Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Astroarchaeology Dating of Stonehenge

By Robert John Langdon

As we approach the Midwinter Solstice, we are reminded that Stonehenge was built in the Mesolithic period as a place of healing and of the excarnation of the dead.  In Neolithic period it was further adapted to incorporate a Sarsen stone monument, for the same purposes.  Now if the Sun, Moon and planets rise and set in the exact same place year after year, then astroarchaeology would only be good for connecting these monuments to certain rituals (such as the midsummer solstice celebrations) and little else.  But fortunately, because of anomaly in the earth’s rotation called ‘precession’ we can use astronomy to also calculate dates of construction.
Midwinter Solstice seen from the Altar Stone
Midwinter Solstice seen from the Altar Stone

Axial Procession (Wiki)
In astronomy, axial precession is a gravity-induced, slow and continuous change in the orientation of an astronomical body's rotational axis. In particular, it refers to the gradual shift in the orientation of Earth's axis of rotation, which, like a wobbling top, traces out a pair of cones joined at their apices in a cycle of approximately 26,000 years.

The earth wobbles on its axis like a toy gyroscope when it’s slowing down.  This alters the view of space from earth as the stars revolve around the polar star and this polar star position will gradually change over this 26,000 period, eventually going back to the original position.

Ecliptic Plane (Wiki)
The ecliptic is the apparent path of the Sun on the celestial sphere as seen from the Earth's center, and also the plane of this path, which is essentially coplanar with the orbit of the Earth around the Sun.  The path of the Sun is not normally noticeable from the Earth's surface because the Earth rotates, carrying the observer through the cycle of sunrise and sunset, obscuring the apparent position of the Sun against the background stars. Put simply, the ecliptic is the plane of Earth's orbit around the Sun.

This plane goes through the 12 zodiac constellations - hence there importance to astronomy and astrology for so do the sun, planets and the moon.

Precession


Most of the bodies of the Solar System orbit the Sun in nearly the same plane. This is likely due to the way in which the Solar System formed from a proto-planetary disk. Probably the closest current representation of the disk is known as the invariable plane of the Solar System. The Earth's orbit, and hence, the ecliptic, is inclined a little more than 1° to the invariable plane, and the other major planets are also within about 6° of it. Because of this, most Solar System bodies appear very close to the ecliptic in the sky. The ecliptic is well defined by the motion of the Sun.

So the sun, moon and planets go around this imaginary line in the sky, known as the Ecliptic and where this line crosses the horizon dictates where the heavenly bodies rises and sets.  As I stated before if the earth did not wobble this line of the ecliptic would never move and the chances of predicting construction dates would be pointless, but that wobbles moves the ecliptic  (about 0°.0002) per year, which is very little if you understand that the diameter of the Sun or Moon is about 0.53o - so we are looking at the width of the moon/sun every 2500 years, but as we are looking at monuments at least 5,000 years old if not 10,000 we are talking 2-4 sun/moon widths, which is the width of a fat thumb at arm’s length, against the horizon.

I’m not going to go into the mathematics of these calculations in great depth, but for those who have nothing to do over the Christmas period I recommend you read: Observational archaeology at Stonehenge: by Gordon & Phyllis Freeman.


Freeman observed that Stonehenge was orientated towards the Winter Solstice via The HEEL STONE to the NE through the existing Sarsen Standing stones 30 & 1 - through the Altar stone the broken trilithon stone 55b and standing still 56 and finally past stone 16 and missing 15 to Bell-Barrow Amesbury 15. 

Freeman's alignment
Freeman's alignment


This alignment gave them a date of 2000BC - which is clearly wrong!!

So where did they go wrong?  Well although this alignment is ‘lovely’ would you commit a complete monument to something ‘outside the circle?  Surely if you build a circle with a centre altar stone - that’s the place you view these events?

So if we repeat this experiment with an observation from either the centre of the altar stone how will that change things?

