archaeo-astronomy

21 Aug 2016

Archaeo-astronomy in Britain has been a place where most archaeologists have been fearful to tread since the campaign to marginalise Alexander Thom took place many years ago. One of the tools they used was to deny long range alignments, especially those involving standing stones to points on the far horizon, using such things as the movement of those stones from their original positions, stones leaning over, imaginary niches on the horizon, dismissing the shape of stones as being relevant and a general ambivalence that seemed more to do with the fact New Agers were at the forefront of pushing the idea our ancient forebears being interested in plotting the movements of the sun and the moon and by implication anything transitory and moving across the background of the stars (planets and comets for example). Certain  people sold their souls and were rewarded with a life long endowment - or that has been one of the accusations. One of the founding members of SIS was Euan MacKie, and  to his credit he has remained strong and consistent in his support for Thom's ideas, but as it became a subject not to be aired in public as it might harm your career his various papers and investigations are rarely mentioned in the wider arena. Basically, it is the mainstream ignoring a subject in order to suppress it. This is an effective tactic by academia as it more or less means you will never get something published on a subject in journals in their control. It happens on more occasions than we might realise but is always obscured by reasonable sounding criticism such as this or that is speculative, and so on. This is the kind of critique applied to material that is far fetched and authors don't want their contributions to be cast aside by that shadow so it is best, mostly, to sheer away from the subject. On top of that we also have the problem that most archaeologists know little about astronomy and are unlikely to read the books of Paul Devereux, for example, let alone the more challenging books by Alexander Thom. As the subject has been extremely low key in Britain for over 30 years it is unlikely many younger archaeologists are knowledgeable on the subject - although the media likes to take their cameras down to Stonehenge every midsummer eve to take pictures of people drinking and swallowing and playing musical instruments as the Sun comes up and its rays poke between the gaps in the stones. They cannot help but be  aware of the big alignments. The point is do they take these things seriously.

Actually, the alignments to midsummer sun rise or midwinter sunset have never gone out of fashion and are accepted when it comes to Stonehenge and a few other sites (as mainstream cannot deny their existence as they are so obvious). In other parts of the world the idea of ancient people possessing an interest in the sky has never gone out of fashion, and there are journals out there dedicated to the subject. In Britain the subject is neutered solely because of the witch hunt conducted by academics and the archaeological establishment and therefore it is no surprise that it is a team from the University of Adelaide in Australia that are currently bringing the subject up again - see www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/uoa-ast081716.php (and the same story is at Phys Org and was forwarded by William Thompson). The claim is that the team of researchers have statistically proven that early standing stone monuments in Britain, as well as stone circles, were constructed specifically in line with the movements of the Sun and Moon around 5000 years ago. The interesting thing to watch out for now is how will the mainstream establishment react. Presumably the witchfinder generals have retired by now but will an entrenched second battalion try to repel the boarders. They could of course just ignore the Australian interlopers - and hope they remain a long way away.

Of course, alignments to the sun and moon are generally accepted - but it is the fact they have included the standing stones that might blow a fuse. In the same context the post holes in the former car park at Stonehenge may have to be taken seriously as they can be shown to be aligned to the sun - yet they go back over 8000 years ago, deep into the Mesolithic period (pre-farming) which completely undermines the notion that people were interested in the two orbs in the sky solely for agricultural and seasonal reasons. This is the ludicrous mainstream explanation for such alignments - and recognizing that hunter gatherers laid out and erected some big pieces of timber in order to calculate time and seasons prior to the arrival of more sophisticated early farming communities would knock their position for six. Expect some reference to leaning stones and re-erected stones (inches out of alignment) and so forth. Some of these point arise in comments at https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/robin-heath-stonehenge-the-ma... ... which is quite good and is based on one of Robin Heath's books. However, I can remember passing a copy of Heath's 'The Measure of Albion' to Peter Warlow to get his opinion but he came back somewhat later unimpressed. The idea the ancients used a sophisticated measuring system is not included in the research (which is really the bit about Thom mainstream found unacceptable as it implied a level of sophistication 5000 years ago they were not prepared to accept).

Robin Heath is not everyone's cup of tea and the fact that he appeals mainly to the New Age and Ley Line people does not help. However, if you have an audience willing to take notice of your ideas you are hardly likely to dismiss them as unimportant - as you write books to earn a living as well as satisfying the curiosity that provided the ideas in the first place. If mainstream simply sits on its hands and refuses to discuss ancient metrology you have a problem. I have read several of his books and recommend 'Alexander Thom: Cracking the Stonehenge Code' as it illustrates the fact Heath obtained his ideas of metrology from the Thoms (Alexander and his son, Archie) and has tried to develop them from there. As he was a lecturer at a college in London for most of his working life he can hardly be described as typically fringe material. I suspect his work might become popular when he has given up the ghost - which is a pity. It's a difficult subject and one that can quickly get you into the sand pit and digging furiously.

Finally, one of the comments has provided a link to an interview with Alexander Thom in person - go to www.bbc.co.uk/archive/chronicle/8604.shtml ... and he adds, it shows up just how ignorant of the subject archaeologists at the time were, or are. That is of course because they are encouraged not to read anything on the subject. They would rather think in terms of Stonehenge as a place people went for healing, or the stones played a funeral role of some kind, and various other ideas that carefully skirt around the obvious, the astronomical alignments.