design, in winter it is increased. However, this does not necessarily mean that the Stonehenge design conveys truer time in summer. The reasoning is due to the advanced knowledge of the sun and its seasonal movements across the sky owing to the architects of the monument. As previously stated, when considering SSD and taking the year as a whole, the morning and evening periods will always be the most discrepant with solar noon and solar midnight always more uniform.

earth clock diagram 1 SP COUNT Winter Solstice A4 copy copy copy

Diagram 9 – Winter Solstice, SP Count positions and times.

As diagram 9 emphasises, on the winter solstice the sun is not in the sky until after the SSD periods of maximum discrepancy have passed. We can see that at 7.5SP when the sun is at 80˚az it is 3:50am, the reading would be 130mins early, a huge increase on the natural discrepancy due to SSD, which is 78mins, a difference of 52mins. However, the sun would still be 37˚ below the horizon at this time, and so the increased discrepancy caused by the monument would not make a difference. When the sun does rise the monument is reading 94mins early, the natural discrepancy due to SSD is 64mins, therefore by this time the monument is only causing an increase of 30mins. For the next hour the monument is reading 64mins early and the natural discrepancy due to SSD is 48mins, the monument has caused an increase of only 16mins. By the next hour the monument is 35mins early and the natural discrepancy due to SSD is 31mins, the increase caused by the monument is only 4mins. It can be seen from these simple calculations that the bias in the calibration of the monument toward summer is mostly negligible. During the winter the sun is below the horizon when passing its maximum points of SSD, due to this, where the bias in the calibration of the monument reduces summer discrepancy by a maximum of 35mins, in winter it increases the discrepancy by an observable maximum of only 30mins. Another way to view this is that the bias in the monument toward summer involves an offset along the azimuth, and in the winter this is accounted for due to the natural variation in solar altitude (as the sun is below the horizon at the points of maximum SSD during winter). It is this fact that highlights the underlying and unprecedented genius in the design of the monument. The overbearing implication is that although the architects did not construct a technology that read in mean time year round, they apparently must have had the mathematical systems to calculate it, to have been able to construct the model evident at Stonehenge.

Other Site features: Evidence for the horological function of the Stonehenge design is compounded by other specific aspects of the monument, in particular the reduced widths of pillars 11 and 21. It is firstly worth noting that although pillars 11 and 21 have a reduced width, their particular sections were still approximately 10ft in width, and so the reduced width of these two pillars did not affect the overall azimuth range of the monument. Pillar 21 has a reduced width at approximately 4ft, and it is suggested this is an intentional feature. Pillar 21 marks the region 11SP and is struck when the true solar position is 115˚az. The region of the monument that gets struck by the T4Line is at the relative position 112˚az, this is the offset caused by T4 at this point. The centre of pillar 21 marks the relative position 114˚az, if the pillar was 6ft wide then its southern face would sit at approximately 110˚az. Reducing the width of the pillar to 4ft meant that its southern face would now sit at approximately 112˚az, the hit-point needed for the T4Line and its May 5th calibration. The same is true for the pillar’s northern face, this is the point of course where the pillar ends and the next gap begins and so is assigned to the next SP hour marker, 12SP. 12SP is struck when the true solar position is 128˚az, the front of the line is displaced to approximately 120˚az and the rear of the line to approximately 116˚az. Again, if the pillar were 6ft wide its northern face would sit at the relative position 118˚az, in-between either of our hit-points. Of course, extending the pillar to reach 120˚az would have resulted in a gap of half the regular size. It seems the Stonehenge architects opted for reducing the pillar and alternating between reading the front and rear of the line for the hours 11-12SP. The general picture is that pillar 21 was trimmed to fit the offset caused by T4’s displacement against the central meridians. This is perhaps one of the most compelling aspects of the theory at large as it begins to provide a framework to understand the irregular sizing of pillar and gap widths.

Pillar 11 is currently half-height and half-width. However, recent laser analysis of the site has confirmed that pillar 11 is fragmentary. The half-height is a result of a breakage that is likely to have occurred at some point after the completion of the monument. A fact that also confirms the half-width of pillar 11 is part of the original design meaning its western face is purposely 5ft away from the N-S meridian and the position marking 180˚ due south. Each section is equivalent to 12˚ over 10ft, 12^10= 1.2 meaning 1ft along the Outer-Circle at Stonehenge is equivalent to 1.2˚. 5ft*1.2= 6˚ and 6*4= 24mins, the width of the southern gap is equivalent to a half-hour duration in the SH time-system. Having pillar 11 positioned “half-an-hour” prior to 180˚ is perhaps an echo of the Callanish stone circle, which has 12 pillars in its outer-circle spaced at approximately 30˚ separation with an extra 13th pillar in the north position giving 15˚ between those pillars. The mean sun moves 15˚ per hour in the 24hr time-system. However, at Callanish the extra 13th pillar is not placed directly north, instead north, as at Stonehenge, is central to the northern gap. The extra pillar at Callanish, therefore, is also placed “half-an-hour” prior to the solar noon strike position. Callanish has a central pillar that acts as an upright gnomon and on the correct date, half-an-hour prior to solar noon, a shadow extends from the central gnomon onto the 13th pillar. This function was potentially used to calibrate a proto-hour-glass, water-clock or some similar technology, as twice a year when the difference between solar and mean time is at its maximum the natural rate of the sun’s apparent movement across the azimuth coincides with the 0.25˚ per minute rate of the idealised time-system. That is to say; in early November and February at the time of the Samhain and Imbolc festivals, again quarter-dates, the sun moves across the azimuth at the rate of a quarter of a degree per minute specifically for the hours before and after solar noon meaning the sun will move precisely 15˚ in 1hr GMT or 12˚ in 1hr SHT. At this time of year both the Stonehenge and Callanish monuments could have been used to calibrate another time-keeping device by the apparent movement of the sun across the sky. It is also worth noting that the star Sirius also moves at the rate 0.25˚ per minute for 1 hour before and after it has reached 180˚ due South. The star will therefore move from 180-195˚ in 1hr every single night that it is visible. Observing Sirius move from a position directly over the western face of pillar 11 to the meridian line, will take the duration of precisely 24 minutes. On the dates in November and February, 24mins prior to solar noon, the T2Line will strike the very centre of the inside face of pillar 60 in T5. It then moves toward the central axis of the monument which is the N-S meridian, here the T2Line closes and the shadow of pillar 60 runs along the meridian and hits in the very centre of gap 27 marking solar noon. As November and February occur in the winter half of the year the sun is at a lower altitude, and even at solar noon its rays are angled more across the landscape as opposed to beating down on it, therefore some of its rays do not clear the top of the Outer-Circle. Without the half-width of pillar 11 the strip of light would not pass into the circle and strike the centre of pillar 60.

