Big stones

The stone pillars from the Carnac area in Brittany, sometimes 17 meters high, are shrouded in numerous myths and legends. They have been standing for six thousand years. Why are they set? Who made this unbelievable feat? We do not know. Thousands of such prehistoric stone giants are found in Europe and North Africa, in Syria and Palestine. Do they designate ancient places of worship? Are these tombstones, or maybe thrones of gods? Today, scientists assume that the most famous monument of megalithic culture, stone circle in Stonehenge, could be used for astronomical measurements. How would one Neolithic people acquire astronomical knowledge that even today is astounding?

Near the small town of Locmariaquer in Brittany lies a smashed stone block of coarse granite. There would be nothing extraordinary in this, because such longitudinal, granite monoliths are of natural origin and are not uncommon on the west coast of the Quiberon peninsula, called Côte Sauvage - or Dziki Brzeg. It's just that the coast is located 15 km to the west in a straight line. The land is certainly at least twice as long, because between the rocky shore and Locmariaquer, the sea bay is squeezed. The waterway around the peninsula is no less than 25 km.

Someone had to transport a huge stone to its present place. And he had a very important reason for this, the granite colossus weighs 347,53 t, which is about 40 t heavier than an unloaded jumbo jet! When he was not yet shattered, he measured 20.3 m, so he exceeded the six-storey building. it is not without reason that we are talking about height, not length, because those who transported it to Locmariaquer set it there vertically. The base was just over 3 m deep into the ground, so a huge stone obelisk fired 17 m above the flat area.

Rather, it can be ruled out that the granite monolith collapsed at the time of setting, because archaeologists found gallo-Roman monuments under a colossus lying on the ground. Menhir were probably set around 2000 BC, and so during the Neolithic period, he fell only much later, burying younger finds under him.

Who we have brought here Men-Er-Grah - because it is called a powerful obelisk - can be inferred from his dating. Four hundred years ago, Armorians lived in the northwest of France, whose ancestors are at least partly to be found among the representatives of the Cro-Magnon man, the oldest known in Europe, the Homo sapiens race. Armoricans were farmers and fishermen; on their light wicker boats with leather-bound sides, they ventured into the open sea.

However, they certainly did not know one thing - urban civilization similar to those that developed at that time in Mesopotamia and Egypt. This fact did not facilitate the task of archaeologists trying to construct theories concerning the ways of transporting and setting a large stone. After all, they claimed that it was necessary to transport at least 3,000 people on the rollers of the 134.5 m3 and 348 tonnes of monolith that was quite small! The exclusion of this possibility led the fantasites to the idea that it was the spell-wielding priests who carried heavy loads through telekinesis, and thus only by the power of their thoughts.

Witch-sorcerers carried large blocks?
The explanation proposed by the French archaeologist Z. Le Rouzic in the first decade of our century sounds much more convincing. Well, this scientist proved practically that one hundred skillful men using the appropriately used levers are able to move even very large monoliths. If, on the other hand, steers as waggons are used for this purpose, this would solve the problem of the effort of forces.

For the sober-minded technician Le Rouzic's experiments are perhaps sufficient, but for the mystic they turn out to be too banal. It is just as trivial for him to justify what some archaeologists say regarding Men-Er-Grah. They believe that the stone block was a shipping landmark, because it was placed in a very important place from the point of view of navigating a boat in the Stone Age: it indicates the entrance from the open sea to the Morbihan Bay and the estuary of the Auray River.

At first glance, this theory seems probable. However, not everything is so easy. Menhirs, such as Men-Er-Grah, are not rare in Brittany, and although no other stone is as big as its size, many monoliths have risen to a height of several meters to this day. The largest of the menhirs still standing (the name was archaeologists borrowed from the Celtic language: men - stone, hir - high, long), monolith from Kerloas near Plouarzel, measured 12 meters. Most of them, however, are not at all on the coast, so you can not claim that they are shipping signs.

Directly next to the stone giant Men-Er-Grah there is a 168 m long and 30 m wide tomb from the Stone Age. Could the granite pillar be something like a tombstone stele? A message from the Old Testament could speak for it. Well, over 3,700 years ago, more or less at the time when giant monoliths were built in Brittany, Jacob's wife died near Bethlehem. "Jakub set up a stele on her grave, the stone stands on the grave of Rachel to this day." This is how the burial was described in the book of Moses (Genesis 35, 20). Rachel's tomb thus survived in Palestine unchanged for millennia. A stone stele is just menhir!