Well the angle from the Altar stone to the bell-barrow is 232.6o - using the same formula in the paper this is altered by the refractive correction and the height of the object against the background to become 232.8.  Using the cybersky 5 software package - this gives us a date of 2889 AD!!  So unless the three post holes found in the excavation of Amesbury 15 are poles for a raised platform or high fence - this barrow is not the alignment to the winter solstice.
Amesbury 15 - somewhat smaller than the past
Amesbury 15 - somewhat smaller than the past


But there is lost barrow (Amesbury 10) that does fit the bill.  The interesting aspect about this barrow is the shape and structure.  Recent geological surveys have suggested that there are stones under the ground that may have surround the barrow.  I would suggest that as this barrow had a massive ditch plus a platform to the NE of the oval shape (as seen in the enhanced photo’s) that clearly this is not a ‘normal’ marker barrow but a sightline and the stones may be standing stones for the platform.

Amesbury 10 - it had a 45m moat and raised platform towards the front
Amesbury 10 - it had a 45m moat and raised platform towards the front

This barrow is 228.56 and we assume that the height of this barrow relative to the horizon is the same - then taking all variable into account we are looking for a midwinter solstice sunset at 228. 77o for this date Cybersky 5 gives us a date of 20/01/4200 BCE

So can we confirm this date?

Strangely, yes we can!!  For when the makers of Stonehenge placed the Sarsen blocks that become the temple, they also created THE AVENUE.  Now my book (The Stonehenge Enigma) proves the Avenue was a processional walkway down to the lower Neolithic river water levels ending at the current ‘elbow’.  This ‘road’ was built in direct alignment with the summer solstice sunrise, for obvious reasons - so if the CENTRE (not the Heel stone alignment) of the Avenue can be match to the summer solstice sunrise, we will have a second and verified proof of construction date.

The Avenue with The Sun Rising over the centre in 4210 BCE
The Avenue with The Sun Rising over the centre in 4210 BCE


Currently, the sun rises just above the Heel stone on the Summer solstice 50.75o - we no longer need to adjust for the refractive correction as we have empirical observation showing that if we find the exact azimuth reading for the sunrise for the year 2000AD and we can calculate the adjustment needed to move the sunrise to the centre of the Avenue.

Cybersky 5 calculates that the sunrise on the summer solstice 2000 was 49.27o this gives us an adjustment of 1.48o from the visual centre to the rising azimuth position of the sun.  The centre of the Avenue is 49.42 - therefore the azimuth sunrise we are looking for is 47.54o.  Cybersky 5 gives us a date of 27/07/4210 BCE.

Sadly not the exact same date but within 10 years, which may reflect the construction time between phases - although more accurate than anyone to date has obtained.

How the Solstice could have looked through the Stones
How the Solstice could have looked through the Stones


Lastly, is there any Carbon Dating at Stonehenge that meets this astroarchaeology date - and believe it or not there is - a piece of antler pick ‘packing’ was found for Sarsen stone 27, this gave a carbon dating date of 4175 +/- 185 BCE.

Seasons Greetings!!

RJL

Additional Information

To stop an impossible debate on statistics (remember lies, damned lies and statistics!!) I thought I show some empirical evidence anyone can play at home via Google earth - the contributors agree that the sun sets by .0002 degrees per year eastward every year in the last 10,000 years - this is a combined change of 0.002 x 6000 years (until 4012 BCE - if I am correct) total 1.2 degrees.

If we are happy that the sun rises over the heel stone today, then 6000 years ago it should have risen over the centre of The Avenue - so lets do the exercise!!


Line down the centre of The Avenue showing 49.57 degrees
Line down the centre of The Avenue showing 49.57 degrees

Heel Stone Alignement showing 50.81 degrees
Heel Stone Alignement showing 50.81 degrees


The difference is 1.24 degrees which is within acceptable limits - 1.24 variation would give a construction date of 4188 BCE - no even close to the current 2500BCE to 3000BCE.


RJL

(by Robert John Langdon)



53 comments:

  1. Robert

    How accurate is this software?

    Dr Stuart Love

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    1. Stuart

      I have no idea!!

