Solve This….

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Prehistoric cosmology: the story behind the design of Stonehenge

I found ‘decoding’ these 4,000 year old prehistoric objects as fascinating as Stonehenge itself. The design of the mysterious gold lozenges leads us just that little bit closer into the minds of the ancient craftsmen, but the question that follows is even more intriguing. A well-respected UK journalist asked me a few months back ‘do you think they were magic talismans?’ You know I have been so wrapped up in the archaeological process of ‘reverse engineering’ the designs that the thought never crossed my mind, a real oversight on my part. Of course readers will know that I never subscribed to the idea that they were ‘computers’ nor surveying or sighting aids, or that the angles of the lozenges were astronomical in their significance; as my teenage daughter might say ‘its jewellery, get over it’. But talismans? Well why not.

Now that we understand how they were created we might legitimately ask the question ‘was the design simply decorative or was it in some way symbolic’? And we must remember that although Stonehenge was already hundreds of years old when these objects were buried, we don’t know how long they had ‘been in circulation’ and, from the dating evidence, the enigmatic Y and Z Holes (i.e. that last known structural phase at Stonehenge) had yet to happen. So any thoughts?

The image below, a precise mirrored symmetrical design, was created almost 4,000 years ago, the work of people who had a sound understanding of geometry. It is known as the Bush Barrow Lozenge and was found under a barrow (burial mound) just south-west of Stonehenge.



Above we see the first stage in creating the master lozenge form of the Bush Barrow artifact. Every detail, even the 4 small cross hatches in the centre was worked out by the ancient craftsmen from this first hexagonal pattern using some kind of ‘compass and straight edge’. Everyone familiar with even the most basic of geometric constructions will be fascinated at the skills and precision displayed in the creation of these designs.

Oh come on folks I think you can work it out from here in…!

Above: the first stages in creating the central geometric panel

Hexagons were not their only achievement:  below is another example,
this one is based on a decagon (from a Bronze Age Barrow at Clandon in Dorset)

Too easy I guess (well it is after I have shown you how they were done!).  Notice we have hexagons and decagons, think regular and symmetrical mirrored geometry to solve these, now consider Stonehenge with its  5’s, 6’s, 10’s, and 30…. Got it?

Of course not everyone is convinced that Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people had the first idea about geometry, and set about demonstrating how the Bush barrow lozenge could be created without relying on any geometric construction. The first and fundamental error is that such attempts fail to address the basic form of the artefact, nor do they consider the smaller lozenge found in the same grave; they also conveniently overlook the Clandon Barrow Lozenge which is framed by a decagon (above). Why would an ancient craftsman attempt to measure out an accurate lozenge, when a geometric construction is so simple. Another argument denies that the craftsman had fine tools or a form of compass capable of executing such precise detail  (which is absurd for the delicate nature of the work is testimony enough), there is simply no need to ask ‘where are the tools’!

The nature of archaeological evidence allows for the existence of such knowledge; it works like this, if for example we find a bronze artefact we know it must contain a % of tin. There may be no tin in the locality, and in all probability there would not be, tin is a scarce commodity, but it’s there in the artefact. Do we need to find the mould in which it was cast, or the furnace in which the metal was smelted, no we don’t. Nor do have any doubt that the artisan’s could get the furnace up to around 1000 degrees centigrade, such things are self-evident. Was the Bush barrow Lozenge was made by a skilled craftsman using a set of long-lost tools, it’s form was based on simple geometric design, the evidence is there for anyone who cares look.

And  the  smaller  Bush Barrow lozenge.

The small Bush Barrow Lozenge

You may also like to consider how earlier Neolithic surveyors marked out an accurate circle of 56 holes*.


The trick of how they laid out the circuit of holes with a cord and peg is 5,000 years old…. but has been lost, until that is, it was re-discovered by experiment while working on the book. It is actually so simple that you will find it hard to believe that people have puzzled over the number for the best part of a century. If there is a significance to 56, and there is plenty of speculation, it is something quite separate from how it was set out, the method the prehistoric surveyors used was based on simple square and circle geometry. Further research reveals that the fifty-six sided polygon was already part of ancient folklore in the classical world; so it’s quite clear that it was possible to draw…Just one small detail – when you experiment with your compass and straight-edge remember that measuring is not allowed!