Conclusion: The concepts put forward imply that Stonehenge functioned as a form of proto-sundial. The development of technologies that utilised forms of tempered time, in Neolithic Britain, seems to have occurred at least 1500yrs prior to the commonly accepted date given to the development of the sundial. The design of Stonehenge is relevant to its geographic location, put the exact same design somewhere on the equator and it will not function as intended. Locations on the equator experience a more uniform amount of daylight hours during the summer and winter seasons. The bias in the design of Stonehenge toward the summer period is a result of its construction having taken place at latitude 51˚ north. The further one travels north or south from the equator the more the difference in daylight hours between seasons is markedly pronounced and so varies from parallel to parallel, indicating that the monument design and alignment is essentially locally specific. The practical application of timekeeping as used at Stonehenge seems to have been relatively complicated, somewhat extensive and culturally significant requiring the erection of a permanent structure from which solar readings could be derived and used to calculate a specialised form of local time and establish a local meridian.

Images and intellectual property

copyright © MS Goff, 2019

Further reading: the full text can be accessed here

and downloaded here

Click to access xY7DiY0VX_Microsoft_Word_Stonehenge_A_prototype_sundial_with_bias_toward_summerdocx.pdf



 Banton, S. and Daw, T. (2014). PARCHMARKS AT STONEHENGE JULY 2013 [online] Available at:

 Abbot, M. and Anderson-Whymark, H. (2012). STONEHENGE LASER SCAN: ARCHAEOLOGICAL ANALYSIS REPORT. [ebook] ArcHeritage. Available at:



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Mapping The Circle

Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 19.05.47

SP – 24hr Times for May 5th:

7.5SP = 6:00am       8SP = 6:24am      9SP = 7:12am       10SP = 8:00am        11SP = 8:48am

12SP = 9:36am      13SP = 10:24am    14SP = 11:12am  15SP = 11:58am (solar noon)


The above table gives us the width of pillars and gaps in the western section of the circle as they relate to the inner circumference of the Outer Circle. Positions in the western section will be struck in the am period of the day, when the sun is opposite in the east and the table gives the associated ‘times’ as they relate to the sundial position count (SP). The original measurements are given in modern feet and inches, which must be converted into Stonehenge foot measurements to have any significant meaning. There are 305 modern feet to the inner circumference of the Outer Circle, it is evident that the intentional measurement as assessed by the original builders was 300ft, 305^300= 1.016667. Each of the modern measurements have been converted into SH feet using this calculation. For each section at Stonehenge there are 12˚ over 10SHft, therefore 1SHft= 1.2˚ this calculation has been used to convert between SH feet and degrees. It can be seen in column 6 that the centre of pillar 19 totals approximately 90˚ from north in an anti-clockwise direction. This confirms the projected design put forward as part of earth clock theory and the ‘sundial’ design of the structure, that the E-W meridian aligns to pillars 4+19 which are both 7.5 places from north, 30^4=7.5 and 360˚^4= 90˚.


The displacement caused by trilithons in The Great Horseshoe can also be observed from the figures detailed in columns 8+9 of the table above. From this we can begin to understand how the trilithons function and were utilised by the builders of the monument. All of the trilithons in the horseshoe are angled against the meridian lines, none of them run flush. The angle of trilithons against, and their position in relation to, the meridian lines determines when light from the sun will filter through the central gap of the trilithon and the resulting width of the line of light. The line of light will be at its thickest when the sun is at a position roughly central to the trilithon’s gap, the line will be at its thinnest when the sun is at a position to the extreme on either side of the trilithon. Therefore when the line of light first opens or is coming to a close, the line will be at its thinnest, and when the sun is halfway through traversing the region of that trilithon, the line will be at its thickest. We must consider that the thickness of the line will determine the rate at which the line appears to approach and strike the next SP position. This variation in the thickness of lines cast by a trilithon was of course utilised by the monument builders to regulate when certain positions were struck in relation to the sun’s azimuth position in the sky. We can see that when the sun is at 80˚az the position struck along the Outer Circle relates to an opposing value of 90˚, therefore the trilithon is causing a 10˚ displacement. As the sun approaches a position more central to the trilithon and the line gets thicker, the amount of degrees caused by this displacement decreases, by the time the line is striking gap 21, the sun is at 104˚az and the T4line is striking a position with an opposing value of 106.324˚, the displacement is now only 2.324˚. At this point the sun is central to the trilithon’s gap, but we are not using the centre of the trilithon to indicate the time, at this point it is the front of the line being used, as the width of the gap is equivalent to 5.604˚ half of which is 2.802˚ we can see that the line will be striking the necessary position to within an accuracy of 0.5˚. From here the line begins to narrow again as the sun moves beyond a position central to the trilithon’s gap, and the displacement caused by the trilithon begins to increase again.


It will also be noted through observation of column 10 that sometimes it is the front and sometimes the rear of line that strikes the position along the Outer Circle that relates to the particular SP time. The builders of the monument obviously used this as a factor that would give them more flexibility in how they could arrange hour angles around the monument. This function differs to a standard sundial. Using a standard sundial it will always be the tip of the shadow that is used to indicate the hour angle at which it points, hour angles on a horizontal sundial require varying sizes due to the variation in how many degrees the sun moves over that hour. The SH architects could manipulate this further by varying between reading the front or rear of the line, and used this along with the changing variants in the thickness of the line to achieve particular strike positions relating to the ‘on-the-hour’ times of the May 5th calibration.