      I'm sure (as it is the best seller) that it's 'quite' accurate, but just in case I did use a second package 'sky map pro 11' to check the figures and it was within 5 years of the Cypersky 5 software date.

      In reality, the best we are ever going to achieve is something within a couple of hundred years for a variable known as the 'reflective correction' changes due to temperature and I would guess upper atmosphere pollution and ice crystals - so is the RC the same today as 6,000 years ago, we will never know. The same way that the clear sky's our ancestors saw is nothing like the pollution filled sky's we know today... I wonder how many people in our country have ever seen the milky way in its full glory? Our ancestors saw it every clear night!

      RJL

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  2. As has been pointed out to you numerous times the effect of precession on solar and lunar azimuths and declinations is minimal and what matters is far more important in archaeoastronomy is obliquity of the ecliptic . Whilst you don’t actually name this important factor you do sneak in the math i.e. the 0.0002 degrees annually , and fail to mention that the rate of precession is 0.014 degrees . If you applied this rate , as you have suggested in the past ,then you would find the sun rising at a position 70 degrees different from that in 3000 BC . You’ll get their eventually .

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    1. Geo

      For the sake of my calculations I used cybersky 5 software and not my own calculations quite deliberately as people as yourself would shout 'cheat' - so my estimation of .0002 or your suggested rate of 0.014 is as most of your comments immaterial.

      If you believe the software to be incorrect in their calculations - you should contact the software house!

      Do let us know what they say?

      RJL

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    2. RJL ,Nobody says cheat ,we say you are wrong . You have not understood the post .I and others on this blog and elsewhere have told you that precession is not a factor in calculating declinations in archaeastronomy. What is a factor , and as you have been told often enough , is obliquity which is 0.0002 degrees . Precession is 0.014 .

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  3. Astroarchaeology can provide a date when a possible alignment will seen to be effective .The discipline does not , can not and never suggests it can provide the date of the setting of the various components of a possible alignment . This is obvious from two standpoints , firstly we can not be sure of the accuracy of the possible alignment ,secondly we can not be sure that the possible alignment was intended .
    The main Stonehenge alignment is usually considered to be taken from the centre of the monument and following the orientation of the Avenue .This has been calculated many times providing a date when it was most accurate , this date whilst of interest has no bearing on the construction date of either Stonehenge or the Avenue due to point 1) above .Point 2 is not considered necessary in this case as there is sufficient evidence of intentionality .

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    1. Anon/Geo?

      Disagree entirely!

      We see from other prehistoric structures all around the world that the alignment is very important - what you are suggesting is that they did not get it quite right, which showing the accuracy of the pyramids at Giza is a false assumption.

      RJL



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  4. RJL, you disagree entirely about quite a few points and only cite the accuracy of the Giza pyramids as support .Archeastronomy has not provided the date of build despite the sterling work of Kate Spence . It never does , read any book on the subject . Alignments putative or otherwise can be out ,it's quite simple we have no guarentee that the builders got it right , or even if there was an intentional alignment in the first place .

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    1. Geo

      Kate Spence... your'll like this!!

      "A brief evaluation of Kate Spence's article in NATURE
      Vol. 408, 16 November 2000, pp. 320-324

      Ancient Egyptian Chronology and the Astronomical Orientation of Pyramids.

      © Robert G. Bauval, 6 January 2001


      The findings in the above titled paper, which was supported in the same Nature issue by an article from Dr. Owen Gingerich, the veteran astronomer from Harvard [1], have been vented in the international press in at least 20 countries and in hundreds of dot.com news-lists as a major Egyptological event.

      In the paper the author, Dr. Kate Spence of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at the University of Cambridge, well-known to British viewers for her appearance on BBC Horizon 'Atlantis Reborn' and other ancient history programmes, makes the following claims:

      a. Dating the Giza Pyramids: That the Egyptian pyramids at Giza have never been accurately dated.

      b. Simultaneous Transit Method: That the method used by the ancient builders in their attempt to determine true north was by aligning a plumb-line to the 'invisible line' formed by the great circle passing through the star Kochab ( b Ursa Minor) and Mizar ( z Ursa Major) and to the north-south axis of the west or east side of each pyramid.

      c. Misalignments of Pyramids as a Function of Precession: That this method produced a misalignment 'error' of the west or east side of each pyramid which can be explained as a function of the precessional drift of the 'invisible line' away from the north celestial pole.

      d. Anchoring the Old Kingdom chronology: That the date for the start of construction of the Great Pyramid can be fixed by her dating method to 2478 BC +/-5 years and can serve as an anchor for the Old Kingdom chronology.

