John Edwin Wood
The Antikythera Mechanism is one of the most remarkable artefacts ever discovered. It was found by sponge divers off the coast of the Aegean island of Antikythera just over a century ago. The device consists of four fragments with a total of 30 bronze gears.
Very little intensive investigation was done until the early 1950s when Derek J. de Solla Price (1922-1983) a professor at Yale University undertook a study of the Mechanism. His conclusions were published in several papers including Gears from the Greeks, now available as a pdf file(r).
It was originally dated to the 1st century BC and had been ascribed by some to the Greek astronomer Hipparchos, but recent research by Professor Alexander Jones of New York’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World has pushed this back to the 2nd century BC(b). Jones dismissed as ‘desperate’ a suggestion by Dr Jo Marchant, that the mechanism had been part of a timepiece that possibly controlled the sequential appearance of figures to indicate seasons. Marchant is the author of Decoding the Heavens: Solving the Mystery of the World’s First Computer.
A report(n) published in November 2014 revised further the date of the Mechanism’s creation back to 205 BC. Further research by the American historian James Evans led him to offer the claim that the mathematics on which this machine is based (more precisely the arithmetic) does not correspond to the Greek, but does to the Babylonian(ai). The level of ancient Greek celestial knowledge is also being reappraised in the light of a recent study of a decorated cup of a type known as a skyphos(o).
The superiority of Babylonian mathematics was supported by a recent study of a 3,700-year-old tablet known as Plimpton 322. The tablet was discovered around a century ago by Edgar J.Banks in what is now southern Iraq. Australian scientists from the University of New South Wales, Sydney have now demonstrated that the tablet is the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, predating the Greek astronomer Hipparchos by over a millennium(z).
The Mechanism is a clockwork device for calculating astronomical events. A number of models have been built(c), based on the evidence of the fragments discovered and further study is continuing. Even Lego was used by designer Andrew Carol to build a replica of the mechanism(e)(d). Furthermore, in November 2011 Hublot, the Swiss watch manufacturer, revealed(h) that they had designed a wristwatch based on the Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2008, it was announced that writing engraved on the housing indicated the locations of athletic games; “The Games dial shows six competitions, four Panhellenic (Olympics, Pythian, Isthmian, and Nemean) plus Naa (Dodona) and very probably Halieia (Rhodes)(w).“
At the same time, a possible connection with the renowned Archimedes was posited by some commentators(f). An even more remarkable feature was the clever use of two gears, one positioned slightly off-centre in relation to the other, allowing the mechanism to track the apparent speeding up and slowing down of the moon each month, resulting from its elliptical rather than circular orbit(g).
The question that has now arisen is whether “It is possible that the mechanism is based on heliocentric principles, rather than the then-dominant geocentric view espoused by Aristotle and others.”(ab)
Dr Minas Tsikritsis, a Cretan researcher, maintains that an object from the Minoan Age discovered
in 1898 in the Paleokastro site on Crete, was in fact “a cast for building a mechanism that functioned as an analog computer to calculate solar and lunar eclipses.”(i) This was nearly a millennium and a half before the Antikythera Mechanism was manufactured, which would make it Minoan.
Some commentators, such as David Hatcher Childress, see the Antikythera device as just another piece of evidence of more complex scientific knowledge among early cultures than is usually accepted and that by extension the possibility of a technologically advanced Atlantis.
In his 2014 book, The Stonhenge Codes, Professor David P.Gregg, has devoted an appendix to the sophistication of the mechanism, in which he discusses the functions of individual shafts and gears. His objective is to show that its complexity is comparable to that of Stonehenge and that our view of early Greek mathematics and astronomy requires revision. His book can be read online(j).
A January 2019 article elaborates further on the Mechanism’s function as a predictor of possible eclipses(ae). It may be worth recalling that in the 1960s, Gerald Hawkins suggested that the 56 Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge were also used as eclipse predictors +, an idea endorsed by Fred Hoyle +. John Edwin Wood in Sun, Moon & Standing Stones [1951.76] preferred Hoyle’s method over Hawkin’s. A 1999 paper has proposed a simpler method than those put forward by either Hawkins or Hoyle(ap). This matter is still the subject of debate(af).
More recently (Feb.2020), Alexander Jones, has offered a highly technical investigation((ag) of the possible date for the construction of the Mechanism and concluded that “while the dating of the eclipse series inscribed on the Mechanism’s Saros Dial taken by itself may suggest a dating of the Mechanism’s construction somewhere within the 76 years after 205/204 BCE, other considerations such as the archaeological context in which it was found, together with what is otherwise known of the development of Greek astronomy in the Hellenistic period, may outweigh this preference and favor a later date.”