There may be an accusation that Rachel's tomb separates 4000 km from Menhiras from Brittany. So what can one have to do with the other? This argument, however, loses its importance when we take into account that the stone pillars from the north of France are not an isolated phenomenon. Thousands of similar monuments are scattered all over Europe and North Africa, we find them in Greece and Puglia, Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Balearic Islands, in northern Italy, southern France, Switzerland and Austria, in southern, western and northern Spain, in Portugal throughout the west and north of France, the British Isles, Belgium, the Netherlands, northern Germany, Denmark, and even in southern Scandinavia. Along the shores of the Mediterranean, from Libya to Morocco and further south to Senegal, they are also in the Gambia. They are also in Syria and Palestine. Archaeologists say about megalithic culture. Mega means Greek, and lithos is a stone.

So, were all these great stones tombstones? It is unlikely that in many places they appear in groups, arranged in circles with a round or oval shape, in long rows, or - as in Western Sahara - in a kind of parabola. And seldom there are tombs nearby.

It may be helpful to know where to look for the roots of megalithic culture. It must be remembered, however, that the very concept of megalithic culture is misleading. There was nothing like that, just as you can not talk about the culture of skyscrapers today. The megalithic idea spread with the influence of various peoples and cultures. Where did she come from?

In the second volume of his "Prehistory of Humanity" from 1963, prof. Herbert Kühn gives a credibly sounding explanation. He writes: "The great number of these megaliths in the Mediterranean, the Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Corsica, Malta, Gozo and all of North Africa points to the eastern Mediterranean where there has been constant competition between the highly developed civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia - namely to Syria and Palestine. " Professor Kühn describes in detail what ways in his opinion the megalithic idea spread throughout the centuries around Europe: "Exploitation of new tin deposits has been an important reason for the Orient for colonization in the Mediterranean." It was there that the builders of the magalites first instilled their idea. Then, by sea, she moved further and further: "[...] along the northern coast of Africa to Spain, France, England and Scandinavia, it was not a migration of peoples, but colonization."

The land route marked with great megaliths runs from the south of France to the north, towards the banks of the English Channel. Was it the abbreviation of the much longer maritime trade route that had to circulate the Iberian Peninsula? This assumption fits perfectly well with the picture of the colonization of Europe by the carriers of the idea of ​​megaliths, just like the fact that the rows of Carnac menhiras in northwestern France are deliberately similar to those of Gezer in Palestine. It is not surprising, therefore, that Egyptian beads are found in Irish stone tombs.

Atomic physics undermines theories
It seemed all the pebbles of the puzzle fit together perfectly. But it was 1963. Meanwhile, dating with the C14 radioactive carbon method shed new light on the issue of megaliths, at the same time helping to undermine previous views. If the theory of colonization were to be correct, then megalithic culture should spread gradually from the Mediterranean area through Portugal and northern Spain to Northwest France and further to the British Isles.

More recent dating by the British scholar Elisabeth Shee, however, brought a surprise: the oldest corridor graves in Brittany come from around 3900 BC, so they are at least three-quarters millennia older than those from Portugal. In turn, the megaliths from southern Spain and the Mediterranean islands are younger than the Portuguese ones. "If in the future it is impossible to determine any earlier dating (for the Iberian Peninsula) - writes a British scholar - there will be a need to seriously consider whether the corridors of Brittany are not the oldest megaliths in Atlantic Europe."

Also, many megalithic monuments from the British Isles come from a much earlier period than it was assumed in 1963 by Professor Kühn. "In Great Britain, all megalithic buildings fall into the Bronze Age, so after 1800, Christ." - wrote the professor. Meanwhile, radiocarbon dating showed that their age reaches half of the third millennium BC.


The matter of the origin of large stones is still covered with mystery. Research on megalithic culture has been enriched with another puzzle that previously seemed almost solved.

The question of the importance of menhirs is also unresolved. While the function of the above-mentioned megalithic tombs, corridor graves and dolmens has been unequivocally determined by finds, at least in the case of free-standing menhirs, the researchers are condemned only for guesses. One thing seems clear: stone posts stand in ancient places of worship. Because they could not serve any practical purpose, it should be assumed that the unprecedented effort of their setting was taken only for ritual reasons. And indeed, in the rural areas of northwestern France and the British Isles, ancient cults have been preserved until the Middle Ages. Gradually supplanted by the spreading Christian religion, they became a synonym for impure forces. That's why many of the saints once used to carry names such as "The Arrow of the Devil", "Devil's oven" or "Shield of the devil".

Menhirs that are still standing today are often associated with ghosts and other supernatural phenomena. Often they are considered to be enchanted beings who periodically come back to life to perform certain activities: they run, dance, move around the circle (usually three or nine times) or triple around the pond. People go to a nearby river or lake, drink water there or take a bath, then return to the place and turn back to the stone.