It should also be noted from observation of columns 8+9 that there is only one position during the am period, in which, the sun’s azimuth value is exactly equivalent to the positions opposing value, this is when the sun is striking 14SP, the last hour prior to solar noon. On May 5th the line will take 48mins to move from position to position and the monument could have been used on this date to calibrate other time-keeping devices. However, when the line strikes 14SP on this date, it is the only point at which the sun’s position in the sky is precisely equivalent to the position being struck along the Outer Circle, demonstrating perhaps a symbolic importance given to the hours either side of solar noon.


By mapping the proportions of the monument to the degree circumference of the circle, the related times and displacement caused by trilithons, the concepts put forward as part of earth clock theory can be further assessed and should be either verified or falsified by other researchers of the monument. The above table clearly shows that when the sun is at x position, y position along the Outer Circle is struck, which relates to z time on May 5th. This information puts forward a strong case for the function of the monument as a sundial that reads in solar mean time for the date May 5th using a 30hr time-system. If the above information cannot be falsified then the concepts and observations put forward as part of earth clock theory should be recognised and it should be the duty of the wider archaeological and research community to accept the theory as a valid explanation of the function and purpose of Stonehenge.

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Calendar and Clock Systems and the Early Phases of Stonehenge

FullSizeRender (2)

It is evident from the design inherent in the Stonehenge structure that its builders had a working concept of the 360˚ circle. Hand measurements are used by nomadic societies still today in land navigation techniques. 1 finger is equivalent to 1 degree, and a circle made around the body totals 360-fingers. Here we have not only a universal, but also, a physiological basis for the 360˚ circle. By projecting this onto the sky and landscape the ancients were able to form the concept of altitude and azimuth positions of celestial objects.

Through continued observation they would have noticed a seasonal cyclic anomaly in the gradual shift of the sun against the position of the stars, the difference between the side-real and tropical day.

SH clock and calendar orion sun winterSH clock and calendar orion sun spring

SH clock and calendar orion sun summerSH clock and calendar orion sun autumn

If we record the position of the sun against a fixed reference point in the stars it has the effect of giving the sun the appearance of gradually shifting in an anti-clockwise direction around the horizon over the course of the year. The number of days from position to position is roughly equivalent to the amount of degrees it has traveled around the 360˚ circle. On the winter solstice solar-midnight and mean-midnight coincide. At this exact moment the sun will be on due north, under the horizon if  you are in the northern hemisphere (in the southern hemisphere it will be solar noon) and Orion will be due south.

Because the earth moves 1˚ each day in its orbit about the sun, the amount of days that it is from winter solstice is equivalent to the amount of degrees the sun appears to shift. After 90 days the sun will appear to have shifted 90˚ in an anti-clockwise direction against the horizon. 90 days from winter solstice is roughly spring equinox, the sun will now be due west when Orion arrives back at due south and instead of happening at midnight this will now occur at 6pm in the evening. This of course means that, for example, a shift of 1 quarter of the 360˚ circle is equivalent to one quarter of the year and results in a time shift of one quarter of the day. In this seasonal cyclic pattern is the foundation of the calendar and clock systems in use still today.

Perhaps the most underappreciated human invention is the-minute-into-the-hour. The stroke of genius came when someone established that 1˚ would be equal to 4 units of time, and this unit would be called the minute. If there are always 4 times the amount of minutes than degrees then it can always be said that a complete day is equivalent to 1440 minutes. However many hours there are in your time-system you simply divide 360 by that figure to arrive at how many degrees your mean-sun will travel per hour and then divide 1440 by your amount of hours to arrive at the figure of how many minutes there are in your hour.

The earth moves 1˚ in its orbit about the sun each day which ultimately causes the difference between the sidereal and tropical day and the ancients could now measure this difference. By establishing that 1˚ is equivalent to 4mins, the ancients could say the stars rise approximately 4mins earlier each day, and this is the tool which led people to mean time. We can see in the developmental stages of Stonehenge how the-minute-into-the-hour became of greater use, from the transitional designs of one phase to another.


SH phase 1 clock and calendar


Stonehenge Phase 1 occurred circa 3000bc and saw the bank raised, ditch dug and the erection of 56 posts. It is suggested that 2 posts acted as 1, or that one position consisted of 2 posts. The circle would have 28 total positions this is based on the resulting calendar of 364 days a year. You could multiply 6.5day weeks by 56 and arrive at the result, but you could just as easily observe the halves on the same day i.e. you observe sets of 13 day weeks, 13*28= 364. As there are 13 lunar orbits in one year this would give the calendar a lunar association, the 28day month is very close to the 27.27 days it takes the moon to orbit earth. Of course, the premise is that the ancients sought a unified calendar and time system. In this system they achieved a certain equilibrium, the hours in the day, days in the month and weeks in the year are all 28. Also the days in a week and months in a year are both 13. Following this calendar would have meant 3 years of 364days and 1 year of 369days, giving 5 additional intercalary days in the last year compared to the their standard duration.This arrangement totals 1461days which we observe in the modern era as 365days a year*3+1 year of 366days = 1461 days.

If we consider again the sidereal and tropical day variance, and that 1 day is equivalent to 4mins shift of the apparent position of the sun against the stars, then each year with 1.25days missed off of the calendar, they were suffering 5mins variation to their time-system for the entire second year, by the 3rd year it was 10mins out and for the fourth year it would be 15mins out until they had their intercalary festival which likely took place at the end of the year. The change year to year would have been particularly hard to track with this time and calendar system because of the resulting degrees and minutes per hour. Where there is uniformity among the days, weeks and months, the degrees and minutes were split to very large decimal positions.

360˚^28= 12.85714285714286˚

1440mins^28= 51.42857142857143mins

These would have been extremely difficult figures to work with, however, multiplied on divisions of 4 they add up to equal numbers. It seems that at the stage of Stonehenge phase 1, initially the degrees-and-minutes-into-the-hour were of less importance, or were regarded as such, and greater emphasis was put on uniformity across the days, weeks and months of the calendar and time system. With the resulting time-shift of 5mins per year and the complexity of the divisions to decimal places for degrees and minutes, rather promptly the 28hr day was abandoned in favour of a new system that still afforded unification across the calendar and time system, but also resulted in even division for the degrees-and-minutes-into-the-hour, this was the 30hr time system.