Opus Gemini, a trilogy of novels by Andreas Möhn, based on the Antikythera Mechanism was published in the Kindle format in September 2013 and is also available in other formats. Further information and updates are available on his website(m).
The following website(a), will keep you up to date on related developments.
New Scientist announced on June 4th, 2014(k) that plans have been made to dive again to the Antikythera wreck in the hope of finding a second ‘mechanism’, using a ‘wearable submarine’. The Sept/Oct season of 2014 ended with evidence that the ship had been up to 50 metres long, making it the largest ancient shipwreck ever discovered(l).
The February 2015 edition of Smithsonian Magazine gives an up-to-date review of the scientific studies of the Mechanism(p). In June 2016 the Smithsonian returned to the subject with an article(u) devoted to the extensive writing, some less than a millimetre tall, revealed by CT scans on virtually every surface. This recent study indicates that the Mechanism also appears to have an astrological purpose! These investigations also pointed to the Aegean island of Rhodes as its place of manufacture.
In August 2016, further dives confirmed that “the ancient cargo in Antikythera, still full of goods, is located at a depth of around 60 metres, making the work of divers particularly difficult. They only have 20 minutes to explore the sea. To help them, a set of submarine drones are currently being developed for next year. They will detect metal and make real-time analyses of the data collected.”(v)
Another paper(t) in 2015 offers a more complete history of the Mechanism’s discovery and subsequent studies.
In 2017, further objects were recovered from the wreck, including parts of a metal statue, as well as compacted metal objects that have yet to be cleaned and separated. It seems that the site has not yielded all its secrets yet(aa). There are indications that there may be as many as nine statues still to be recovered, which are under huge boulders that overlie the metal objects and may have tumbled onto the wreck during a massive earthquake that shook Antikythera and surrounding islands in the 4th century AD.
A physically smaller but important discovery was that of the part of a gearwheel in Olbia, Sardinia in 2006. Giovanni Pastore, an Italian mechanical engineer, has studied the object and written an article(s) on it for the Ancient Origins website, where he informs us that it is “dated between the mid-2nd century and the end of the 3rd century BC, has revealed a very important surprise: the teeth have a special curving which makes them extraordinarily similar to the mathematically perfect profile used in modern gears. Moreover, the unusual composition of the alloy (brass) was completely unexpected.”
Further important technical information about the Olbia gearwheel is available on the Italian larazzodeltempo.it website(ak). Pastore explained, “that those who made the Wheel of Olbia had very advanced knowledge, from mathematics to astronomy, so the manufacturer of the gear wheel of Olbia has anticipated the knowledge of almost 2000 years.” He concluded that the gearwheel indicates that there was “a slow decay of scientific thought that lasted over time until the modern era.”
Inevitably, the suggestion has been made that first-century BC Greeks could not have created the Mechanism without alien assistance as the following quote shows; “While many experts try to offer explanations for how this device could have been conceived, designed and built, all their concepts fail the tests of logic. There is only one possible explanation. Beings with advanced knowledge of astronomical bodies, mathematics and precision engineering tools created the device or gave the knowledge for its creation to someone during the first century B.C. But the knowledge was not recorded or wasn’t passed down to anyone else.“(x) It is also humorously ‘suggested’ that the early Greeks had laptops!! (q)
For the technically minded, a clockmaker, known just as ‘Chris’, has an extensive website(y) where he has a number of videos illustrating how he has reconstructed copies of individual components of the Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2018, Charles River Editors have produced a fascinating volume  that offers a valuable history of the Mechanism and the various efforts to determine its origin and purpose.
A few days ago (17.11.18) it was announced that a missing piece of the Mechanism had been found near the site of the original finds(ac). However, Smithsonian Magazine swiftly adopted a more cautious approach(ad), claiming that it was probably not a piece of the Mechanism! Watch this space.