All this could be considered fairy tales, which parents living near stone monuments invent for their children, were it not for the amazing convergences appearing in these messages. For example, all stones come alive at very specific times of a day or a year: at midnight, at sunrise, at noon, on Midsummer's Day or on the day of the winter solstice. Christian holidays also have their place in this pattern: the morning of the first day of Christmas, Easter Sunday or All Souls Day. In the old sagas, these times are constantly being repeated, and the magical numbers three and nine, sometimes seven too, are constantly returning.

Some light on this dark world sag throws old Breton customs that survived until the early twentieth century. Most often they have a Christian staffage dating back to the Middle Ages, but the roots reach back to the darkness of the past, at least as ancient as the custom of setting a Christmas tree, most probably taken from the Old Germanic winter holiday (Julfest). Where the Christian church was unable to eradicate the ancient custom, it simply incorporated it into its tradition, giving it a new meaning. More than one of the old Breton menhirs has been "Christianized" by putting a mark on it or even scaling it in the shape of a cross.

Pagan customs in the Christian staffage
Today's so-called pardons, church processions, in which sometimes up to 20 bishops attend, are undoubtedly derived from pre-Christian ceremonies, which took place at the same times when, according to ancient sources, stones were to dance. Until recently, Saint John's Day was celebrated in Brittany on June 23. Werner Hülle, an investigator of prehistory, wrote about it in 1876: "Fires were lighted before nightfall, driving cows, pigs, horses and sheep through them, to keep them from disease and wolves." At the end, all the inhabitants were jumping through the fire. when the darkness fell, a great pile of wood was lighted around which, in ancient times, stones were set in the belief that ghosts would sit on them to warm themselves. men using braided roving or wicker, making movements similar to milking, set the boiler in vibrations, so that he began to spend a large-scale organ tone, which were greeted by neighboring villages [...] The next morning, children came to check Did Saint John leave wooden clogs on the ash, happy to see this successful sign, then handfuls spread the ashes across the fields. "

In this relation, we find three important facts: the time of the solemnity ceremony on the summer solstice, the role of stones as thrones for souls and cult of fertility of fields. Menhir stone-age builders were still nomads who wandered with their herds. When establishing contacts with the deceased, the thrones for souls placed in specific places, eg at intersections of frequented routes, certainly much more fulfilled the role of a "meeting place" than more or less accidentally selected places for graves.

As for the afterlife and contact with the beyond, in almost all primitive religions the worship given to the ancestors is inseparable from the cult of fertility. Ashes from the Breton sanctuary conceal new life for fields, and stone thrones for souls, even in very old traditions and messages, play the role of guarantors of health and fertility.

Thrones for souls, guarantee of fertility
Let us also note the peculiar stones with holes located in the British Isles, which were of great significance for the local population several centuries ago. The stone district of "Men-an-Tol", also called Crick Stone, near Morvah in western Cornwall, the peasants attribute the healing properties of the rickety children, if they crawl through the stone hole three or nine times through the sun.

Small children also had to heal a 2.7 m high hole in the stone at Constantine Tolven in Cornwall. For this purpose, the child was placed nine times through a round hole, each time from the opposite side.

In Kilchoman on the Islay island there is a stone with a cavity in the shape of a spell. If someone wants his wish to be fulfilled - for example, having a child - he must move three times after this hollow with a mortar pestle in accordance with the movement of the Sun in the sky, and finally put on a sacrificial coin. (To this day, a church from a nearby church is located in the hollow of the coin). More than one of the old magical stones helped ostensibly conceive infertile women who, at a specific time, rubbed their naked belly against a stone.

There is no shortage of attempts to "physically" explain these peculiar phenomena. some of the peasants who are willing to believe in miracles claim that stones act like lenses that focus cosmic energy or magnetic field. so it would be, for example, with an opening in Men-an-Tol menus.

There remains to be clarified the relationship between menhirs and specific times of the year and the day. Modern science has given answers here. At the beginning, probably the most famous megalithic building in Europe - Stonehenge. This team is located near Salisbury, in Wiltshire, in the south of Great Britain. Though tarnished with the tooth of time, he still makes a huge impression on his monumentalism. Powerful stone poles protrude into the sky on a flat field; the biggest ones reach the height of a three-storey building and weigh up to 50 tons.

No wonder that this place has been occupied for a long time, giving the impression of a sanctuary erected in ancient times by a tribe of giants. Around 1600, Stonehenge aroused a keen interest in King James I. Monarch sent his court architect, Inigo Jones, to investigate the ruins. The builder ruled that they must be the ruins of a Roman temple.