      One of the great appeals of Spence's thesis, especially concerning item (c) above, is that it offers a mathematical 'model' showing on X-Y graphs the relationship between precessional drift and the misalignment of the pyramids which can be evaluated per se. At first sight the two neatly parallel lines, which represent respectively the misalignments of the pyramids and the Precessional Drift plotted against time, appear to confirm her theory in a way that clinches the deal for the scientifically-minded. On closer examination, however, the paper reveals flaws and errors, inconsistencies and unjustified assumptions that undermine the originality and validity of the claims that Spence was allowed to make in Nature."


      First thing you should notice Geo is that she uses the word processional drift and not "obliquity of the ecliptic" for the misalignments in the pyramid.

      Secondly, she use's theses alignments to date the Pyramid at 2487 =/- 5 years as I have - so what's you problem??

      RJL

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  5. Misunderstanding of astronomical concepts is one thing but the figures are also wrong . I doubt that Cyber Sky and Sky Map Pro are at fault here but quite simply the sun did not rise on the horizon as seen from Stonehenge on the solstice dated 27/7/ 4210 BC at an azimuth of 47.54 . It was actually much closer to 49.58 . Possible reasons for your error are failing to take the horizon altitude into consideration and what looks like the use of a latitude co-ordinate better suited to Stoke than Stonehenge .

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    1. Geo

      You are a master of half sentences!!

      "Stonehenge on the solstice dated 27/7/ 4210 BC at an azimuth of 47.54 . It was actually much closer to 49.58"

      What is 49.58? Based on what - the software, an old book, your thumb in the air?? If it's the sunrise, are you talking first glimpse, half orb or full orb??

      RJL





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    2. RJL ,49.58 degrees of azimuth which was perfectly clear .You failed to note whether it was first glimpse too . It was calculated for first glimpse .If you care to compare figures I'll show where you got it wrong .As for half sentences ,what does “the centre of the Avenue is 49.42 degrees “ mean ? if you are suggesting that it is the orientation , then 49.9 would be closer .

      Delete
    3. Another misunderstanding is clear when the azimuth from the Altar stone to Bell Barrow is changed by including refraction . Refraction which should be included in the archaeoastronomical formula when calculating declinations but it doesn’t change the azimuth .The azimuth must stay the same , refraction impacts on the apparent altitude of the horizon .

      Delete
    4. Geo

      Sadly (yet again!!) you failed to answer the question!

      We shall never know where 49.58 comes from (I suspect its you with an old map with ruler and pencil - now exactly accurate) where I used google earth as it is satellite coordinated far more accurate than any map and compass!!

      Secondly you may read more books than I but you fail to retain information clearly as the blog clearly states that both the present solstice and the past was judged by Cybersky 5 (whatever format it programmed to accept) so its consistent and accurate, unlike you guesses and estimations.

      RJL

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    5. Finally, again the blog explained I accepted the report - hence I included the report as a link so people like you can check their calculations - IF YOU TRULY READ AND UNDERSTOOD IT for it shows they have have taken into consideration refraction correction and the height of the barrow, which I accepted as correct. Therefore, all I needed to do AS STATED IN THE BLOG is to find the new azimuth sunset point as the two azimuth points would have the same variables.

      Please do keep up as its like teaching five year old's basic arithmetic!

      The most interesting point about the report (and the only intelligent calculations i've seen to date) is that it was not done by an archaeologist but a science professor of Chemistry - what does that tell you about archaeologists!!