In March 2021, further investigation revealed that the Mechanism also included “a complex planetarium on the ancient device’s face”, “that matches all the data and culminates in an elegant display of the ancient Greek Cosmos”, “showing the motion of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn—each represented by a small gem—along with the path of the Sun, the phases of the Moon, and the positions of the Zodiac constellations.”(ah)
The January 2022 edition of Scientific American has an article by Tony Freeth, in which he reviews the discovery and the gradual realisation of the purpose of the Mechanism, concluding with the following paragraph – “with the Antikythera mechanism, we are clearly not at the end of our story. We believe our work is a significant advance, but there are still mysteries to be solved. The UCL Antikythera Research Team is not certain that our reconstruction is entirely correct because of the huge loss of evidence. It is very hard to match all of the surviving information. Regardless, we can now see more clearly than ever what a towering achievement this object represents.” (al)
In April 2022, an article in Live Science reported that “The mysterious Antikythera mechanism, thought by some to be the world’s first computer, was first ‘started up’ on Dec. 22, 178 B.C., archaeologists have now found.” (am)
Work continues at the underwater site as part of a five-year project, coordinated by the University of Geneva. “Since the ship was transporting the highest quality of luxury goods, there is a very real possibility of unimaginable finds, similar in importance to the Mechanism.”(an) In June 2022 the discovery of a marble head of Hercules was announced(ao).
(e) See: Archive 3800
(j) https://www.scribd.com/document/318813275/The-Stonehenge-Codes-pdf (link broken) *
(x) See: Archive 3352
(z) Historia Mathematica, August 2017.
Stonehenge is part of what is now arguably the most extensive and complex megalithic site in Europe. It was actually purchased in 1915 for a sum equivalent today (2020) to £680,000 by Cecil Chubb, a barrister, who later gave it to the nation(aa).
Professor Howard Goldbaum’s excellent website on Irish megaliths recounts that “According to legend the monument was once situated in Co. Kildare, southwest of Dublin. As explained by Geoffrey of Monmouth (c. 1100 – c. 1155), Merlin the magician moved Stonehenge from Ireland to England to serve as a memorial for the hundreds of Britons treacherously slain by the Saxons during a truce meeting on Salisbury Plain. In this story, which Geoffrey claimed was based on an older work he had found, King Ambrosium Aurelianus (uncle of King Arthur) wanted to build a memorial for his dead warriors which would last forever, but his builders could think of no way of doing it. Merlin provided the solution: go to Ireland and bring back the one that’s there.”(bw)>One explanation for this comment may stem from the fact that in ancient times parts of Wales were controlled by the Irish!<
>National Geographic (August 2022) relates that historian Henry of Huntingdon, writing around 1130 – offers the first known reference to Stonehenge in print (sic), declaring it to be one of the wonders of England(cj).<
Two depictions of Stonehenge exist which go back as far as medieval times, with a third recently added by Professor Christian Heck(ai). Sometimes claimed to have been known in medieval times as Chorea Giganticum. Little serious study of the monument was undertaken until the 17th-century antiquarians, and predecessors of archaeologists took an interest.
“In the 17th century, archaeologist John Aubrey made the claim that Stonehenge was the work of the Celtic high priests known as the Druids, a theory widely popularised by the antiquarian William Stukeley , who had unearthed primitive graves at the site” (Wikipedia)(ci).
>More recently, in the 19th century, H. S. Warleigh, Vicar of Ashchurch in England, was convinced that the biblical Nephilim had been responsible for the building of the Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge among other ancient structures. Jason Colavito located this reference(ck).<
What is not generally known is that the monument has been subjected to numerous ‘restorations’ over the past hundred years and what we see today is actually a 20th-century vision of the original site. One website(au) shows a large series of images recording some of these renovations. There is evidence that at least one stone was re-erected a metre and a half from its original position.
Photos from 1867 show parts of Stonehenge, before later ‘restorations’ altered their earlier positions(ax), originally released by the UK’s Ordnance Survey(ay). In the course of the 1958 restoration, Robert Phillips had to remove a cylindrical core from Stone 58, which he kept. 60 years later the core was returned enabling geochemical tests to be carried out(cb). This was most fortunate as Stonehenge’s protected status would not permit a core to be removed today.
New technology has now revealed the existence of another henge less than a kilometre from Stonehenge (BBC Focus October 2010). We were next presented with evidence that an early form of ball bearings may have been used to move the large stones of which the monument was constructed(d). Other recent discoveries in the vicinity include the 3,550-year-old skeleton of a teenage boy buried with a rare amber necklace – a clear indication of status. Furthermore, a dental analysis revealed that he had come from the Mediterranean region.
