NE Cairn; half an hour before sunset [photo: Ian B. Wright, 2009]
My recently released book, Harmonic Origins of the World (HoW) spliced,
- the ancient tuning theory implied by a wide ranging use of harmonic numbers in the ancient world (post 3000 BC) onto
- the advanced solar and lunar horizon astronomy of the megalithic in Brittany, Britain, and Ireland.
using my early finding (Matrix of Creation, 2002), that the lunar year has harmonic ratios to the visible outer planets.
In other words, the megalithic were led to find the whole tone and semitone ratios to Jupiter and Saturn through their work of counting the synodic period between the loops of these two planets, these results being responsible for that information (and their wider astronomical tradition) leaking into the foundations of what we call history. Later traditions, such as The Harmony of the Spheres, would allude to this prospectus: that the Earth had a musical planetary environment.
This article explores a megalithic complex called Clava Cairns, near Inverness, Scotland, and finds first evidence that the megalithic counted the synodic periods of Jupiter and Saturn and used this knowledge to inform the dimensions and design of these cairns. This might give clues as to how sun, moon, and outer planets were informing the design of monuments of those and later sacred spaces. A previous article on the alignments found at Clava cairns is in the British Megaliths section of this site
Some Metrology at Clava Cairns
Alignments to the solstice sun are at least symbolic of the solar year in between of 365 days. At Le Manio Quadrilateral one finds a count over three solar years of 1095 day-inches along the mid-summer solstice sunrise alignment and so counting was tied to the solstice sun in 4000 BC, in Brittany, and the strongest solstice alignment at these cairns is that of the passageways of the NE and SW cairns towards midwinter sunset. I will therefore look at the distance between these two cairns whilst also looking at other features and geometries associated with accurate time counting in days.
Figure 3 The distance between the small circular centres is 399 feet
Figure 3 shows that the distance between the centres of the two passageway cairns, if it represents day-feet counting, is the synod of Jupiter of 398.88 days. Once one knows that this synod is 9/8 the length of the lunar year, of twelve months, then one can use a foot of 9/8 (1.125 feet, as at Parthenon, HoW page 72-78) feet to represent the same length as being the lunar year. This leads us to also see the four-square geometry between these cairns, that relates the lunar year to the solar year, which is then the length of the diagonal, as below.
Figure 4 Projecting the solar year and Jupiter synod using day-feet 9/8 feet long
The central rings of both passageway cairns have a diameter relative to the distance between them that matches the excess of the solar year over the lunar year. When the Jupiter synod is similarly projected then the artificially raised pedestals of the cairns are neatly delimited by a distance 1/8th of the distance between the rings. This is as if the ratios between these time periods are involved in the morphology of the ring cairn itself, their pedestals and central rings representing key astronomical periods or differences. One should remember that the excess of the solar year over the lunar year was, in the day-inch counting found at Carnac, one third of the megalithic yard. By 2000 BC metrology had become based upon foot ratios such as 9/8 feet and the megalithic would end within 500 more years. Yet one sees here a precursor of the Iron Age broch aka Atlantic roundhouse in which different feet appear to have been used, to adapt to the space available for their building. The metrology of the broch demonstrates that the metrology of ring cairn was still in nearby use, and there is some resemblance between these two type of structures. Note also how the triple ring cairns resemble Yorkshire henge designs and the three at Clava remind one of Thornborough Henge.
The Saturn synod of 378 days, as a count from the opposite ring cairn, ends within the cairn's infill as also does the eclipse year. But the Embolismic year of 13 lunar months or 384 days (related to eclipses) ends precisely on the outer kerb of the cairns. It is therefore possible (with care) to show these different time periods as significant for the morphology of the cairn's main delimiting features: inner kerb diameter, the outer kerb and the Jupiter synod. If this is correct then the ring cairn design was originally developed within the Balnuaran complex design as a cosmogram defined by astronomical periodicities.
Figure 5 The delimiting features of the ring cairns as astronomical invariants, when counted from the opposite chamber's nearest wall.