* The number of ‘Aubrey Holes’ inside the bank of the early enclosure; probably holes in which posts were originally set, they date from shortly after 3,000 BC.

Neolithic surveyors experimented with what happens when you intersect concentric circles……


laid out using a peg and cord, and not only at Stonehenge.

OK, I’ve had so many requests as to how the Trilithons were set out, so here’s a clue…

Below:  an example of the same type of geometry used in laying out the massive Great Trilithon at Stonehenge.  You may like to see if you can work out how the remainder of the Trilithon array was done. However note that it was only the Great Trilithon that was raised from the inside-outwards, to face the midwinter sun. All the others were raised from the outside in.  You can also see this by looking at which way they face, the flatter faces of the other stones are all turned inwards. We know from excavation of the foundation holes which way the stones were introduced. Logically as the Great Trilithon uprights had to be brought into the centre of the monument (so that they could be raised facing southwest), they had to be the first of the major central stones to have been erected.

The 30 centre inner face positions of each of the  stones of the sarsen Circle are shown below. The plan of the Trilithon lintel array indicates where they were originally set.  Each lintel was supported on a pair of uprights whose ‘centre face’ position was established from the surveyors marker pegs for the Circle, in other words the whole array, the  Circle and the Ring – has geometric and temporal integrity, it was one design.

.…………For more details  see…… ‘Solving Stonehenge’

31 Responses to “Solve This….”

  1. Actually I like geometry. It is very interesting! These wonders, like Stonehenge, attract me a lot! They guide me to the beauty of Geometry! They are all amazing!

  2. good work…
    please note that the same basic design is similar to Plato’s description of Atlantis…a center surrounded by concentric circles…

    56 Aubrey Holes … is that a confirmation?
    Here is an image of the Ka’bah in Mecca … please note it has 55 posts.

    And I was in a monastery in Peru that had many courtyards.
    But there was one courtyard that told a story. It had 27 pairs (27=pagan number) of images that appeared as though the observer was looking through a pair of binoculars.
    And over a doorway was the 55th fresco…a lintel.



  3. 56 equates an indivisible number which is the sacred number of the apparent and the hidden worlds. “Circling the Cube” is a breathing rite which is still practiced till this day in the Middle East, akin to humanity’s evolution both spiritually, and physically. Read about Hermes Trismegistus, and his Emerald Tablet for insights.

    Bless Be!

  4. Interesting as a fact, but Geometry is dull and boring unless it’s what you really like to do for a living. Fixed sciences are boring. That’s just my opinion.

  5. go to that link above and you will notice the 3×3 grid contained within the Bush Barrow Lozenge…

    the coat of arms you are viewing belongs to the very secretive clandestine MI5…who some suggest are hierarchal to the CIA.
    I can further connect that emblem to another more ancient one from Mesopotamia called … Bab-Ilu or the Gate of God.


  6. This is beautiful. In the world of energy, everything IS mathmetic, harmonics and definitely beautiful. The really relevant piece is that it can help us heal ourselves and our planet.

    Thank you for this.

    Fawn Chang

  7. Sorry but I could not see how the hexagon is related to the lozenge…

    visit my website

    Natural Geometry and Holy nouns

  8. Hi Vincent,
    I understand you might not see how the lozenge and hexagon are related. First you need to look at the horizontal lines that link the vertices top and bottom, as shown. The master shape of the lozenge is then formed by linking their midpoints to the central opposing vertices. Now put a compass point on the top of the newly formed lozenge (or bottom) and strike an arc through the centre….. explore! The full illustration of the whole sequence, shown as 24 stages, including the decorative elements are in the book. But you make a very good point, the reason why we don’t immediately understand both the prehistoric iconography, and the design of Stonehenge itself is exactly because its not immediately obvious, yet the principles are in fact very simple.