In 2019, the UK’s Independent newspaper published a report, which claimed that “The ancestors of the Britons who built Stonehenge were farmers who had travelled from an area near modern Turkey, arriving around 4000 BC, and who rapidly replaced local hunter-gatherer populations, according to new research.”(bo)>This DNA evidence is referenced in a recent National Geographic article(cj).<
Stonehenge is not the only site to have its area of interest expanded in recent years. The 2018 drought in Ireland and the UK had produced evidence of a previously unknown henge situated not too far from Newgrange, Ireland’s best-known megalithic site(az). This new location has been dubbed ‘dronehenge’. Anthony Murphy, one of its discoverers, has written about the story of its discovery.
Similar sites have been revealed throughout these islands as a result of the current (July 2018) dry period.
October 2015 gave us a report(ad) that a semi-permanent structure was discovered about a mile east of Stonehenge and dated to be 1,300 years earlier than the more famous megalithic edifice.
The two big questions relating to Stonehenge are its exact purpose and the method of construction.
Allied to that is the question of how the ‘bluestones’ were transported from Wales. Was it by humans or glaciers(aj). However, an early theory proposed that the ‘bluestones’ were deposited by glaciers much closer to the Stonehenge site. This idea was quickly debunked but has once again surfaced in a new book  by Brian John(bt).
What may have been a much earlier precursor to Stonehenge’s calendrical features, tentatively dated as 10,000 years old, has been identified in Scotland’s Aberdeenshire(f). This is now arguably the world’s oldest lunar calendar, although an incised stone found in southern Italy has now been put forward(bg) with a similar claim. I doubt that the Guinness Book of Records will be adjudicating on this one.
We were next presented with evidence that an early form of ball-bearing may have been used to move the large stones of which the monument was constructed(d). Stone balls, some intricately carved, were also discovered near megalithic monuments in Scotland, while in Malta, stone balls have been found in the vicinity of the ancient temples there – some still in situ under the stones.
Keith Critchlow in his fully illustrated Time Stands Still  claims that the carved stones found in Scotland display knowledge of Platonic solids a thousand years before Plato!
Michael Poynder has noted that plain balls were also found at the Loughcrew site in Ireland . Even more intriguing, is that a similarly carved stone ball was discovered at Tiwanaku in Bolivia, which Hugh Newman has drawn attention to in a YouTube video(bi)!
In 2004, Gordon Pipes put forward a radical new ‘stone-rowing’ method of construction(ac), which requires minimal manpower and equipment. In 2009, Pipes expanded on this idea in book form .
Some years later Steven Tasker put forward an alternative transportation theory that he claims could have been used to move the Stonehenge monoliths from Wales and goes as far as to suggest that the ancient Egyptians may have used a similar method to move the blocks for the pyramids(cc).
The Ancient-Wisdom.com website has an interesting item regarding the use of balls and tracks in 1770 to shift very heavy weights, noting that “The largest stone ever (recently) recorded to have been moved purely by human power alone is the famous ‘Thunder Stone’ from Russia, which was moved to St. Petersburg from the Gulf of Finland. It was rolled along on small balls placed on a track (Only 100m in length) at a rate of 150m per day.”(ba)(bb).
In 2019, archaeologists at Newcastle University put forward the idea that lard (pig fat) had been used to grease the sledges that were used to transport the huge stones(bh). “Fat residues on shards of pottery found at Durrington Walls, near Stonehenge, have long been assumed to be connected with feeding the many hundreds of people that came from across Britain to help construct the ancient monument. But a new analysis by archaeologists at Newcastle University in the UK suggests that because the fragments came from dishes that would have been the size and shape of buckets, not cooking or serving dishes, they could have been used for the collection and storage of tallow – a form of animal fat.“
More discoveries are expected as investigations continue. In 2014, it was announced that although most attention is focused on the rising sun at the summer solstice, it is now thought that Stonehenge was more likely to have been concerned with the midwinter setting sun(m). This opinion has been voiced by many, including archaeologist Anthony Johnson in his Solving Stonehenge [1794.253].
Another form of solar association was put forward some years ago by John Ivimy (1911- ) in his first book The Sphinx and the Megaliths , in which he proposed “that Stonehenge was in fact an Egyptian colony, established for political reasons by the priests of the sun god Ra.”
It is worth mentioning that as early as 1906, Norman Lockyer (1836-1920), a respected scientist and amateur astronomer raised the possibility that Stonehenge had astronomical significance(bq). Wikipedia noted that “Lockyer is among the pioneers of archaeoastronomy. Travelling in 1890 in Greece he noticed the east-west orientation of many temples, in Egypt he found orientation of temples to sunrise at midsummer and towards Sirius. Assuming the orientation of the Heel-Stone of Stonehenge to sunrise at midsummer he calculated the construction of the monument to have taken place in 1680 BC. Radiocarbon dating in 1952 gave a date of 1800 BC.”