      RJL



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  6. RJL , I seem to remember the map and pencil was a technique I warned you against long ago . I also mentioned that you get yourself some astronomy software . It is quite easy to show where the 49.58 came from .I offered to compare notes to show where you had gone wrong ,if you had accepted the challenge you might have found out . FWIW the 49.58 was derived partly from Starry Night Pro but as mentioned with the correct latitude and horizon alt taken into consideration , GE whilst useful for archaeoastronomy will not provide an accurate date for the solstice at that date .If you believe that then it might also explain the error .Once again if you want o compare notes I'll show you where you went wrong .

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  7. Geo

    Fortunately have your software and did a check 3h 41m 38s on 27th Jul 4012 BC sunrise was at 47 59' 28" which is 47.99 NOT 49.58 you suggest!! The diff of .45 is probably due to Skymap pro using first glimpse and Cybersky full orb.

    Clearly you can't use the software old timer, stick to the map and ruler!!

    RJL

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  8. RJL, Now we are getting closer to your problem .If you now check the latitude and horizon alt you will find that they probably wrong . What are the details for your calculation of solstice sunrise 27/7/ 4210 BC at an azimuth of 47.54 . i.e. Latitude , Declination , and horizon altitude ?

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  9. Geo

    You right I've just checked my location and I'm on another planet to you...that's for sure!!

    No more of this nonsense you were given a good opportunity to ask questions on the findings - we will let Joe public decide who has the greater credibility.

    RJL

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  10. RJL , I wasn't asking questions I was pointing out mistakes . Now that have failed to provide detail it looks like you may have realised your mistake .Shall I give the correct detail re. latitude and horizon altitude .

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  11. Geo

    I did make one typo error on the blog the date was not the 27th but the 28th was the solstice day in 4010.

    I have found an error in the software comparing both on the same date - skymap pro under map status showed:

    Local time: 03:41:25 28-Jul-4209 (it should be 4210 - as the time function indicates)
    UTC: 03:41:25 28-Jul-4209 (wrong year again)
    TDT-UT: +138678.5 sec
    Julian Day: 183923.6538
    Sidereal Time: 21H 41M 39S

    Observer

    Lat 51 10' 44" N
    Long 1 49' 34" W

    Alt (not shown) 102m

    Sun Details

    Az 47 56' 28"
    Al -0.50' 6"

    Suggest skymap pro software not robust!

    RJL

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  12. RJL, Skymap is probably fine .The latitude is correct . There is not much difference but the solstice was on the 27th that year . The problem is Al -0.50' 6" . It should be +0.16 ,the apparent alt is + 0.61 but correcting for refraction provides +0.16 .

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  13. Cybersky can't possibly know the alt. of a particular local horizons ,they differ and are dependent on the site of the observer and the local horizon viewed on the chosen azimuth . As long as you are not pushing them too far e.g. lunar eclipses from 1500 BC and earlier there is little wrong with these progs ,the problem is the users .
    You have to input the alt which hopefully you can calculate ,neither the prog nor GE can do that for you . In this case the apparent alt from Stonehenge looking to the horizon on an azimuth of 49 degrees is 0.6 when corrected for refraction it is 0.16 .

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  14. I would refer you to the answer I gave Stuart at the start of the Blog.

    RJL

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  15. Stonehenge is a good example of why archaeoastronomical alignments are not acceptable or considered as dating evidence for a monument . There is no shortage material on dating the monument , the most recent appeared this month . What is notable by it’s absence is mention of archaeoastronomy . If you believe archaeoastronomy is used to date monuments then surely you will manage to find a reference somewhere in the non alternative literature that suggests so . Not simply when a date applies roughly to an alignment but the setting of the monument .
    You seemed to like the Freeman’s survey , maybe not enough to read the appendix but if you are still puzzling over why precession is not used or necessary to include in solar or lunar archaeoastro calc and obliquity is , p216 has a comment that might help “The directions of the Solstice Sun Rises and Sets are drifting slowly toward the Equalnight directions, due toa gradual decrease in the obliquity of the ecliptic “

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    1. Geo

      A balance approach to Archaeology would suggest you have a 'selection' of tools to judge the date of a site.

