Megalithic geometry: an overview
Many thanks to
Little Sawyer for posting me this article
geometry (also called 366-degree
geometry) is the name given to an
hypothetical geometry supposedly used and perhaps created by an
alleged Megalithic civilization of Britain and Britanny, France,
according to certain British authors Alan Butler
and Christopher Knight, and French author Sylvain Tristan.
This geometry, whose origin is
claimed to go back to c.3000 BC, would have used a 366-degree circle
rather than a 360-degree circle as we do today.
Megalithic geometry according
to Alexander Thom
A stone ring
of the first persons to associate Megalith builders with geometry was
Scottish Professor Alexander Thom (1894–1985). Although he
never hypothesised any 366-degree geometry himself, he strongly
suspected the Megalith builders had great astronomical and
geometrical knowledge that they used when building the stone rings of
Britain: “geometrical shapes [were] used for the rings, i.e.
circles, flattened circles, egg shapes, ellipses, and other more
to him, these stone arrangements had astronomical alignments, and
they used Pythagorean triangles and “geometrical figures which
had as many dimensions as possible arranged to be integral multiples
of their unit of length.”
several decades of research Thom arrived at the conclusion that the
Megalithic builders used a standard unit of measurement which he
dubbed the Megalithic Yard. According to him, the length of this unit
was 2.72 Imperial feet or 82.96 cm.
A geometry linked to the
According to Alan Butler this
geometry was based on the Earth's polar circumference. The Megalithic
degree is the 366th part of it, i.e. 40,008 / 366 = 109.31 km; the
Megalithic arcminute is the 60th part of the Megalithic degree, i. e.
109.31 / 60 = 1.82 km; the Megalithic arcsecond is the 6th part of
the Megalithic minute, i.e. 1.82 / 6 = 0.3036 km; if this Megalithic
arcsecond is in turn divided into 366 equal segments, the length
arrived at is 0.8296 m, which is the presumed length of the
Megalithic Yard, the supposedly ancient unit of measurement
independently discovered by professor Alexander Thom in the 1950’s.
This is precisely this apparent
coincidence that prompted Butler to think that the Megalith builders
could have been cognizant with an Earth-based 366-degree geometry.
A 366-day calendar?
from the Phaistos Disc
According to Butler, 366-degree
geometry is linked to the Phaistos Disc, an earthen artifact
discovered in Crete in 1908, which could have been a Minoan calendar
based on a 366-day year, the Phaistos Disc having 30 divisions on one
side and 31 on the other: indeed, a calendar alternating 30-day
months and 31-day months would result in a 366-day year.
This calendar would have been
working on 40-year cycles, because a 366-day calendar gets exactly
one month late in 40 years.
had also hypothesized that the Megalithic Yard was divided into 40
a number that indirectly echoes the 40-year cycles of the presumed
Minoan calendar in ancient Crete.
Butler also noticed that the
division of the same Megalithic arcsecond into 1000 equal parts
yielded a length of 30.36 cm, which is curiously that of the Minoan
foot, a unit of length used in the Cretan palaces built roughly at
the same time as the Phaistos Disc was made, and independently
discovered by Canadian archaeologist J. Walter Graham.
A Megalithic pendulum?
another book coauthored with English writer Christopher Knight
Butler wrote that the length of a pendulum giving 366 beats (or 183
periods) during one 366th of a day (which is approximately the time
it takes to the Earth to spin one Megalithic degree) is one
half-Megalithic Yard long. From that the authors suggested that such
a pendulum could well have been used by these ancestral people to
accurately reproduce the length of their yard.
a pendulum has never been discovered to this day. It should be noted,
however, that in a book coauthored with Robert Lomas in 2001
in which the question of the Megalithic pendulum is discussed,
Christopher Knight mentions the existence of what he calls ‘stone
things’ (these are normally referred to as ‘carved stone
balls’) from the Neolithic that have been found in numerous
places of Scotland (more particularly in Skara Brae, cited by French
author Sylvain Tristan as being located along the 60th Megalithic
parallel -- see the section ‘Salt Lines’ below) and whose
meaning is unclear, but that could have been pendulum weights.
Volumes and masses
A barley field
the book Civilization One,
Butler and Knight contend that the basic units of volume and mass of
the imperial system, the imperial pint and the avoirdupois pound, are
also derived from the Megalithic Yard. Just like the litre is the
tenth part of the metre to the cubic power, the tenth part of the
Megalithic Yard to the cubic power produces a volume of ( 82.96 cm /
10 ) third power = 570.96 mL, a very close approximation of the
modern pint of 568.26 mL.