In the 1960s, it was Gerald Hawkins who set a cat among the pigeons with the publication of his Stonehenge Decoded +. in which he proposed that the monument was in fact used as an astronomical computer. Many of the leading astronomers and archaeologists of the day offered apoplectic responses. Hawkins went as far as to suggest that the 56 Aubrey Holes at Stonehenge functioned as eclipse predictors, an idea endorsed by Fred Hoyle . How this can be achieved is outlined on the internet(by).>John Edwin Wood in Sun, Moon & Standing Stones [1951.76] preferred Hoyle’s method over Hawkin’s. A 1999 paper has proposed a simpler method than those put forward by either Hawkins or Hoyle(ap).<
I am reminded that one of the suggested functions of the Antikythera Mechanism was predicting eclipses(bz).
Another theory has recently been advanced by Thomas O. Mills which suggests that Stonehenge was aligned with the position of the North Pole as it was situated around 10,000 BC, as proposed earlier by Charles Hapgood.(u)
Paul D. Burley has published a two-part paper(q)(r) on Stonehenge, which draws attention to the fact that most commentators have focused on the solar or lunar significance of the site’s alignments which he feels is in stark contrast to other European megalithic monuments that would appear to have been designed with stellar alignments in mind. Burley is the author of Stonehenge: As Above, So Below.
In 1995 Duncan Steel suggested in his book, Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets , that Stonehenge I had been constructed as a predictor of the Earth’s intersection with the path of a comet and its attendant debris, which had a 19-year periodicity(x).
Graham Philips in his most recent (2019) offering, Wisdomkeepers of Stonehenge  has a different approach to understanding Stonehenge, as explained by the cover notes “Graham argues that, with stones aligned to the sun, stars, and positions of the moon, stone circles were not just astronomical calendars, as some scholars have proposed, but were part of an elaborate system to determine precise timings necessary for the cultivation of medicinal plants. The Druids, he reveals, had medical knowledge well beyond their time, and may even have found a cure for cancer. Graham also discovers that the Megalithic people developed phenomenal memory techniques, resulting in a priesthood that became both the guardians of the stone circles and the living libraries of inherited knowledge. Wisdom keepers of Stonehenge uncover the long-forgotten secrets of the Megalithic people and the true extent of their astonishing achievements: a vast network of monuments, as important to the ancient peoples of the British Isles as the internet is for us today. The true purpose of Stonehenge is ultimately revealed. It was not just a religious monument, but served a vital, practical function – as a prehistoric healthcare facility.”
It was a pleasant change when in March 2022 Professor Timothy Darvill of Bournemouth University offered the results of a new analysis of Stonehenge’s intended function, which is much simpler and arguably more credible than some of the suggestions noted above. Darvill claims that the site was a calendar based on a tropical year of 365.25 days. “The proposed calendar works in a very straightforward way. Each of the 30 stones in the sarsen circle represents a day within a month, itself divided into three weeks each of 10 days,” said Professor Darvill, noting that distinctive stones in the circle mark the start of each week.(ce)
Stonehenge, among other megalithic structures, has been linked by various writers with Plato’s Atlantis. One extreme example of this, from John Nichols, is the suggestion that if the number of Aubrey Holes, 56, is multiplied by the diameter of the Aubrey Circle we get 16,200 feet which is “the exact diameter of Plato’s Atlantis”.(bv) Now, a ten-minute search on the Internet reveals FIVE different figures for the diameter of the Circle, ranging from 271.6’ to 288’. Combining that with the uncertainty attached to the value of the unit of measurement employed by Plato, it is clear that any claim of a connection between the Aubrey Holes and Atlantis is at best tenuous and at worst foolish.
Jürgen Spanuth suggested that the five trilithons “most probably represented five sets of twins.” [0015.85], an idea echoed later by Dieter Braasch(as). Spanuth was adamant that a commonly held view linking Stonehenge with Hyperborea was incorrect as Hyperboreans had come from Jutland.
Two Swedish researchers, Nils-Axel Mörner & Bob G. Lind have proposed(bm) that the Ales Stones in Sweden were built with the same basic geometry and using the megalithic yard as a standard of measure as Stonehenge.