50 years later, King Charles II sent an expert on the affairs of antiquity, John Aubrey, to Stonehenge. The researcher described a very similar, though not so impressive, stone circle from Avebury. It seemed that he would also solve the Stonehenge riddle. Aubrey conscientiously examined the menhirs and came to the conclusion that Stonehenge is an ancient druid temple.

The druids were called Celtic priests. They were able to read from the stars, to preach events from the entrails of animals and the flight of birds, and also held high offices as political advisors and judges. In Roman and Greek accounts, historians, such as Pliny, Diodor or Tacitus, many times mention druids. Only they could build Stonehenge? Thus, the mystery of the origin of mysterious stones seemed to be solved. Only among the people continued the eternal conviction that Merlin, the wise sorcerer at King Arthur's court, personally erected Stone Stone's stone sanctuary, or at least planned and supervised its construction.

Observation of the Sun 2000 years p. Chr.
An important discovery confirmed the English researcher from the early nineteenth century, William Stukeley, in the belief that it is necessary to accurately measure the Druid building.Age 80 m from the "altar", rock block in the center of the stone circle, there was a single large stone, the so-called. Heel Stone. Looking at this stone from the side of the altar in the morning on the summer solstice, the rising sun was seen above him. Was it a pure coincidence? Certainly not, because druids have always been known for their observations of the sky.

In 1901, astronomer Norman Lockyer decided to verify this theory. If it is correct, he considered, then the astronomical measurements obtained with Stonehenge's stone system will only be approximately accurate. During millennia, the Earth's orbit around the sun has undergone minor changes, which must involve deviations in measurements. The degree of deviation can, however, be very precisely determined and in this way, calculate the date when the measurement was precise. Lockyer's calculations showed that it was in 1860, Christ, with a pleat tolerance of minus 200 years. In 1935, Herbert Stone repeated these astronomical calculations based on even more precise measurements of both monoliths and he received the year 1840 p. Chr.

So Stonehenge comes from the pre-Celtic period and can not be a druid temple. Was there no internal contradiction in the proposal? In their calculations, both astronomers assumed that druid sun observers set stones in Stonehenge exactly where they stand today, while calculations pointed to the period when druids were not yet familiar with astronomy in England. Therefore, the specialists began to doubt the value of these calculations.

There was one more argument against the early dating of the megalithic band. Well, in 1923 it was possible to determine where the huge stones came from. It was Pembrokeshire in the south of Wales, and the quarry lies no more than 230 km from Stonehenge. How could people almost 4000 years ago solve such an unusual transport problem?

When, in the middle of our century, the discovery of the carbon-14 dating method appeared, it was possible to determine more precisely the age of the mysterious prehistoric temple. the result was sensational - 1847 p. Chr. with a tolerance of 275 years. It was a result almost identical to that obtained by Stone on the basis of astronomical calculations! So Stonehenge actually came from the pre -ruid period and there really was a solar observatory.

Computers confirm the knowledge of astronomers of the Bronze Age
This amazing discovery caused that the American astronomer G.T. Hawkins, who undertook a systematic study of the ancient temple. At the beginning he realized that Stonehenge does not consist of only two stones. So maybe not only the line connecting "Altar Stone" with "Heel Stone" has some astronomical meaning. Hawkins once more meticulously scraped all the team's stones and drew 7140 possible connections between them. He introduced astronomical data related to these lines to the computer and launched a program that was to determine whether certain specific directions are repeated more frequently than would be expected from the probability calculus. Indeed: Hawkins's computer showed Stonehenge the declination of 290,? 240, and? 190 as the most common repetition. The declination of the star is very important to determine its position. The hypothetical line connecting the given star with the center of the Earth intersects the surface of our planet in a precisely defined place, and the geographical breadth of this place is identical with the declination of the star. +240 is around 1880 BC. Declination of the Sun on the summer solstice, -240 on the winter solstice.

Unlike our daytime whistle, the Moon achieves two, but the four extreme values ​​of declination on its much more complex orbit. Around 1800 BC, they amounted to +290, -290, +190 and -190!

Hawkins unveiled the hem of the mystery surrounding Stonehenge. There was no chance of chance, because the probability that at this number of stones just these, and not other declination values, proved to be the dominant, is 1: 1,000,000. Thus, Stonehenge is definitely an ancient sanctuary of the Sun and the Moon.