    P.S. just posted a little extra detail, see above


  9. 56/8=7

    The heptagon (7-sided polygon) was proven to not being possible to draw accurately by Euclidean geometry, by Gauss, I think. So have you found a way to do this?

    Excuse my ignorance, (I haven’t read your book yet) but is it possible that it was rather a combination of numbers, for example 8+12+36? If so, it could be a clue to more hidden geometry within the layout. For example, one can derive Pythagoras’ triangle 3-4-5 from this.


  10. Hi Torbjorn,

    Thanks for the comment. Your observations about the construction of the heptagon are quite correct. Certainly if they could lay out a regular 56-sided polygon in prehistory then de facto they could create a seven sided one. I’m an archaeologist not a mathematician, so I set about exploring an empirical method for setting out an accurate (note the word accurate i.e. not perfect) circle of 56 pits. It took a long time, but its acually quite simple and the method is explained and illustrated in the book*, I believe it was a product of prehistoric square and circle ‘experiments’. As for the precision, well mathematically there is a very very small error on my CAD model; it will of course ultimately be tested by someone with more refined mathematical skills than I. But I can be certain that the error is so small that no prehistoric surveyor would have noticed the discrepancy using pegs and ropes, and essentially it is the potential prehistoric methods that I have to consider as an archaeologist.

    Re the use of numbers, when you see the 24 stages that I use to illustrate the Lozenge geometry I would hope you would agree it was done with some kind of ‘compass and straight edge’.

    *I don’t think my publisher would appreciate me revealing the illustration here; however I will send you a sketch of the method, perhaps it may find some use in the construction of your fine-looking violins! Anyway you may like to comment on it and confirm it works. When you try the experiment please use a compass before running it on a computer, as I mentioned I am aware of the very small mathematical error, and I certainly don’t make any claims that contradict Gauss or other mathematicians.

    I believe a Stockholm based newspaper is running an article on the book this weekend?

    email with sketch sent to you

    kind regards


  11. […] The gold tablet I found is referred to as a lozenge, and it has profound esoteric connections to Stonehenge…and Stonehenge has been shown to be aligned with/to Giza Pyramids. […]

  12. *phew*

    I’ll have a look at this a bit more thoroughly.
    Bookmarking this..

  13. Richard l Dixon ‘s Infra-Red photograph of Stonehenge is possibly the best photograph of stonehenge in any book ive seen.

  14. Richards superb Infra-Red photo of Stonehenge that was used for the books endpapers can be seen on the graphics page:

  15. Up up and away we go, people tell you about the coming but it’s hard to understand so I draw
    as a indian one walks in six directions to construct to cube and at the center of perception creation emerges.

  16. […] Here is a link connecting our ancient ‘mechanical clock’, the Antikythera, (Sir Isaac Newton is doing 720 degree rotations in his grave), the two interconnected spirals and the work of another fella who is studying Stonehenge…and the Bush Barrow Lozenge. […]

  17. It doesn’t surprise me in the least that geometry was so well understood then as Africa and Mesopotamia had very significant papyrus industries. The dominant reed of this industry (Cyperus papyrus) has a large equilateral, triangular stem cross-section; so it naturally bundles to geometric forms. A Sudanese associate of mine told me that the Nile also has reeds with square sections. Geometry, algebra decimal system and place value all can be demonstrated easily when using large quantities of these materials. It was the ancient mat makers who were the developers of “mat ematics”.

  18. Hi Mike,
    It doesn’t surprise me either, but the fact that for so long contorted arguments regarding ‘alignments’ have been use to ‘explain’ the positions of the various arrays of stones does. There is no doubt that Stonehenge was designed on a prehistoric drawing board – using geometric principles and then transferred on to the ground a full size. The possible African connection is interesting, as part of the Stonehenge folklore says that it originally came from Africa. As far back as the 17th century it was suggested that it was the ‘knowledge’ and not the stones that traveled.