>Harry Sivertsen has written a paper about the metrology of Stonehenge with the ingenious title of ‘The Metrology of Stonehenge’. In it he pulls together data from Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, Welsh churches and, of course, Stonehenge(cm).<
The late Philip Coppens echoed(b) the views of a fellow Belgian, Marcel Mestdagh, that there might be a connection between monuments within the Stonehenge Heritage Site and Atlantis, namely Woodhenge, which comprised of posts arranged in six concentric circles. The suggestion is that this arrangement is in some manner a reflection of the concentric features in Atlantis described by Plato. I can only consider this to be highly speculative, somewhat akin to the suggestion(c) that Stonehenge I was an earthquake predictor.
In March 2015, the UK’s MailOnline published an article(ch) concerning some sites with unexplained concentric circles in China’s Gobi Desert. The article notes some superficial similarities with Stonehenge. Paolo Marini . also claimed that the concentric circles of Atlantis are reflected in the layout of Stonehenge! In 2011, Shoji Yoshinori suggested that Stonehenge was a 1/24thscale model of Atlantis(cg). He includes a fascinating image in the pdf.
For those interested, a recently reconstructed German counterpart of Woodhenge has the original dated to 2300 BC(aq). A Portuguese ‘woodhenge’ was reported in 2020(bk), which is thought to be the work of the Bell Beaker people (3500 – 2000 BC).
However, in the meanwhile we will have to be content with a recent book by Professor Mike Parker-Pearson, Stonehenge: Exploring the Greatest Stone Age Mystery , which includes all the discoveries revealed by the recent ten years of investigation.
A 2014 offering from Professor David P. Gregg, The Stonehenge Codes , throws further light on the mathematics used for the building and development of Stonehenge over a 1500-year period was consistently the same polygon geometry. Gregg has also identified an earlier Babylonian influence. His book has considerable numerical content that many will find heavy going. Some of the text of the book is available online(j). The July 2014 edition of the BBC Focus magazine offers evidence that the history of the Stonehenge location can be traced to nearer the end of the Ice Age.
It has been generally accepted for many years that the bluestones (spotted dolerites) at Stonehenge had been brought from the Preseli Mountains of Wales. Now (Nov.2013) evidence has been presented that identifies the precise outcrop, Carn Goedog, as their source(h).
However, in November 2015, a report threw doubt on the existence of a Neolithic quarry in the Preseli Hills(ag). Confusingly, the following month it was reported(ah) that studies carried out in Wales suggested that the stones had been erected there first before their transportation to Wiltshire. In May 2016 the controversial matter of the method of transportation from Wales was claimed to have been resolved when it was demonstrated by students from University College London, supervised by Parker-Pearson that the bluestones could have been mounted on a sycamore sleigh and dragged along timbers requiring far less effort than was previously expected.(ao) Parker-Pearson believes that originally the stones had been part of a Welsh tomb that was dismantled and brought to Wiltshire as the successors migrated westward(ap). There is now a search underway to locate the site of the original monument in Wales.
In 2004, Jennifer Viegas from Discovery News (June 14) suggested that Stonehenge had been built by Welshmen based on remains found in builders’ graves found close to Stonehenge(bx).
A further twist to the Welsh connection was proposed in a 2021 paper(bs), again in Antiquity, when a team of archaeologists proposed that the Stonehenge bluestones may have been taken from one or more pre-existing stone circles. One candidate is to be found at the remains of the dismantled Waun Mawn circle in the Preseli Hills(be). A few years ago Robin Heath published Proto Stonehenge in Wales  which expanded on the Welsh connection.
Parker-Pearson published a paper in the February 2019 edition of Antiquity in which he reports on his research at the Welsh site, where he found some of the tools used to extract the pillars and determined the method of transportation(bc).
The transportation question received new attention with a study that suggested that “to move these stones such long distances, the builders likely manoeuvred them onto timber sledges and rolled these over logs,” using pig fat as a lubricant to minimise the friction between the sled and the logs. It is suggested that ceramic vessels, with high concentrations of pig fat, found on-site at Durrington Walls, may have been used to collect fat from the carcasses as they were roasted on a spit, which was then stored as lard or tallow! (bf) My question is, how many pigs are needed to grease a path for a stone from Wales to Stonehenge?
Further investigation has produced the claim by Paul Devereux that the rock there was chosen because of its acoustic qualities(I), raising the possibility that Stonehenge was the site of the first ‘rock’ concert. A more wide-ranging essay on the subject of archaeoacoustics is available online(ak). Robert Hensey notes [1766.40] that acoustic experiments have been carried out inside Newgrange and Cairns I & L at Loughcrew, while in the Orkneys, Aaron Watson and David Keating have investigated sound effects at two passage tombs.
