Geometric Stone Spheres of Scotland: Part 2 – Explanations From Platonic Solids to Sexual Healing
The purpose of these, predominantly Scottish in origin, spheres is unknown, although simple theories range from projectiles to predictive devices and more. But the sophistication of their design and manufacture seems to point us to there being a more intelligent and scientific nature involved. This Part takes us on a more complex exploration of their possible nature from the apparent basis in the Platonic Solids to the hypothesis of sexual healing power.
[Read Part 1 ]
A Philosopher’s Dimension
With a geometers eye, Keith Critchlow, author of Time Stands Still: New Light on Megalithic Science , saw something in the spheres that no-one had spotted before: sophisticated 3D geometric forms that look surprisingly close to the Platonic Solids. He saw all five Polyhedra, and intricate combinations of them, in a continuous fashion that suggested the designers understood, and excelled at 3D spherical geometry. Critchlow writes, " What we have are objects clearly indicative of a degree of mathematical ability so far denied to Neolithic man by any archaeologist or mathematical historian ."
Figure 9. A stone cube-octahedron
All five platonic solids are represented: octahedron, icosahedron, dodecahedron, tetrahedron, and cube. There is also a cube-octahedron (see Figure 9.), where both these solids ‘nest’ within each other. “Nesting” was noted by Plato, and is integral in studying the liberal arts, and shows they were experimenting with various geometries. The Greeks taught that these five solids were the core patterns of physical creation. Four of the solids were seen as the archetypal patterns behind the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water), while the fifth was held to be the pattern behind the life force itself, the ‘ether’. The fact that many of them are exactly the same size (with 1mm difference), does also suggest a standard unit of measure was being used, much like Alexander Thom’s Megalithic Yard, but on a much smaller scale. However, many of them were not ‘perfect’ Platonic Solids, rather very close approximations showing obvious variations in the stonemasons’ skills. This variation can be seen on these three spheres on display at the British Museum, London.
- Geometric Stone Spheres of Scotland: Part 1 – More Than A Projectile - What Possible Purpose 5,000-years Ago?
- Mathematical Encoding in the Great Pyramid
- The steam-powered pigeon of Archytas – the flying machine of antiquity
Figure 10. Three stone spheres on display at the British Museum, London
Cutting Edge of Geometric Design?
Recently, a stone sphere was found at the Ness of Brodgar on the island of Orkney, Scotland, a Neolithic settlement covering 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness. York University archaeologist, Professor Mark Edmonds, stated, " The density of the archaeology, the scale of the buildings and the skill that was used to construct them are simply phenomenal .” Other spheres had been found on Orkney previously, but this new discovery made me question if this settlement was the first “megalithic university” of the British Isles (it is at least 500 years older than Stonehenge). Was it here the megalithic yard was devised, where the stone spheres were manufactured, and a major center of learning thrived in the ancient world?
“London may be the cultural hub of Britain today, but 5,000 years ago, Orkney was the center for innovation for the British Isles. Ideas spread from this place. The first grooved pottery, which is so distinctive of the era, was made here, for example, and the first henges – stone rings with ditches round them – were erected on Orkney. Then the ideas spread to the rest of the Neolithic Britain. This was the font for new thinking at the time .”
Figure 11. Stone sphere found on Orkney. (Photo credit: Orkney Archaeology)
The number of knobs on the objects ranges from 3 to 160 - quite a remarkable feat considering their size. “ All show an appreciation for symmetry in the design ” said Alison Roberts, curator at the museum. She is right, because one example is 14-sided, corresponding to a form with two opposite hexagons, each surrounded by six pentagons. However, Dr. Alison Sheridan of the National Museums of Scotland questions the evidence for advanced geometry. She says that the interpretation “ fails to take into account their archaeological background, and fails to explain why so many do not have the requisite number of knobs! It's a classic case of people sticking on an interpretation in a state of ignorance. A great shame when so much is known about Late Neolithic archaeology .”