But Hawkins did not content himself with these results. The reconstruction of the band let us guess that his secret was not only about setting stones. It was a circle formed initially from 30 powerful blocks connected by stone slabs topped with a top. In its very center there were five double blocks on which rested blocks arranged in the shape of a horseshoe. These powerful trilities looked like the gates of the cyclopians. And 56 mysterious caves around the sanctuary, yet discovered by Aubrey.

The powerful trilobites and the surrounding stone circle revealed their mystery. When the priest looked from the inner courtyard of the ensemble through one of the trillitins and at the same time through a specific gate of a stone circle, then, depending on the combination of inner and outer gates, his eyes fell on a specific point in the sky, corresponding to one of the declinations we already know (? 290, ? 240 and? 190).

Eclipses of the Sun and the Moon designated with the help of piles
It was not so easy with Aubrey's cavities: it could not have been landmarks. Hawkins interpreted them as a device for calculations. He assumed that the prehistoric priests were putting six piles in the cavities in a clockwise direction. These were cavities No. 10, 19, 28, 38, 47 and 56. The intervals between the piles were 9, 9, 10, 9, 9 and 10 cavities respectively. Each year, the priests moved the piles one space further. With the help of this simple system, they were able to predict solar and lunar eclipses with an accuracy of a few days. For example, whenever a pale was in the cavity lying on the line connecting the altar with "Heel Stone", one should expect a solar eclipse during the winter solstice. In this way, the approximate eclipse time was determined. The exact day could then be determined, according to Hawkins, by means of a stone or a pile placed in front of one of the 30 gates of the stone circle and moved by one gate each day. When this "moon-like" was found between the pillar 30 and 1, so again on the line connecting the altar with "Heel Stone", it was the day when a lunar eclipse could occur, and if the stake stood exactly on the opposite side, one should expect a solar eclipse.

The newer discoveries of British astroarcheologist Alexander Thom are so convincing that it is no longer possible to doubt the sophisticated astronomical observations conducted by our ancestors. The scholar made the effort to draw up, using the latest geodetic techniques, accurate plans for nearly 450 stone circles and ranks in the British Isles today. Collected data collected all over the country later on to the computer and as a result showed the existence of 48 solar observatories and 23 moon observatories. for further 50 solar and 15 lunar sanctuaries you can indicate with high probability, and additional 10 solar and 4 lunar ones must be considered as at least possible.

However, this was not the only result. The computer discovered that astronomers from the Bronze Age observed not only the Sun and the Moon, but also larger permanent stars such as Koza, Deneb, Arktur, Kastor, Spica, Antares, Atair, Pollux and Wega. Thom also succeeded in reconstructing the solar calendar of the Bronze Age on the basis of the studies of ancient sanctuaries. They divided the year into 16 approximately equal parts, 23, 23, 24, 23, 23, 23, 23, 22, 22, 22, 22, 23, 23, 23, 23 and 23 days. The year therefore counted 365 days. an additional day was also included in the leap year (every fourth) introduced into our calendar only 1,500 years later, during the time of Julius Caesar.

We can therefore conclude that at least megalithic buildings in Great Britain were more than just tombs. They created carefully designed astronomical observatories and calendar sanctuaries. Professor Thom managed to reconstruct their mathematical construction and prove that the builders of the Neolithic and Bronze Age knew the principle embodied in the Pythagorean theorem. He also showed that they used a uniform, megalithic unit of measure, which he named the megalithic yard. It counts 82,7 cm with an accuracy of ± 2 mm and has been used throughout Europe.

Considering the convergence of so many elements in all megalithic constructions, one can not help but suspect that even outside the British Isles many of them could have been astronomical sanctuaries. however, so far none of the objects have been examined in this respect. In the mid-seventies Professor Thom, then over 70 years old, after 30 years of research on British megaliths, went with a team, which also included surveyors, to Brittany and examined the thousands of stone-walled avenues from Carnac. his expectations came true in the first place. Also, these teams undoubtedly served astronomical measurements.

Statistical calculations have long since confirmed the validity of the astronomical hypothesis in relation to megalithic constructions, but there is still no answer to the question how, before nearly 4000 years, people of the Bronze Age, who certainly did not know the magazine, were able to map these monumental stone bands with such precision ?

We will not resolve this issue, but the amazing achievements of the former builders can be admired to this day, It is known with certainty that the people of the Neolithic period had not only astronomical knowledge, but also an impressive knowledge of geometry.
Tekst: [url=mailto:juliettqa@go2.pl]Paulina 'juliettqa' Soból[/url] Źródło: "Ready" Nr 15-16 - marzec-kwiecień 2002
30/07/2005     Wojciech Andruszkiewicz
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