According to Trevor Cox, professor of acoustic engineering at England’s Salford University, the neolithic temple (of Stonehenge) had unique properties capable of significantly altering and amplifying speech and musical sounds(cf).
After centuries of being described as one of the wonders of the megalithic world, the construction skills of Stonehenge’s builders have been harshly criticised by Professor Ronald Hutton of Bristol University, who went as far as to describe them as ‘cowboy builders’(n).
In 2012, Gordon Freeman, a Canadian scientist, published Hidden Stonehenge  in which he offers an extensive study of a native American “medicine wheel” in Alberta and compares its astronomical alignments with that of Stonehenge, revealing ‘incredible’ similarities(bu). . His book highlights the use of sophisticated astronomical knowledge at both locations, in the very distant past suggesting cultural links millennia before Columbus!
A somewhat cruder but equally effective winter solstice alignment was recently identified in the Chilean Andes(aw).
A site in Australia discovered in the first half of the last century by Frederic Slater (President of the Australian Archaeological Society) and dubbed ‘Australia’s Stonehenge’ was bulldozed in 1940 on the orders of the Australian Government! The location, obviously, never as impressive as its namesake on Salisbury Plain, has been again identified and using drawings made over seventy years ago has enabled a computer-generated image of the site to be made(t). A father and son team, Steven & Evan Strong have recently relocated to the damaged site(af).
In the Strait of Sicily, a ‘Stonehenge’ has been identified on the small island of Lampedusa, by Diego Ratti and described on a generously illustrated website(e).>However, the application of the term to almost any megalithic monument, particularly by the media, has debased its value.<
In May 2013, Melville Nicholls published a Kindle ebook, Children of the Sea God, in which he argues strongly for a Stonehenge built by Atlanteans, better known as the Bell Beaker People!
Robert John Langdon has now proposed(g) that Stonehenge was constructed by megalith builders, around 8500 BC, who had migrated from Doggerland/Atlantis as it became submerged and that the Altar Stone at Stonehenge points to Doggerland! Langdon is highly critical of the generally accepted interpretation of various features found at Stonehenge, listing13 items that he claims “don’t make sense”(bp).
Shoji Yoshinori has suggested that Stonehenge was intended as a model of Atlantis(k), as had also the late Philip Coppens(b).
It is quite obvious that more convincing evidence is required if any claim of a Stonehenge/Atlantis connection is to gain greater traction. In 2018, David L. Hildebrandt published Atlantis – The Awakening , in which he has endeavoured to do just that with a mass of material that he claims supports the idea of Atlantis in Britain and Stonehenge as the remnants of the Temple of Poseidon. He suggests that the five trilithons represent the five sets of male twins, an idea voiced by Jürgen Spanuth and more recently by Dieter Braasch. Even earlier George H. Cooper proposed Stonehenge as the Pillars of Herakles. I am not convinced by the spirited defence of his hypothesis, as I consider his date too early and the location too far from Athens or Egypt to consider them to be within ‘easy striking distance’ for the purpose of invasion.
Jürgen Spanuth claimed that “Among the racecourses of the Bronze Age still in existence today must be counted the stone circle of Stonehenge which must have been erected by men of the Atlantean culture many centuries before the Atlantis report was written. The racecourse at Stonehenge, in its original, immense dimensions, cannot be an imitation of a Greek stadium.” [017.126]
As recent as the summer of 2014 evidence was accidentally discovered(o) that suggested that the Stonehenge megalithic stones form a complete circle. Commenting on the discovery Susan Greaney from English Heritage said “A lot of people assume we’ve excavated the entire site and everything we’re ever going to know about the monument is known, but actually there’s quite a lot we still don’t know and there’s quite a lot that can be discovered just through non-excavation methods.” An extensive digital mapping project carried out at Stonehenge by researchers from the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Vienna has revealed, “that the area around Stonehenge is teeming with previously unseen archaeology and that the application of new technology can transform how archaeologists and the wider public understand one of the best-studied landscapes on Earth.”(p)
December 2014 saw an encampment site just 1.5 miles from Stonehenge has its date confirmed at around 4000 BC(s).
Marden Henge, situated between Stonehenge and Avebury is reckoned to be ten times bigger than Stonehenge and has now (2015) seen the start of a three-year, £1,00,000, dig by 80 archaeologists hoping to unlock its secrets(a). Dr Jim Leary, a leading archaeologist working at the site is convinced that Marden may turn out to be more significant than Stonehenge(w).