Stonehenge Phase 3a

SH Phase3a


Stonehenge phase 3a, circa 2, 500bc, saw the erection of the sarsen stones in the Outer Circle and Great Horseshoe, as we see the remains of today, but the initial bluestone layout was very different. The phase 3a bluestones formed an opposing horseshoe also centred on the summer solstice axis. Inherent within this overall design were the main elements that make up the calendar and time system that would be used at the site for the next 1000yrs.




The calendar would be transformed from a lunar cycle of 13 months a year to a solar cycle of 12 months a year. 30 pillars would represent the 30 days of the month, giving 12 months a year totaling 360days and requiring 5 intercalary days each year and 6 in the 4th year. This model should look familiar because it is very similar to our own calendar. A marker could be moved each day to record the month, and as 30^12= 2.5, each month a marker could be moved 2.5 places, resulting in the alternate movement from a gap to a pillar centre.  Because each section runs from gap to gap, the centre of a pillar is the centre of its section. Starting at the north gap for the winter solstice the marker would jump two gaps and land at the centre of the next pillar for the next month. If the marker is moved in an anti-clockwise direction, then by month 3 the marker will be on the west position.

SH clock and calendar right-angle N-W

This process would echo the sun/star displacement where the sun is due west for the spring equinox sunset at 6pm and Orion is back on due south.


SH clock and calendar orion sun spring


The weekly calendar encoded at Stonehenge is 7.5days a week, 48 weeks a year giving 360days. As 70% of 7.5 is 5.25, include the intercalary days and the intercalated 0.25 of the day, and they were following 7.5*48.7= 365.25. It is likely the 0.25 was combined in the 4th year as an extra intercalary day. Meaning the calendar would result in a 1minute shift each year, totaling 4minutes over the 4 years and which is reset in the 4th year by the extra day. This again is the process we follow in the modern calendar with the use of the leap year.



SH clock and calendar dimensions

Stonehenge phase 3 was built the way it was, partly to enable the easy conversion of degrees into minutes. The monument design totals 300ft, over 360˚ gives 1.2˚ per foot. As there are 12inches per foot then an inch (adult male’s thumb width) at Stonehenge is equivalent to a 10th of a degree as a land measurement (a finger width is equivalent to 1˚ as a sky measurement). As there are 4mins per degree in the mean time system format, multiplying degrees by 4 converts them into the number of minutes they represent. In this way Stonehenge is the calendar, the calculator and of course the clock.


SH clock and calendar sundial and pillar trimming


The Stonehenge earth clock has been described in depth already on this blog in the post ‘Stonehenge: a proto-sundial with bias toward summer’. A sundial face is configured into the north half of the circle and the hour positions are struck by a strip of light and shadow from trilithons 4+1 respectively. The calendar and time system is unified, there are 30hrs a day and 30 days a month, there are 12 months a year and 12˚ movement of the mean sun per hour, there are 48 weeks a year and 48 minutes per hour. In this system the number of days in a week, 7.5, doesn’t have a match. It is likely the same process was used, the .5 of the day was observed on 1 day giving an overall set of 15days, which is equivalent to half the hours in the 30hr day. A marker could have been moved across the pillars and lintels that make up the Great Horseshoe to track this as there are 15 total stones, 24 of these would give 360days. Which brings us to the next point, the number of weeks in the year would also be uneven in this system as it would require the 5 intercalary days, or to say that 48.7 weeks results in an uneven amount in any case.


SH clock and calendar1


The phase 3a bluestone arrangement also highlights how the ‘summer solstice’ axis is a fundamental part of the sundial. This is the position that the T1shadow strikes at solar noon. We can see here that T1 runs parallel to the stones making the channel in the bluestone horseshoe. This has the effect of causing the T1 lintel to run parallel to that axis and align to the position marking 15SP even where the shadow length varies in summer and winter. The true purpose of the summer axis alignment is glimpsed here, consider that the latitude of Stonehenge is 51˚N and the solstice axis is 48-49˚. Now consider that the gnomon on a horizontal sundial is angled at the latitude of its location. The Great Horseshoe position on the summer solstice axis is an approximation of this technique on a 2D plain. However, it doesn’t achieve the same effect as a horizontal sundial with angled gnomon.


SH clock and calendar east bluestones sun angle

The design of the phase 3a bluestone horseshoe confirms aspects of earth clock theory. The pillars run parallel to the direction of sunlight when the sun is at their position. As the above diagram shows, when the sun is at 90˚ due east the light travels straight across the land, and will be running perpendicular to the face of pillar 4 on the east, this is precisely what the stones in the bluestone horseshoe are doing. The position of Trilithon 4 blocks the light from hitting the circle on the other side which would mark 7.5SP.


SH clock and calendar 80az strike


The bluestones that are in the region of 80˚az, marked by the yellow line in the diagram above, show the angle of sunlight for this position and it can clearly be seen that light hitting the circle at that angle will result in a hit for position 7.5SP, the centre of pillar 19. As the sun is at 80˚az at 6am on May 5th, and 7.5SP converts as 6am 24hr time, this demonstrates that the monument is calibrated to May 5th, the date half-way between spring equinox and summer solstice. This gives the monument a bias toward summer, where it reads late but is more accurate, in winter it reads early but is more inaccurate. Although this sounds strange at first, in actuality it is rather similar to the modern practice of switching to daylight savings time. We obscure mean time to suit our societal needs, we throw the clocks forward for summer and then back for winter. Around late spring and early autumn Stonehenge time starts to read very close to daylight savings time.


SH clock and calendar dimensions

Stonehenge encodes myriad information within its structure. Take the average pillar and gap width, convert them into degrees, put them together and multiply by 30 and you get 1461.6, obviously encoding the number of days in the true 4yr cycle. Use 1.2 to convert between degrees and feet, but divide 1ft by 1.2 and you get 0.8333333ft. A third of the earth is 8333.3333miles. If we considered each section as 8.33333 long feet, then there would be 14.4inches in each long foot and 250 total long feet in the circle. 14.4 is an echo of 1440 minutes per day and 250 is a hundredth of the nearest whole measurement for the circumference of the earth, 25,000miles. We might even consider that the mile was picked specifically as a 25,000th of the earth circumference, putting it on the quarter sequence with 0.25 degrees per minute.

