Prehistoric Calendar Revealed at Stonehenge

Prehistoric Calendar Revealed at Stonehenge


Summer solstice is fast approaching, and on the 20th June over 20,000 people are expected to gather at the world-famous Stonehenge to celebrate and watch the sun rise above the Heel Stone and shine on the central altar. For those of us in the northern hemisphere, this is a time when the sun's path stops moving northward in the sky, the days stop growing longer and will soon begin to shorten again.

Over 5000 years old, Stonehenge was built in three phases between 3,000 B.C. and 1,600 B.C. Its full purpose remains unknown yet the mystery that surrounds Stonehenge is so enduring and popular that last year over 1.3 million visitors flocked to this ancient monument. There are even several man-made copies of the world-famous heritage site have been built around the world, including an impressive full-scale replica at the Maryhill Museum in Washington, USA.

Painting of the Maryhill replica of Stonehenge

Painting of the Maryhill replica ( Michael D Martin / Flickr )

Stonehenge famously aligns to the solstices, but for the rest of the year it seems strange that these ancient builders would not be aware of the current day, or for that matter how many days remained to the next solstice event. However, a new theory has been presented that suggests Stonehenge was used for more than just marking the winter and summer solstices, or as a sacred burial site.

Recently, Lloyd Matthews (scale modelling expert based in the UK) and Joan Rankin (a retired historian living in Canada), have made an ambitious attempt to rethink the purpose of Stonehenge. Their conclusion, after three years of extensive and laborious research, is that the entire structure was, in fact, a complex and significant prehistoric calendar that could actually count the individual days in a year. Not only did Stonehenge act as a solar calendar, similar to the western calendar used today, but it also acted as a lunar calendar and was important for a developing agricultural society to successfully plan for the seasons.

Lloyd Matthews spent 6 years meticulously researching and constructing two scale models of Stonehenge for display at The Maryhill Museum of Art. The models show Stonehenge as it stands today and as it would have originally looked when built.

Lloyd Matthew’s models showing Stonehenge as it stands today and as it would have originally looked.

Lloyd Matthew’s models showing Stonehenge today and in the past. Credit: Lloyd Matthews

During its construction, Mr Matthews identified three distinct carvings on three of the large stones known as Trilithons. Curiosity piqued, Mr Matthews approached several experts at the time who were unable to provide an explanation as to what these symbols meant. Dissatisfied with the responses, Mr Matthews decided to continue his research into this ancient puzzle with the help of Joan Rankin, an authority in prehistory.

Stone 52 with ‘The Eye’ symbol. From Left: Stone 52 today (Credit: Lloyd Matthews), Replica of Stone 52

Stone 52 with ‘The Eye’ symbol. From Left: Stone 52 today , Replica of Stone 52 ( Credit: Lloyd Matthews), Stone 52 in 1867.

Stone 53 with ‘The Dividers’ symbol.

Stone 53 with ‘The Dividers’ symbol. Credit: Lloyd Matthews

Stone 59 with ‘The Parallels’. Left: Stone 59 today. Right: Replica of Stone 59 as it would have once stood.

Stone 59 with ‘The Parallels’. Left: Stone 59 today. Right: Replica of Stone 59. Credit: Lloyd Matthews

Together, they may have not only successfully cracked the mystery of these three symbols but also discovered the original purpose of 56 unusual holes that were dug around Stonehenge during the very first phase of its construction, famously known as the Aubrey Holes. It appears that these holes could likely have been used as a calendar counting system used to keep track of each passing day, with six and a half revolutions around Stonehenge marking a full year, and using the rising of the Summer Solstice sun as a way of astronomically marking the starting point of each new year.

Replica of Stonehenge showing the Aubrey holes

Replica of Stonehenge showing the Aubrey holes ( public domain )

As for the mysterious shapes carved into the Trilithons, they have shown how these symbols may have been deliberately positioned to allow the ancient astronomers at Stonehenge keep track of other significant astronomical cycles, including its use not only as a solar calendar but also as a lunar calendar.

