Click the audio play button above to hear me talk about String of Ideas.

String of Ideas

Adapted from a magazine article in 1985…

By

chance

I

had,

a

couple

of

days

earlier,

spent

an

exciting

and

magical

hour,

at

dusk,

helping

to

catch

a

lively

carthorse

called

Atlantis

who

was

more

inclined

to

remain

free

in

his

five

acre

domain than be collared and return to a life of work.

On

the

following

day

I

had

been

drawn

into

a

discussion

about

how

to

construct

a

regular

pentagon

with

just

compasses

and

a

straight

edge.

(Durer’s

construction)

and

how

this

related

to

the

significant

and

sacred

Vesica

Pisces

formed

by

overlapping

two

circles.

This

led

on

to

consideration

of

the

Druids

Cord,

a

length

of

knotted

string

of

13

equal

divisions

which

can

be

used

to

set

out

on

the

ground

a

variety

of

significant

and

useful

forms

such

as

right angles, pentagrams and seven pointed stars.

.

Durer’s construction.

The Druids Cord.

Setting out a right angled triangle

The pentagram was the emblem of

the School of Pythagoras and a symbol of the Mysteries.

Radius 13 Diameter 26 Perimeter of pentagon 10x8

Setting out a Pentagram

Setting out a Heptagram

These

figures

had

always

left

me

feeling

uneasy

because

it

seemed

unnatural

to

have

a

half

unit

included.

Experimentally,

at

this point I tried multiplying this series of perimeter lengths by 8.

To

my

surprise

and

delight

out

popped

the

following

set

of

numbers.

100,

200,

300,

400,

500,

600,

700.

So

12

½

MY

=

100

M

Hands.

That

looked

like

a

more

rational

and

intentional

sequence

and

unexpectedly

showed

a

use

of

a

decimal

system.

So,

despite

the

fact

that

the

MY

seemed

to

be

divided

into

eighths

(MH)

and

thirty

two

M

Inches,

some

of

the

calculations

were

done

in

tens

and

hundreds.

It

looked

as

if

the

measuring

system

was

based

on

halving

and

rehalving

a

basic

unit

but

the

calculating

system

was different.

However

this

was

not

the

end

of

my

journey

of

discovery.

A

few

years

previously

I

had

met

Martin

Brennan

with

John

Michell

at

the

Leyhunter

Moot

in

Hereford

and

had

become

very

interested

in the work Martin had done in the Boyne Valley in Ireland.

Part

of

his

work

led

him

to

propose,

in

his

first

book

Boyne

Valley

Vision,

that

the

builders

and

carvers

of

the

beautiful

and

enigmatic

designs

on

the

stones

of

the

mounds

and

chambers

at

New

Grange,

Knowth

and

Dowth

had

used

two

short

and

interrelated measures which he called A and B.

A

measured

1.0125”

and

B

was

1.4464”.

Both

subdivisions

of

a

larger

“C”

measure

of

20.25”.

Now,

because

his

A

measure

was

quite

close

to

my

MI

or

“thumb”

of

1.02”

and

the

ratio

between

that

and

Thom’s

MI

of

.816”

was

exactly

5:4

perhaps

there

was

a

similar

relationship

between

the

ancient

Irish

measures

that

Martin had identified and the British ones.

As

I

examined

a

series

of

Pythagorean

triangles

some

interesting

figures

began

to

appear.

If

a

3,4,5

triangle

is

drawn

with

an

hypotenuse

of

one

MY

the

opposite

side

is

20.4”.

Not

far

from

Martin’s

C

and

exactly

twenty

of

my

M

Thumbs.

If

the

C

measure

was

really

20.4”

and

the

A

was

1.02

then,

by

the

root

2

calculation

that

Martin

used

B

would

be

1.4425”.

Pretty

close

to

the

value

that he proposed.

However

the

two

important

common

dimensions

remain

the

“thumb”

of

1.02”

and

the

“cubit”

of

20.4”

which

relates

through

the 3,4,5 triangle to the Megalithic Yard.

Alexander

Thom

has

also

suggested

that

a

length

of

2.5

MY,

which

he

called

the

Megalithic

Rod,

was

used

by

the

builders

of

the

stone

circles,

mounds

and

dolmens

of

the

Neolithic

and

early

Bronze age.

Two

and

a

half

MY

is

6’

9

1/2”,

a

handy

size

for

a

surveyors

rod.

It

would

look

like

the

ones

seen

in

the

hands

of

the

Long

Man

of

Wilmington

and

is

also

20

M

Hands

long.

I

can

clearly

visualize

such

a

staff

or

rod,

marked

with

hands,

subdivided

into

thumbs

being

carried

and

used

by

one

of

the

“wise”

women

or

men

four

or five thousand years ago.

However, we now have to take into account the Dalmore bone which was excavated near

Callanish stone circle on Lewis in the Hebrides by Margaret Ponting.

Reproduced from The Ley Hunter article in issue 101

by Margaret Ponting.