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The Knowth Sundial Decoded

Knowth sundial1


The Knowth Complex in County Meath, Ireland, consists of a series of passage tombs set in large tumuli or mounds, dating from 3, 200bc. Found at this site among many others is kerbstone 15, otherwise known as the Knowth Sundial Stone.  The imagery on the stone has already been linked to seasonal and cyclic observations and has been theorised as an early example of a sundial. The icons that form the sundial feature will be the main focus of this paper with the aim of decoding the numeric values. Conceptual links can be made which demonstrate that shared cultural practises and technologies existed between the ancient people of Ireland who built the County Meath megaliths and of Southwest England who built the ceremonial landscape of Wiltshire, part of which is Stonehenge.  knowth sundial rays count

The sundial feature consists of  a series of rays radiating from a central point to form a semi-circle, with rows of lines and blocks on the outer edge. The various icons form sequences that amount to numeric values. Firstly there are 18 complete rays with a further 2 broken or incomplete rays. The 18 here is indicating 180˚ which is of course half of the 360˚ circle, and represents half a full-day. The further 2 rays give a total of 20 rooting the numeric system in base-10. 20 digits over 2 hands and 2 feet, outlines an ancient system of measurement based on hand and foot denominations.

knowth sundial blocks count

On the outer edge are rows of lines and blocks, of which, the blocks look reminiscent of a row of pillars in a stone circle. The blocks indicate hour positions, and there are a total 16 blocks. Sundials of the 24hr variety usually have 13 hour positions, because there are an equal number of hours for the am and pm periods and the hour for midday. The inherent design of a sundial means that you will generally have one more hour position present than there are half the hours in the day i.e. 24hr day, 12hrs half day, 13 hour lines on sundial face. Therefore using the common scheme 16 hour positions will be indicating a half-day period of 15 hours and full-day period of 30hrs. A 30hr time-system can therefore be shown to have existed in ancient Ireland circa 3,200bc and Southwest England at least 2, 500bc.

knowth sundial lines count

There are a total of 30 lines over the two rows on either side of the sundial, directly indicating the 30hrs of the day. 9 also references the 90˚ right-angle which is instrumental in sacred geometry, and 21 indicates the difference between the great sidereal and tropical cycles and the ideology of mean time systems. It would be easy if there were 360 days in a year, but there are not, and in actual fact a year is only a quarter of the true cycle we follow. Every fourth year we include a leap year which completes the true cycle, if we consider that 4*5.25= 21, and that this total cycle amounts 1461 days. 1440 is the total number of minutes in the day, it is a curious fact that you could follow a cycle of 1461mins per day, wouldn’t need to have leap years and would only have 1440 days in the great cycle, of course you’d have uneven days. The cycle has to be split at a decimal position either in the micro or macro, and the macro is the easier to work with.

knowth sundial 48

To the left of the sundial is a mixed group of lines and rays that indicate the number 48. There are 48mins per hour in the 30hr time-system. Already in these first few sequences we have figures that link kerbstone 15 to the functional design of Stonehenge.

We will now be reading the rest of the sequences of rays, lines and blocks but first it is important to understand how the number sequences are typically separated.

knowth sundial separators

There are 3 main points in which icons seem to obstruct or sit-between the sequences, in most cases highlighting their groupings. There are also more instances where these icons and one other in one other instance, are used like decimal positions, and this depending on the sequence.

knowth sundial2112

Starting from the right of the sundial, and counting from the outer icons moving inward, this first sequence encodes 2112. perhaps not instantly recognisable as a sacred figure, but 2112 is a third of 6336. Those that know their sacred dimensions will know that there are 63,360 inches in a mile. The inch is one of the oldest known units of measurement, is based on the width of an adult males thumb and is believed to pre-date written language. Also encoded here we have again 21, a sacred sidereel number and 12, not only of the 12 lunar phases in a year, the 12 zodiac signs but also the 12˚ movement of the mean sun per hour in the 30hr time-system, of which we find encoded at Stonehenge. The 2112 as a third of 6336 might not be so compelling if it were not for the next sequence.


knowth sundial 3333

3.3r is a third, or to say 1^3= 0.3r, this sequence precisely next to 2112 indicates a mile in  inches and demonstrating the ancient megalith builders were aware of earth measurement techniques. The use of the third will be called on again for our next sequence

knowth sundial 5648To the left is the sequence 5648, again at first not an obvious figure. 5648*3= 16,944, which again might not be obvious to everyone. However, this is more sacred knowledge concerning earth measurements. If we take the approximate number in miles of the circumference of the earth at the equator, 25,000, and divide it by the 360˚ circle we get 69.444. And so 1˚ arc of the earth surface is equivalent to 69.444 miles, the figure 16,944 is encoding this where the 1 represents 1˚ of earth surface and 69.44 represents the amount of miles it is equivalent to. Of course if that doesn’t seem persuasive enough, we can take the exact equatorial circumference of the earth, 24,901miles and divide it by 360 we get 69.169444, giving a match that is more exact to the sequence represented on the stone which is precisely a third of 16,944. Not only did the ancients know the approximate circumference of the earth, they knew it exactly.

knowth stone 528

We have another sequence running from right to left which gives 528, another earth measurement. There are 5280ft in a mile, with 12inches per foot (based on Stonehenge measurements where there are 12inches per foot and which is the same as modern measurements) gives 63,360inches. 528 is also a moon number, the moon orbits the earth once every 27.27days. 360^27.27= 13.2, and 13.2*4= 52.8. Just as the earth spins a full 360˚ in one day, the moon moves 13.2˚, the total degrees movement in a day (the moon also rotates on its own axis once every 27.27days). Just as we multiply the total number of degrees by 4 to arrive at the total solar minutes in a day 360*4=1440, we can also do the same to establish lunar time or moon minutes, there are 52.8 moon minutes per day, meaning 1 moon minute is equivalent to 27.27 solar minutes as 1440^52.8= 27.27.