Dr Derek Cunningham, an established archaeological expert has even embraced this new theory himself, saying that "the idea is based on some solid observations. Not only can Lloyd now explain his three shapes, Joan's ideas help explain the layout and also the number of Aubrey Holes seen at the site. Neither had been satisfactorily explained before."

Dr Cunningham goes on to say, "Further work is expected, but it now appears that Stonehenge may finally be giving up some of its secrets."

Original Source Material:  Rankin, J., Matthews, J., & Matthews, L. (2015). The Stonehenge Carvings. Available HERE.

Article source: Rankin, J., Matthews, J., Matthews, L., & Cunningham, D.  The Aubrey Hole Calendar – Why 56 Holes. Available HERE

SOURCE The Office of Lloyd Matthews

Top image: Image of Stonehenge. 

By James Matthews


You are wrong

I read that book many years ago. I found it fascinating but then I realized that the Aubrey hole circle could be used as a day by day calendar to count off a Solar year and a Lunar year. It can predict eclipses in several ways and keep track of the cycles of the planets which were followed at that time. I did my own astronomy because Hawkins was using the Heel stone for Summer Solstice Sunrise but it still hasn't risen there. Along the way we discovered other astronomy which made the calendar even more interesting. I never understood that Hawkins never saw that 6.5 x 56 = 364 + 1 = 365. That book got me into this.

Stonehenge Decoded by Gerald S Hawkins 

This book, copyrighted in 1965 and republished in 1993 by Barnes and Noble, is well worth reading as his analysis of Stonehenge's Aubrey Holes reveals striking evidence they are directly related to the lunar cycle. They also are accurate predictors for lunar eclipses. Also he discovered other solar/lunar correspondences which I am not going to attempt to explain.  

Hawkins approached Stonehenge as a puzzle to be solved.

"Hawkins decided to investigate the reason for that particular, peculiar arrangement of stones and holes at Stonehenge. He stood at each position and measured it's various alignments. . . .Back in Cambridge MA he fed the measurements he had taken into a huge computer and his original theories were confirmed: 

-The archways and stones point to the extreme standstills of the sun and moon on the horizon.

-The mysterious Aubrey Holes were probably used to predict the movements of the sun and the moon, and eclipses. Stonehenge was a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived astronomical observatory, used by three different groups of people over a 400 year period beginning around 2000 BC." (From dust jacket Stonehenge Decoded published 1993.)

I do suggest those who wish a scholarly read by an astronomer once associated with the Harvard-Smithsonian Observatories in Cambridge MA, where while working with Sir Bernard Lovell discovered the daylight meteor streams, read this interesting and informative book which has scholarly proofs! 

Why this book, which is never mentioned in the many articles and videos which have proliferated in modern media, has been gathering dust for years I just don't understand! 

Please! Somebody rescue this book from the obscurity to which it has been consigned!

It seems I have made an error about Venus. For 56 years from 3170 to 3114 BCE Venus did rise at the Heel stone. Then I checked 2019 CE and Venus was rising at the Heel stone again.

However, after checking this out in more depth, I found that Venus rises between about 48 degrees to about 58 degrees. This drift is very slow and because I found it rising at the Heel stone for 56 years and then again in 2019 I assumed it always rose there every eight years on Summer Solstice.

One should never assume anything.

As a foot note to this article I would like to mention the Heel stone. It is assumed by the general public to be the marker for Summer Solstice Sunrise but the Sun has never risen there and still doesn't. Perhaps in several hundred years but not now and not in 3000 BCE either.

The Heel stone is sometimes reffered to as the Friar's Heel stone this is believed to have come from Freyja's He-ol or Heol stone. Freyja is Venus and He, ol and heol are Welsh words. He = to sow and ol = track. Heol = road. So the Heel stone is Venus' to sow track or Venus' road.

The first day of our calendar was Summer Solstice 3154 BCE. This was a very important day for astronomers who wanted to keep track of cycles.

Venus, as the Morning Star, rose at the Heel stone and did so every eight years on Summer Solstice. Next event still works.


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