Similarly, this theoretical
Megalithic pint, if filled with barley dry seeds, weighs on average a
number close to 453.59 grams, which is the exact value of the
Stranger still, the division of
the Earth mass into 366 equal parts, then again into 60 equal parts,
and then again into 6 equal parts, yields a result that is almost
exactly 10 to the 20th avoirdupois pounds : 5.9736 X ( 10 to the 24th
) kg / ( 366 X 60 X 6 ) = 4.5337 X ( 10 to the 19th ) kg = 9.995 X
(10 to the 20th) avoirdupois pounds.
Said differently, a
one-Megalithic-arcsecond-thick ‘slice’ of Earth (at the
equator) weighs almost exactly 10 to the 20th pounds, as though,
according to the authors, the exact value of the pound had been
adjusted so as to be a round subdivision of a one-arcsecond-thick
slice of Earth in the Megalithic geometry.
Are 366, 40 and 10 fundamental
Still in the same book, Butler
and Knight claim that the Megalithic Yard is a fundamental number for
the Sun, the Moon and the Earth. The Megalithic arc second as
measured on the Earth equator is very close to 366 Megalithic Yards,
while the lunar Megalithic arc second as measured on the Moon equator
is very close to 100 Megalithic Yards, and the solar Megalithic arc
second as measured on the Sun equator is very close to 40,000
a book published in France and Canada in 2007
French author Sylvain Tristan suggests that the numbers 366, 40 and
10 are not only fundamental to the Earth, the Moon and the Sun, but
also to the human body and to water. In the water-based Celsius
temperature measurement system, which is directly linked to base-10
numeration, the average human body temperature is 36.6 degrees
(according to Russian medicine),
whereas the optimal temperature of water (its maximal density) is 4.0
Alan Butler also asserts that
366-degree geometry has been materialised on the Earth by what he
terms Salt Lines – 366 meridians and 183 parallels
crisscrossing the globe at regular intervals (the equivalents of
modern-day 360 meridians and 180 parallels).
term Salt Line was created by Xavier Guichard,
who was the first person to posit the existence of such lines in the
1920’s and 1930’s. After having looked at a map of
France, Guichard had noticed a recurrent name which he linked to
Alesia, the place where Julius Caesar defeated Gaulish leader
Vercingetorix in 52 BC. At the time, Guichard thought the Bronze Age
people had invented the 360-degree circle. But because the intervals
between the lines were seemingly too small, nobody took him seriously
at the time. It was only in the late 1990’s that someone
(namely Alan Butler) had a second look on Guichard’s tentative
The Ring of Brodgar (60th Megalithic
(20th Megalithic parallel)
Jordan: a natural north-south line regarded by Tristan as the
Megalithic prime meridian
Butler explains the smaller
intervals between the lines by the fact that in a 366-degree circle,
you get a few more lines than in a 360-degree circle, which of course
entails a slight decrease of the interval between two lines.
to Sylvain Tristan,
most of the world’s capital cities or sanctuaries of late
prehistory and antiquity are located on the course of Salt Lines: it
includes Stonehenge, Avebury, the Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae
(both of which are located on the 60th Megalithic parallel), Babylon,
Assur, Niniveh, Thebes, Abu Simbel, Harappa, Mycenae, Athenes,
Hattusa, Alesia, Teotihuacan (20th Megalithic parallel), Chichén
Itzá, Tiwanaku and Caral. According to the author, such a
situation challenges probability laws and can hardly been explained
away by chance only, and thus is the result of some common knowledge
held by the Megalithic civilisation that might have spread to
different parts of the globe.
also thinks that the Salt Lines Prime Meridian could have been the
Jordan River, a river that approximately flows in a north-south
direction and along which numerous Megalithic sites from the 4th
millennium BC are to be found. Although no solid link has ever been
established between Megalithic sites of the Middle East and those of
Europe, the Megalithic people are known to have been sailors.
It is also known that the first phase of Stonehenge dates from c.3100
BC. Tristan claims that Stonehenge was positioned so as the number of
degrees between the monument and the prime meridian be an integer.
also claims that the lost city of Alesia is not located in the
village of Alise-Sainte-Reine as mainstream scholars contend, but on
the double hill of the Montfault and the Glass Mountain near the
village of Guillon in Burgundy. This location was first suggested by
Bernard Fèvre in 1982.
The hills are located on the course of a Salt Line and stand halfway
between the cities of Aalst, Belgium and Alès, southern
France, two cities whose name sound like Alesia and which are located
along the same meridian.
* http://www.civilizationone.com/reviews.html (includes a review of
from the British Association of Teachers of Mathematics)
* http://www.world-mysteries.com/gw_cknight.htm (extracts from a review
of Civilization One
by Colin Wilson in the London Daily