      Carbon dating is good but is not an absolute guarantee of accuracy as the carbon levels of the past is still 'speculation' and we have already seen in the last 50 years several 'corrections' which have placed objects older than originally believed.

      Astroacheaology is another science that can be used to date sites as alignments we all accept are important, were you are wrong is in your assumption that our ancestor 'were not accurate'

      Dendrochronology is another good science that could add to the debate but as substantial pieces of wood need to survive most prehistoric site would be impossible to estimate.

      My new science of landscape dating will probably be the most accurate once I have completed the algorithm of ground water reduction over the last 10,000 years, hopefully in the next few years.

      And anthropology has a role to play by tracing DNA lines, languages and concepts such as social design and tool making.

      Consequently, the most intelligent approach to dating will the combination of all these methods to create a 'conceptional date', which does not rely on any one science, so when we find flaw in these 'branches' we do not have to start again as in most archaeological dating methods.

      This is why my trilogy is unique as it places all these elements into dating the past, which has resulted in showing the existing dating system is quite frankly wrong! These lies are perpetuated by academics is because they're trying to protect their occupation as so called 'experts'.

      So back to your point - I'm happy with the estimations with the realisation that its not exact, but that does not matter as carbon dating evidence on the site and finally, the ground water level dates I have obtained show roughly the same date range.

      I'm not going over old ground again with your other comments (I have a busy life!!) all I will say is that you seem not to understand that the obliquity to the ecliptic is an imaginary line fixed in space (like the stars) and can not move - if the earth stopped still today, then the stars and ecliptic would be stationery for ever. They only move because the earth spins on it's axis and that fixed ecliptic moves relative to the stars because the earth's axis wobbles which we call 'procession', so yes the "gradual decrease in the obliquity of the elliptic' does happen, but that is due to the procession - school bell has just rung and I have nothing further to add on this matter!!

      Happy Solstice Day.

      RJL

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  16. Another obvious example showing that precession is not considered a factor in calculating solar declinations is to look at the change in azimuth of the rising sun at solstice since 4210 BC , which you now know , (but even the mistaken figure would do ) and compare it with the present day azimuth .You will find it is just over a degree whilst the rate of precession , (about 0°.014) per year would mean that the sun should rise at an azimuth 87 degrees different from that of 4210 BC . However if you take into account the much smaller but important rate of obliquity of the ecliptic i.e. 0.0002 degrees annually , you will notice it fits the bill perfectly .

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  17. RJL ,yes we have a variety of options for dating sites but astroarchaeology isn't particularly useful as can be seen by even the most accurate sites like Newgrange and Stonehenge where it is never cited as evidence for the chronology /sequence . We don't the level of accuracy of the builders unless we know their intentions , when we do we see that sometimes they relatively accurate but nothing like as accurate as suggesterd Thom merely accurate enough for the job . If a putative alignment is off by a week from a possible solstice alignment we might see it as a possible but if it is 2 weeks off we have to decide if tht was ever the intention .
    If you still don't understand that precession is not included in solar and lunar archaoastronomical calculations then there is little hope . The change of solstice position has changed by just over a degree in 6000 years , precession is changing at a rate 7O times faster than that . If you were aware of the basic archaeoastro formula for calculating declination then you might not have got into the pickle with adding refraction to azimuths and realised that alt was also important , but more importantly there is no place for precession . Look at the formula and point out where it is used, similarly look at the formula and notice how obliquity fits .

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    1. Geo

      1.2 degrees to be exact - I've added new shots of Google Earth to bring the debate to a conclusion.

      RJL

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  18. Does it really matter? Isn't this like counting angels on a pinhead? All driven by belief!

    Kostas

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  19. “Does it really matter? Isn't this like counting angels on a pinhead? All driven by belief! “
    And your ignorance based comment is not driven by belief .?
    If you know or understand or had read anything about the subject then you might manage to contribute and explain why something might be wrong , as it is that type of comment is no different and as helpful /informative as “you are wrong “ .