knowth sundial 56

Returning to the sequence on the left, we get the standalone number 56. A shape known to sacred geometry as the 56-gon is notorious as it cannot be achieved using a compass-and-straightedge technique alone. Despite this a near perfect 56-gon existed at Stonehenge prior to the arrangement we see today, it of course consisted of 56 posts. 5 and 6 are also effectively 10 and 12, where at Stonehenge 1 section totals 10ft and 12˚. 5/6 as a fraction highlights another sacred number, also encoded at Stonehenge, as 5^6= 0.83r and of course 10^12= 0.83r. Take the circumference of the earth 25,000miles and divide it by 3 and you get 8,333.33miles equalling a third of the earth. The light of the sun takes 8.3r minutes to travel from the sun to earth. In the 30hr time-system we would regard the earth as spinning at 833.333mph because 25,000^30= 833.333, of course the earth would be spinning at the same rate, there are simply less minutes in the hour, the hour is shorter and so the earth covers less distance compared to the 24hr hour, as 25,000^24= 1041.6r.

knowth sundial 48.7

As already stated, within this grouping we get the standalone figure of 48, but we also get, with a block as a decimal position, 48.7.

knowth sundial 7.5

With the 7 overlapping across both sequences, on the right-side, we get 7.5.


knowth sundial 365.25

48.7*7.5= 365.25, we get as our final sequence in the centre of the sundial. Look closely at the row of lines on the inside of this grouping, and you will see that one of them sits in-between the column of rays, blocks and lines, but doesn’t extend upward as the other separators do. This is indicating a decimal place for this sequence, giving 3 lines, 6 blocks, 5 lines pre-decimal and then post decimal 2 lines and 5 rays, 365.25, the precise daily denomination of the year. We find these near identical measurements encoded at Stonehenge, where there are 7.5 sections per quarter, 48mins per hour and 7(.2) degrees per pillar.

Of course there are still many more concepts encoded on the kerbstone like the four zig-zag lines to the very right of the stone which indicate the 4 years of the true cycle. The large and small sun which indicate the two prevailing solar seasons of summer and winter. The 3 rolling arches that indicate the 3 aqua seasons of water emptying, water filling, water sitting. And the orbs which likely indicate the lunar standstill points for summer and winter. Perhaps more astounding than anything, is the clear proof that ancient people not only had mathematical and numeric measuring systems, they used them to map out the earth and establish the fundamentals still existent within the modern measuring systems used to map dimensions and durations. To the work of our ancestors, we owe the concepts of time and space.


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The Integrity Of Stonehenge





The integrity of Stonehenge has been a topic of open debate in recent years. The idea that the monument is some kind of 18th century folly has somehow taken root in the peoples collective psyche. Mostly due to a series of photographs showing restoration to the monument in 1901 using cranes. Really the point of real consternation is in the fact that most people think the archeologists may have picked the stones up and placed them back haphazardly, re-positioning rather than merely re-setting them. This is perhaps naivety on behalf of those individuals that fail to realise the level of importance the monument has, and therefore the overall standard of archeology that is required to work the site. The above photo shows a view looking north-east from south-west. We can see that trilithon 4 in the Great Horseshoe, pillar 22 and lintel 122, in the west section are fallen here in the photo, today if you go to the site you will see they are reset. Pillar 19 is lying where it always has, the gap where pillar 20 (a missing pillar) is absent, is still absent. The pillar in which trilithon 4 sprawls on the ground reaching toward, is pillar 21, the 11th hour in the Stonehenge time-system, standing as it has for millenia. So too does pillar 23, and pillars 27-7 in the east section. Pillar 11 the half-width half height pillar is still sitting in the south leaving its overly sized gap ahead of itself. The idea that these pillars have been genuinely ‘moved’ is not evident here. What is obviously evident, is the resetting of pillars, re-erecting fallen pillars, straightening crooked pillars, but suggest this archeological work resulted in a re-interpretation of the monument probably means you don’t really understand the monument, as you will see later.

Screen Shot 2019-09-10 at 17.48.02

The above is a John Constable painting, this is often cited as an example of how drastically the monument has changed. This is a view looking north north-east. to the immediate right we have pillar 11 leaning as it does still today. We can see pillar 56 of the large trilithon leaning in the middle, to the immediate left we can see pillar 16 just behind it we can see pillar 21. The large standing trilithon in the centre on the right is trilithon 2, behind it is trilithon 1. Around to the right in the outer-circle we have the run of standing pillars in the east section and to the left, we again have trilithon 4 fallen and jutting out to the west side of the outer-circle. In this depiction pillar 22 and lintel 122 are still standing next to pillar 23, this is the main difference. Beyond that is pillar 60 still with its tilt at this stage. Hardly proof of radical re-positioning evidenced here, this is just dusk and visibilty is getting low.


The above painting by William Fowler gives a clearer, all the more ‘daytime’ view of the monument. Again this is a view looking north-east. Pillar 56 leaning, the men stood next to pillar 16, pillar 11 and 10 to the right. We can see a man sat on pillar 19 almost in the forefront view, pillar 21 to the left, with again pillar 22 standing and pillar 23 standing as ever it has. Apart from the resetting of pillars, there is nothing here to indicate that what we see now is a re-interpretation of what was there before, both of these paintings are from pre-1881, when the first restorations took place.



Really this is all we need to look at to know that the integrity of the monument, its original positioning is not compromised. In this picture we can see lighter patches of grass around the monument, this picture is showing parchmarks. We can see parchmarks that indicate where some of the missing pillars in the outer-circle would have stood. We can also see parchmarks lining the outside edge of the sarsen circle, a parchmark in fact several feet behind each pillar position, these are the z-holes. Upright poles once stood in these settings but they were removed from the site along time before any archeological analysis had ever taken place.

The z-holes sit IN LINE with the pillar positions of the outer-circle, and they can therefore be used to understand the overall design and layout of the monument, and to ensure that the positions we see today are true to the original plan of the monument.

We can be rest assured that due to ongoing record keeping the original positions are known and have been recorded multiple times. Continued maintenance of the site is necessary to ensure it remains safe to visit and free from any more ruin than is already evident. But we must consider that Stonehenge encodes 1.2degrees over 1ft, and so an error in resetting a pillar would have to be over 10inches to make a 1 degree noticeable difference. In terms of one of the worlds most important archeological sites, that’s a discrepancy those tasked with working it are not likely to make.