A

suitable

name

for

it

might

be

the

“corn”

because,

although

it

is

smaller

than

the

barleycorn

which

was

.37

of

an

Imperial

inch,

I

think

it

was

likely

that

a

corn

or

grain

of

cereal

might

have

provided

the

conceptual

basis

of

such

a

small

measurement.

I

did

toy

with

the

idea

of

giving

it

the

name

“Meg”.

That’s

short

for

Margaret and also Megalithic, take your pick.

So,

unless

some

archaeological

discoveries

are

made

in

the

future

which

reveal

artefacts

with

even

finer

subdivisions

we

seem

to

have

got

down

to

the

smallest

common

denominator

for

all

the

measurements used in the Neolithic era.

In the tables below both the MY and the corn are used as a base. They express all the lengths as

fractions and multiples of them and clearly show their interrelationships.

1 Corn = 0.204” 4 Corns = 1 M Inch 5 Corns = 1 M Thumb5 M I = 1 M Hand 4 MTh = 1 M Hand20 M I = ½ M H 20 MT = 1 M Cubit (C)40 M I = 1 M Y 8 M H = 1 M Yard2½ MY = 1 M Rod20 M H = 1 M Rod1 Corn = MY ÷ 160 1 MI = MY ÷ 40 = 4 Corns = 0.816”1 MTh = MY ÷ 32 = 5 Corns = 1.020”1 MH = MY ÷ 8 = 20 Corns 1 MCubit = MY ÷ = 100 Corns 1 MY = MY = 160 Corns 1 MR = MH x 20 = 400 Corns 1 MR = MY x 2½ = 400 Corns

Click continue to follow the String from the Meg to the Mile

Click the audio play button above to hear how to contact me…

Jon Appleton

In

May,

when

leaves

are

dressing

the

trees

in

fresh

bright

green

and

dandelions

are

scattering

gold

on

the

grass,

the

10

stars

of

Perseus

lie

in

the

north

at

midnight

as

the

star

Algol

brushes

the

horizon

beneath

them.

It

was

the

time

of

a

total

lunar

eclipse

and

I

was

camping

with

friends

in

a

field

in

the

West

Country

when

a

series

of

serendipitous

coincidences

led

me

to

some

significant

insights

into

the

units

of

measure

used

by

the

ancient

people

who

laid

out

the

megalithic

circles

of

western Europe.

In

the

afternoon

the

shadow

of

the

earth

darkened

the

face

of

the

moon.

Altair

rose

in

the

East

at

sunset,

a

companion

for

the

dusky

faced

lunar

bride.

Later,

after

the

ruddy,

eclipsed

moon

had

risen,

the

wedding

veil

was

drawn

back

and

her

bright

gaze

fell

on

the

dancers

and

the

fire

that

celebrated

the

renewal

of

the

energies

of

the

Dragon

and

the

Bull

at

Beltane…

The Druids Cord.

As

a

result

of

this

I

promised

to

make

such

a

“cord”

and

send

it

to

a

friend

who

wanted

to

be

able

to

set

out

a

pentagram

quickly

and

easily

without

complicated

measurement.

So,

a

few

days

later,

I

sat

down

to

start

knotting.

Immediately

a

decision

had

to

be

made

about

the

length

of

the

divisions

in

the

cord.

Three

inches,

six

inches

or

even

ten

of

the

very

modern

centimetres?

The

overall

size

of

the

circle

drawn

by

the

stretched

cord

would

have

to

be

a

convenient

one

for

use

on

the

ground

and

a

diameter

of

about

eight

feet

felt

right.

After

some

work

with

the

compasses

it

seemed

that

a

unit

spacing

of

knots

on

the

cord

of

three

and

¾

of

an

inch

was

needed.

Then

I

remembered

Atlantis

and

the

ancient

and

traditional

measure

of

a

“hand”

with

which

horses

are

measured.

Twice

13x4”

is

104”

or

8

feet

8

inches;

not

a

bad

diameter

for

a

circle.

The

cord,

with

the

two

bits

beyond

the

end

knots

was

4’

8”

long.

This

is

about

the

length

of

a

dressing

gown

cord

and

handy

for

tying

round

the

waist

or,

when

tied

in

a

loop,

hanging

doubled

round

the

neck

or

even

sixfold

round

the

wrist.

All

in

all

a

very

practical

object

based

around

the dimensions of the average person’s body.

The

way

of

setting

out

Megalithic

“circles”,

described

by

Alexander

Thom

in

his

important

books,

based

on

his

lifetime’s

study

and

accurate

surveys

of

hundreds

of

sites

in

Britain

and

France,

requires

the

use

of

right

angled

triangles.

I

wondered

whether

there

was

a

connection

between

my

“hand”

and

his

Megalithic

Yard.

The

MY,

he

says,

is

32.64

inches.

Four

into

that

goes

8.16,

approximately

eight.

So

I

tried

32.64

divided

by

eight.

It

equals

4.08”.

So

perhaps

there

were

8

megalithic

hands

in

a

Megalithic

Yard.