Earlier in 2015 Tim Daw, a steward at the Stonehenge site claimed that he had discovered a previously unknown alignment, involving a line of stones at 80 degrees to the axis of the monument. His theory is that the tallest stone at Stonehenge points towards the midsummer sunset and has been observed to be correct(v).
Some years ago a University of Manchester team led by Professor Julian Thomas explained that “The Stonehenge Cursus is a 100-metre wide mile-long area which runs about 500 metres north of Stonehenge.” which we have now “dated at about 3,500 years BC – 500 years older than the circle itself.”(ca)
The archaeological importance of Stonehenge was boosted further in September 2015 with the announcement that a line of nearly 100 buried stones had been discovered just a mile away, beside the Durrington Walls ‘superhenge’(y). There are images available, including a short video clip relating to this new discovery(z). Subsequent excavations revealed no stones, but 90 holes that had held wooden posts.(bn)
In June 2020, the significance of Durrington was greatly enhanced by the revelation that adjacent to the ‘Walls’ is a series of shafts five metres deep and ten metres in diameter. The shafts are arranged in a circle having a diameter of 1.2 miles. The site is 1.9 miles northeast of Stonehenge(bj). Further comment was published in November 2021(cd).
In November 2015, the New York Times published an updated overview(ae) of the various excavations that have taken place in the vicinity of Stonehenge.
Sarah Ewbank has now offered us a fascinating new theory regarding the original purpose and plan of Stonehenge. In a fully illustrated website(al) she reveals that the structure was conceived as “a ‘Cathedral-like’ building with a massive oak-framed roof, and a huge hall at its centre.”
Further discoveries are listed on the Heritage England website(ab). What is not listed there is the information that Stonehenge was constructed by giants on the instruction of the Devil! This b.s. tidbit was imparted to us in April 2016 by Dr Dennis Lindsay on the TV show of disgraced US evangelist Jim Bakker(am). Another blog from Jason Colavito exposed further Stonehenge nonsense, this time from New Zealander, Ted Harper, who has recently claimed that the Wiltshire monument together with the Great Pyramid, both warn of a meteor strike in 2020.
Theories relating to Stonehenge and Atlantis seem to proliferate at comparable rates. In a new book, The Memory Code , by Lynne Kelly, she proposes that the Wiltshire monument is a giant mnemonic(ar) and that other megalithic sites also were.
July 2017, saw a BBC review of the recent acceptance of Stonehenge as just a part of a huge complex of monuments, with a hint of more to come(at).
In June 2019, Dr Christophe Snoeck, a Belgian archaeological scientist offered evidence for the origins of some of the cremated human remains discovered at Stonehenge. “During his doctoral research, he developed a method to extract information about the geographical origin of cremated individuals.“ This method, he says, “was applied to 25 cremated individuals from Stonehenge and our results show that 40% (10 out of 25 analysed individuals) did not live near Stonehenge in the last decade or so prior to their deaths but came from further away. Some might actually have originated from west Wales where the bluestones came from, some 250 km away,” he adds. “This shows the importance of the site in the British landscape during the Neolithic period.” (bd) Italian scientists have also been working on new ways of gleaning information from cremated remains(be).
In 2020, it was announced that acoustic engineers from the University of Salford had demonstrated that Stonehenge had acoustic qualities that allowed “any sounds produced inside the temple would have been much less audible to anybody outside the circle, despite the monument almost certainly not having a roof.
The findings, therefore, suggest that any sounds generated by activities carried out inside the circle were not intended to be shared with the wider community. This reinforces theories suggesting that the potential religious activities conducted inside Stonehenge were reserved for an elite of practitioners, rather than for a wider communal congregation.”(bl)
>In May 1922 NG published its first picture of Stonehenge, now a century later it returned to this remarkable monument for its cover story in a 2022 edition(cj). It highlights how the use of new technologies has greatly enhanced our knowledge of the site and the people who built it. Jim Leary, a lecturer in field archaeology at the University of York admits that “a lot of the things we were taught as undergraduates in the 1990s we know now simply aren’t true.” This beautifully illustrated article is a useful update on developments at this huge UNESCO World Heritage Site.<
+ Available online: https://archive.org/details/stonehengedecode00gera/mode/2up
(a) Daily Express, Fri. June 19, 2015
(b) See Archive 2140
(e) See: Archive 2211 (text only)
(m) BBC Focus Magazine, July 2014, p.51
(x) See Archive 2657
(ai) See Archive 2832
(cj) National Geographic, August 2022 *