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These pictures can tell you the azimuth position of the sun, what time of year it is and the time of day!


Great Pyramid


The Great Pyramid of Giza

The monument has eight faces that divide the 360˚ circle into 8 sections with 45˚ separation. This results in a mean-hour in which the mean sun moves 45˚ over a course of 180mins. As 8 is a third of 24 (60mins a third of 180mins), multiplying any of the hours by 3 converts the 8hr system into the 24hr system, therefore the monument can be considered a variation of a 24hr clock/sundial. Another way to think of this is to perceive that each of the eight faces could be divided into a further 3 sections, giving 24 overall positions. However, for the sake of this article, we will calculate using the 8hr system.

In many ways the monument is easier to discuss if we talk in terms of the two concave faces of any section as one face and the point where the two concave faces meet as the centre. The photograph shows the pyramid in its correct orientation. The centre of the southern face is the 0/8th hour as the mean sun will be opposite this position at midnight. The south-west corner is the 1st hour, the centre of the western face is the 2nd hour, and so the north-west face is the 3rd hour. We can see this is roughly the region our reading line (apex of the shadow) is hitting, if the centre of the north face is our next hour, the 4th hour (which will be solar-noon) then the reading line is roughly at position 3.25 (180mins in the hour divide by 100 = 1.8*25= 45mins, giving 3:45am in the 8hr system).

3.25*45˚ (sun moves 45˚ per hour in the 8hr system) = 146.25˚az

The above gives us the azimuth position of the sun, and demonstrates how the monument can be used as a solar compass. Given the azimuth position, we might assume the sun is at an elevated altitude because the shadow is relatively short, this could be late spring or early summer.

Now we can convert our azimuth into 24hr time.

146.45^15 (sun moves 15˚ per hour in the 24hr system) = 9.75

0.60*75= 45mins

= 9:45am (24hr time)

The other way we could have done this was to convert the pyramid time into 24hr time at the start by timings the reading by 3.

3.25*3= 9.75

0.60*75= 45mins

= 9:45am

This time reading can be thought of as local apparent time, based on the apparent position of the true sun. In the northern hemisphere the true sun is behind the mean sun in the AM period during the summer-half of year and this increases the closer it is to mid-summer, but the effect also decreases the closer one gets to the equator geographically and the closer it is in the AM period to solar-noon. Highlighting perhaps the need in the ancient past for a social custom and technological system that aids observers in learning the seasonal cyclic pattern for their particular location on the earth surface.

None-the-less given that it is around late spring/early summer we can say the time at Giza in this photograph is somewhere between 10:15-10:35am EET.






 Trilithon 4 is the complete trilithon on the west side of the Great Horsehoe, the line of light shining through its central gap and hitting the Outer Circle is our reading line. A more detailed explanation of the layout can be found here but for now we can take it for granted that the T4Line is striking 12SP, meaning it is the 12th hour Stonehenge Time which equates to 9:36LMT. Through research I know that the sun strikes this position when it is at 128˚az.

The length of the T4 shadow tells me what time of year it is, it is either mid-spring or mid-autumn. If it were more toward the winter the shadow would be longer and outside the circle still, if it were more toward summer the shadow would be shorter and inside the circle. Mid-spring/mid-autumn is the point in the calendar that the monument is calibrated to, therefore, the monument is reading at its most accurate the year over at this time, we can trust it is somewhere around 9:36am GMT, giving 10:36am BST.


note: the author does not own the copyright for the photographs in this post

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Earth Clock Theory – Supporting Ideas

Intro: Earth clock theory suggests that Stonehenge functioned as a 30hr clock, the following is information and further ideas relating to the theory.

 Other Neolithic Sites and Horological Designs: Stanton Drew is a Neolithic complex that resides some 43miles to the North-West of Stonehenge. The site consists of three stone-circles with varying horological designs and the first of these is the Great Circle. The Great Circle is the second largest stone-circle in the British Isles after Avebury. Many of the uprights in the Great Circle are now fallen, however, it details positions for 30 uprights when complete. These pillars are spaced at approximately 38.5ft and are separated by 12˚ arc of sky along the azimuth totalling 360˚, the same design as found at Stonehenge, of course, the diameter and therefore overall circumference of the two circles differs hence the increased spacing of pillars. Also, the Great Circle at Stanton Drew does not have connecting lintels or a trilithon horseshoe at its centre (though it did have a series of timber posts set out in concentric rings throughout its inner area). The complex has another circle to the South-West that consists of 12 uprights arranged in a circle, the uprights are spaced at approximately 25ft with 30˚ separation. The South-West Circle echoes the Callanish stone-circle in the Outer Hebrides which consists also of 12 main upright positions separated by 30˚ making it read-time in the 12hr/24hr format, as is the case with the South-West Circle at Stanton Drew.


The final stone-circle at Stanton Drew is the North-East Circle. The North-East Circle is just over 95ft in diameter equalling approximately 300ft in circumference, making it the same dimensions as Stonehenge. Therefore, the North-East Circle at Stanton Drew is built with the same degrees-per-foot measurement as Stonehenge implying that the monuments are linked in some way. The North-East Circle is complete, however, the pillars in the east section are now mostly recumbent having fallen. The North-East Circle consists of only 8 pillars and so obviously has larger gaps than we find at Stonehenge, resulting in 37.5ft each section and 45˚ separation between pillars. 45˚ over 37.5ft gives 1.2˚ per foot Stonehenge is also 300ft in circumference with 12˚ separation per pillar and 10ft per section. 12˚ divide by 10ft also equals 1.2˚ per foot.


The southern pillar of the North-East Circle at Stanton Drew is shaped to a point and is leaning. At first it may be presumed that this pillar is leaning due to it having tilted at some point after it was erected, however, the pillar is pointing toward the north and also leans at an angle of 51˚ i.e. the latitude of its location. The lean is obviously intentional as these factors are a feature we find inherent in horizontal sundial design and evidencing that the stone-circle is the progenitor of the sundial and is the original time-keeping technology of the Neolithic era that went on to influence sundial design during the bronze age. The orientation of the southern pillar in the North-East Circle can be proven easily and any curious enquirers are invited to visit the stone-circle at night and observe the leaning southern pillar where it will be seen that the pillar points directly at the North Star Polaris.