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    1. It was only a matter of time, Geo, before I heard from you! But why so belligerent? After all, aren't we all seeking to know the truth? The facts and not the fantasies?

      “why something might be wrong” you ask? Perhaps you can explain how dating a piece of antler stuck in a rock or buried in the ground says anything about Stonehenge. Without first believing the antler was a tool used to dig the ditch or etch the rocks. Or why the star alignments of these sites are important. Without first believing prehistoric people had the knowledge and ability to build accurately with megaliths.

      That would be a start …

      Kostas

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    2. Read the literature then ,if you see anything I have said on the subject that is demonstrably wrong , refute it. As for prehistoric people building monuments your evidence free beliefs and ignorance on the matter precludes any sensible discussion .

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    3. Geo,

      You don't get it. I am not disputing anything you are disputing with Robert. I just don't think any of this is very relevant when discussing Prehistory.

      I also don't read the Bible. Does that make me immoral?

      I sense your avoidance to engage! True of all 'true believers'.

      Kostas

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    4. No , I do get it .There is nothing to engage with , you don't know anything about the subject and hence can't actually contribute to the discussion . Read the literature then you might be capable of contributing something worthwhile .

      Delete
  20. RJl , yes , the change in obliquity , as I have been telling you for some time is just over a degree in six millennia , one of the reasons that any attempt at dating the alignment is fraught with problems .The solstice alignment at Stonehenge is usually considered to be taken from the centre of the monument , not the Altar stone , continuing down the centre of the avenue resulting , as any decent archaeoastronomy text will explain , in the Heel Stone not being actually being involved in the alignment . The sun has always set to the left of the heel Stone and will do for some time .The actual alignment of the Avenue is closer to 49.99 degrees but nobody dates the building of the monument or the Avenue from the alignment .

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  21. If you believed that the precession was involved in lunar and solar archaeoastronomy it is easier to understand why you might imagine that it would have a use in dating but when you realise how little the sun or moon change in relation to their extremes it is hardly surprising that dating is almost meaningless . You have seen how little the change is at solstice , as seen from Stonehenge , at little over a degree in 6 millenia , who is to say when the alignment was set with any accuracy ?
    Your favourite ,Wiki :” precession is also known as the precession of the equinoxes, lunisolar precession, or precession of the equator. Earth goes through one such complete precessional cycle in a period of approximately 26,000 years or 1° every 72 years, during which the positions of stars will slowly change in both equatorial coordinates and ecliptic longitude.” Note , it is the stars that change no mention of the sun or moon .

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  22. At the solstice 2500 BC the sun rise on the horizon as seen from the centre of Stonehenge at an Azimuth of 49.85 .
    At the solstice of 4188 BC the sun rises on the horizon as seen from the centre of Stonehenge at an Azimuth of 49.59 .
    At the solstice of 2012 AD the sun rises on the horizon as seen from the centre of Stonehenge at an Azimuth of 50.88.
    The differences are so small it’s not worth attempting to play date games with them and nobody does .

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  23. Geo

    Just a quick comment on your figures that may or may not be correct - I will check when I'm less busy - are from the centre of Stonehenge. I have measure them from the Altar Stone as I believe this was the 'observation point' had hence this unique stone was used as it is different in structure to the plain bog standard Sarsen stones.

    RJL

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    1. RJL ,have you "checked " the figures yet ?

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    2. What's your point Geo?


      You have stated that you did not believe the monument was aligned to the Summer solstice and therefore archaeologists couldn't calculate a date of construction for the Avenue.

      Have you change you mind yet again??

      RJL

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    3. RJL , as ususal , a distinct lack of actual quotes.Where did I say that I did not believe the monument was aligned to the summer solstice ? Give one example of where I have changed my mind .
      I said that dating Stonehenge using astronomy would never be considered an option by archaeaoastronomers , this was made clear by the efforts before RC dating e.g. Lockyer who came up with 1680 BC ,then Herbert Stone came up with 1840 BC .
      My point :Read the earlier post from Dec 21 11:39 which gave accurate details of solstice azimuths and dates showing that 1)your figures are wrong 2)"The differences are so small it’s not worth attempting to play date games with them and nobody does ". You replied to this that you would "check" the figures and have failed to do so .