  19. Hi Sarsen & all.
    after revisiting this post and reading the related web pages in more detail, it occurs to me that most research we rely on regarding Stonehenge’s purpose, relates more to our own recent cultural fixation with religion. This is a criticism I would level at Egyptology especially and somewhat to archaeology generally.
    I would think that the primary purpose of building such astrologically aligned structures would be forward thinking and practical.

    Lets imagine Stonehenge is a market, designed to bring together surrounding and distant communities (maybe as far away as Africa!) at a common place and time for trade. Traders know that trading starts when the Stonehenge monument align the sun and that as solstices approach, its time to collect wares and get set up. Of course rituals and pleasantries would occur but the greatest magic is that shoppers can get whatever they want in the one time and place. In a sense it is an early version of Walmart! Any broader religious and cultural purposes would be adjuncts to the central commercial purpose. Especially the use of ritual to control the ongoing organisation.

    In deference to your previous “expert” commentator from Spinal Tap I recommend for the purpose of free thinking, we refer to the structure in future not as Stonehenge, a name which has to many preconceptions attached, but as “Duncan’s Walmart”! Similarly Egypt’s pyramids are likely to hide a not so mysterious commercial focus as a magical and precise “stock exchange ” where Mediterranean Mesopotamian and Nile traders could meet at an agreed time.

    Interestingly the structure of “Duncan’s” almost relates to early roman numerals in the sequence of outer stones (i, ii, iii, iiii, v = one to four fingers and then a symbol v for hand = 5) there is also a European Dozen on the far side. I can’t get a clear fit, I’m just showing you my line of hypothesis.

    Perhaps the fallen stones relate to v=5 (or x=10) structures). I’m just extrapolating from what I know about step pyramids and place value in decimal counting from Africa/Mesopotamia; which is clearly represented in the square gold talisman.
    cheers for your quest.

  20. I seem to remember that 56 is a number used in lunar calculations.

  21. The inability to create a heptagon within the classical Greek rules is neither here nor there.Several easy ways exist.The easiest is using half the vertical line defined by the two intersections of the two circles forming a Vesica Piscis.That length is the side of the inscribed heptagon to within 0.2%.
    Three successive bisections of each side yield the 56 sides required for the Aubrey circle.

  22. Хороший пост! Одобряю

  23. Professor Gregg,

    Thanks for the observation re constructing the heptagon, most useful. My problem also involves the archaeology of the site. At the time of construction of the Aubrey Holes it would seem that the surrounding earthwork may have been up to 2m high, limiting what methods could be used (i.e. in respect of rope and peg survey practice). However the idea that the circle on which they sit (which is quite accurate) lends itself to a dimension in respect of a theoretical Vesica Piscis presents the opportunity to explore the possibility that the prehistoric surveyors knew this fact. In other words a physical restriction could have been overcome by establishing the dimension outside of the earthwork, and transferring it onto the circuit within, an interesting thought.

  24. Nice post. Interesting comments. Beautiful images.

  25. so remind me why you only used two parallel lines running from top to bottom or north to south, but not running E to W?

    I am curious why?
    Clearly you could or should try?


  26. Hi Raphael,
    Re the parallel lines (top to bottom (Y axis)). They join opposing vertices, there are no corresponding points on the X axis, maybe you could illustrate what you mean?

  27. you can ignore my last comment, I was thinking of an octagon…

  28. the symbols would have come first, the chevron, lozenge, concentric circle; they then would have been explored geometrically and over millennia, adding numerology to the basic and Mesolithic lore of these figures I believe. But this culture was as multifaceted as their geometric patterning is intricate and their symbolism operates on multiple levels, just like good poetry does today – but this very fact often frustrates those looking for ‘the’ meaning to prehistoric symbolism, there probably won’t be a single meaning for any motif employed.

  29. Quite right, I agree the quest for a single meaning is futile.

  30. Nice article! Thanks for sharing.

  31. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about
    this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a
    few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is magnificent
    blog. An excellennt read. I will certainly be back.

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