Newgrange is a Neolithic site just outside of Dublin in Ireland, dating from 3200BC. It is another Neolithic structure that utilises the channelling of sunlight. Related to this site is the Knowth complex and the Knowth Sundial, a decorated kerbstone. A section of the image on the kerbstone resembles a sundial, with lines radiating from its centre. At the end of these lines are 16 blocks, which we can assume represent the hour angles. Of course, sixteen hour angles on a sundial indicate a 30hr time-system. Sundials of the 24hr system generally have 13 hour-lines because 6am and 6pm are both represented across the E-W meridian. There are an equal number of hour-lines for the AM and PM periods, plus the hour for midday. 7.5hrs each period plus the hour for midday gives 16 hour-lines to a 30hr sundial.

Supporting Evidence: A series of chalk plaques uncovered through excavation at the Stonehenge site contain images that support earth clock theory. Of primary interest is a plaque containing an image that resembles two pillars and a lintel. This plaque is commonly regarded as a map of the Stonehenge landscape however this argument ignores the fact that the image is mirrored and occurs twice on the plaque, something we don’t see in the Stonehenge landscape. The pillar-and-lintel-like image on the top part of the plaque is larger and has 3D style rendering. The image is then mirrored on the bottom part of the plaque, slightly smaller and without the 3D rendering. The image is clearly depicting either a reflection or a shadow cast by the monument. Given that Stonehenge notably casts a specific shadow arrangement, we might suggest that the plaque is evidence of the intention of the SH engineers to utilise light and shadow play in the monument’s design.

A second plaque containing diamond shaped images is also of interest. The plaque details 8 larger diamonds made up of 4 smaller diamonds. It is suggested that these represent degrees and minutes, where the sun moves 0.25˚ per minute, totalling 4 minutes per degree. The larger diamonds represent degrees and the smaller diamonds represent minutes. The plaque is conveying the time duration of 32mins. In relation to the 60min hour this equates to an unequal division at 53.3r percent. When considered against the 48min hour 32 is precisely two-thirds of the hour. The plaque could be detailing a standard duration akin to the ‘twenty-to-the-hour’ tradition that is used still today.


Further indicative evidence: A 30hr time-system features in the Bhagavad Gita, first scribed circa 1500bc and believed to have existed as an oral tradition since circa 4000-3500bc. This system consists of 30 Muhurta that make up one complete day, each Muhurta composed of a duration equivalent to 48mins, with this broken down further into half periods called Danda equivalent to 24mins. We find this correlates precisely with the horological design evidenced in the Stonehenge monument. The existence of the Muhurta based time-system within the texts of the Bhagavad-Gita demonstrates that a 30hr time-system was used in the ancient past.


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Guide To Reading Time Using Stonehenge

May 5th Times 24hr system May 5th times 30hr system Sun at Position SP Count Number Pillar/Gap strike position
6:00am 7.24SHT 80 az 7.5 Pillar 19 centre, T4L rear of line
6:24am 8:00SHT 84 az 8 Gap 20 left-edge, T4L rear of line
7:12am 9:00SHT 94 az 9 Pillar 20 left-edge, T4L front of line
8:00am 10:00SHT 104 az 10 Gap 21 left-edge, T4L front of line
8:48am 11:00SHT 115 az 11 Pillar 21 left-edge, T4L front of line
9:36am 12:00SHT 128az 12 Gap 22 left-edge, T4L rear of line
10:24am 13:00SHT 143/144 az 13 Pillar 22 left-edge, T4L rear of line
10:48am 13:24SHT 152 az 13.5a Pillar 22 centre, T4L line closes
10:48am 13:24SHT 152az 13.5b Gap 25 centre (13NP), T5L rear of line
11:12am 14:00SHT 161 az 14a Gap 23 left-edge, T4L line closed
11:12am 14:00SHT 161 az 14b Pillar 25 centre, T5L rear of line
Solar noon (11:57) Solar noon (14.45SHT) 180 az 15(NP) Gap 27 centre, p60 shadow, front of shadow
Solar noon


Solar noon (14.45SHT) 180 az 15(SP) Gap 1 left-edge, rear of shadow
12:48pm 16:00SHT 200 az 16 Pillar 1 left-edge, T1S rear of shadow
13:36pm 17:00SHT 218 az 17 Gap 2 left-edge, T1S rear of shadow
14:24pm 18:00SHT 233 az 18 Gap 3 left-edge, T1S rear of shadow


19:00SHT 246 az 19 Pillar 3 left-edge, T1S rear of shadow


16:00pm 20:00SHT 257 az 20 Gap 4 left-edge, T1S rear of shadow
16:48pm 21:00SHT 267 az 21 Pillar 4 left-edge, T1S rear of shadow
17:36pm 22:00SHT 276 az 22 Pillar 4 centre, T1S rear of shadow
18:00 22:24SHT 281 22.5 Gap 5 left-edge, T1S central peak of shadow

24hr times are given as local mean time, when using the above table, it is important to remember that the time reading on your watch or clock will be GMT from the end of Oct-March or BST end of March-Oct. If your current time is in BST you will need to deduct 1hr and then proceed to convert GMT into local mean time. GMT can be converted into local mean time for the Stonehenge location by deducting 7mins30secs from GMT or vice versa, you can add 7mins30secs to the (local mean) times detailed in the above table to arrive at the correct GMT times for Stonehenge.

Note: Pillars are numbered using the traditional numbering system. “Left-edge” of a pillar or gap is given as if looking from the monument centre toward the inner-face of the outer-circle. On dates other than May 5th you will need to use an app such as StarChart, Sky Safari or the online service set to the location of Stonehenge. Using simply select the location as Salisbury, if using StarChart go to settings, location and enter DMS coordinates

51⁰ 10’44N latitude and 001⁰ 49’34W longitude. If using SkySafari enter GPS coordinates 51.1789N 1.8262W. Any of these apps will enable you to establish the azimuth position of the sun, when the sun is at the positions detailed in the column ‘sun at position’ it will be possible to verify the ‘pillar/gap strike position’. However many minutes that your reading is behind or ahead of the times indicated in the above table is the amount of time the monument is running early or late for that particular time of day and year.


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