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    4. Geo

      Can we then conclude from your reply, that you do feel that the Avenue was constructed in line with the Summer Solstice and by find that alignment you will agree that this is the probably date of construction??

      Moreover, if I can prove the information you have submitted is clearly 'wrong' and the true date is MUCH earlier than what you have presented as correct - will you then concede that my calculations are 'in the balance of probability' accurate?

      RJL

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  24. RJL , the actual centre of the monument is usually accepted as being the observation /measuring point. We can't possibly know if this was the case or even if observation took place . We don’t know exactly where the Altar stone stood , the two suggestions are WA 3639 & WA3359 .The difference between where the Altar stone lies and the centre is approx 2m .This would have a major impact in azimuths and resulting declinations when dealing with the contentious “alignments “ within the monument but when applied to more realistic distant horizons like the summer solstice sun rise , which at a distance of 2.6 Km the maximum difference in azimuth amounts to 0.03 which is obviously negligible .

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  25. Geo

    "The Altar Stone was flat on the ground in approximately its present orientation, not vertical; the approximately 80° angle with the Axis is due to alignment of the Altar Stone with the Winter Solstice Sun Rise and Summer Solstice Sun Set directions"

    OBSERVATIONAL ARCHAEOASTRONOMY AT STONEHENGE, Freeman

    http://www.ualberta.ca/~gfreeman/stone/summer.htm

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  26. RJL , .The Freemans are not authorities on the monument , those who know about the archaeology are less sure about the whether the Alatar was always recumbent and in it’s present position . Some suggest that it has always been recumbent but not necessarily in it's present position (Burl ) others suggests that it may have stood in WA3639 or as a pair in WA 3359 (Cleal et al) or simply was erect in a choice of positions (North ). The difference between using the Altar stone and the centre of the monument as a putative observers position ,as pointed out earlier , is negligible in relation to the solstice alignment . Possibly the reason for the Freeman's using the Altar stone is that it fits in with their unlikely winter solstice sun rise theory which involves the small notch in stone 58 which would not work if viewed from the centre . But they also use bluestone 31 as a putative observing point ,because it “works “ . “Alignments “ are suggested and can be found very easily all over the monument simply because of the huge amount of components and variables but the likelihood of intentionality is minimal and the vast majority don’t convince archaeoastronomers .

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  27. Geo

    I respect the freeman's view on Stonehenge although I do not support external viewing position outstanding for such matters such as the station stones as you know.

    The empirical evidence for the site does show that both the Altar Stone and the Slaughter Stone are of a mica-sandstones variety which Rob & Co are attempting to locate the source in Wales and the west country - which sadly for them is in the wrong direction. However, the fact they are different should be a indication that they had a 'special purpose' - so to associate them with other 'standing stones' would be flawed logic as they are clearly supposed to be recumbent.

    Clearly, both have been deliberately 'buried' in particular spots for a clear reason, sadly Atkinson's excavation notes for the Altar Stone in he 50's have mysteriously vanished and even more interesting for conspiracy theorists like myself not even mentioned in the cleal et al 1995 bible.

    RJL

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  28. The evidence shows that the The Slaughter stone is sarsen ,and one that has been extensively dressed . Hawley ,Atkinson and Burl all believed it to have been originally erect , Cleal considered the Burl argument as convincing .

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  29. Hey man , hearing you all talk is wicked...the good news is soon all your arguments will be settled for good, with the publication of a new ebook "stonehenge, STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN ", part of the " what they really built" series of forth coming books . Stonhenge is a book , of number , It contains the source theory of the origin of the mile. simple elegant observational math. . You will all soon relise the undisputable truth. of what they really built. lol....lol..lol! look out for it its a real eye opener. good luck to you all..

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  30. Anon

    Sounds like a song to be - it certanly "make me wonder"!

    Look forward to seeing the theory - good luck on the ebook

    RJL

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