Thom

had

established

the

value

of

the

MY

by

carefully

measuring

every

megalithic

structure

he

could

get

to

and

by

plotting

all

these

measurements

on

a

graph

he

showed

that

where

certain

dimensions

clustered

on

the plot they were multiples of a particular length.

On

page

45

of

his

Megalithic

sites

in

Britain

he

draws

attention

to

the

concentration

of

“ring”

circumferences

at

12.5,

25,

37.5,

50,

62.5,75

and

87.5

MY.

All

multiples,

he

points

out

of

12.5

MY…

The Dalmore bone.

She

has

spent

a

lifetime

doing

invaluable

work

uncovering

and

recording

the

archaeology

of

this

Scottish

“Stonehenge”.

It’s

a

most

remarkable

and

visually

romantic

example

of

the

widespread

practice

of

creating

solar,

lunar

“observatories”

during the Neolithic era in these islands.

The

small

piece

of

bone

which

she

discovered

has,

inscribed

on

it,

regular

subdivisions

looking

like

part

of

a

small

ruler.

These clearly relate to the Megalithic measurement system.

The

gradations

appear

to

be

very

close

to

.204”.

This

represents

one

fourth

of

a

M

Inch

or

one

fifth

of

one

of

my

M

Thumbs,

a

repetition

of

the

same

ratio

that

appears

between

the MY and Martin’s C measure or cubit…

Jon Appleton

String of Ideas

Adapted from a magazine

article in 1985…

Click the audio play button above to hear me talk about String of Ideas.

In

May,

when

leaves

are

dressing

the

trees

in

fresh

bright

green

and

dandelions

are

scattering

gold

on

the

grass,

the

10

stars

of

Perseus

lie

in

the

north

at

midnight

as

the

star

Algol

brushes

the

horizon

beneath

them.

It

was

the

time

of

a

total

lunar

eclipse

and

I

was

camping

with

friends

in

a

field

in

the

West

Country

when

a

series

of

serendipitous

coincidences

led

me

to

some

significant

insights

into

the

units

of

measure

used

by

the

ancient

people

who

laid

out

the

megalithic

circles

of

western

Europe.

In

the

afternoon

the

shadow

of

the

earth

darkened

the

face

of

the

moon.

Altair

rose

in

the

East

at

sunset,

a

companion

for

the

dusky

faced

lunar

bride.

Later,

after

the

ruddy,

eclipsed

moon

had

risen,

the

wedding

veil

was

drawn

back

and

her

bright

gaze

fell

on

the

dancers

and

the

fire

that

celebrated

the

renewal

of

the

energies

of

the

Dragon

and

the

Bull

at

Beltane.

By

chance

I

had,

a

couple

of

days

earlier,

spent

an

exciting

and

magical

hour,

at

dusk,

helping

to

catch

a

lively

carthorse

called

Atlantis

who

was

more

inclined

to

remain

free

in

his

five

acre

domain

than

be

collared

and return to a life of work.

On

the

following

day

I

had

been

drawn

into

a

discussion

about

how

to

construct

a

regular

pentagon

with

just

compasses

and

a

straight

edge.

(Durer’s

construction)

and

how

this

related

to

the

significant

and

sacred

Vesica

Pisces

formed

by

overlapping

two

circles

This

led

on

to

consideration

of

the

Druids

Cord,

a

length

of

knotted

string

of

13

equal

divisions

which

can

be

used

to

set

out

on

the

ground

a

variety

of

significant

and

useful

forms

such

as

right

angles,

pentagrams

and

seven pointed stars.

.

Durer’s construction.

The Druids Cord.

Setting out a right angled triangle

The pentagram was the emblem of

the School of Pythagoras and a symbol of the Mysteries.

Radius 13 Diameter 26 Perimeter of pentagon 10x8

Setting out a Pentagram

Setting out a Heptagram

Alexander

Thom

has

also

suggested

that

a

length

of

2.5

MY,

which

he

called

the

Megalithic

Rod,

was

used

by

the

builders

of

the

stone

circles

mounds

and

dolmens

of

the

Neolithic

and

early

Bronze

age.

Two

and

a

half

MY

is

6’

9

1/2”,

a

handy

size

for

a

surveyors

rod.

It

would

look

like

the

ones

seen

in

the

hands

of

the

Long

Man

of

Wilmington

and

is

also

20

M

Hands

long.

I

can

clearly

visualize

such

a

staff

or

rod,

marked

with

hands,

subdivided

into

thumbs

being

carried

and

used

by

one

of

the

“wise”

women

or

men

four

or

five

thousand

years

ago

Reproduced from The Ley Hunter article in issue 101

by Margaret Ponting.

1 Corn = 0.204” 4 Corns = 1 M Inch 5 Corns = 1 M Thumb5 M I = 1 M Hand 4 MTh = 1 M Hand20 M I = ½ M H 20 MT = 1 M Cubit (C)40 M I = 1 M Y 8 M H = 1 M Yard2½ MY = 1 M Rod20 M H = 1 M Rod1 Corn = MY ÷ 160 1 MI = MY ÷ 40 = 4 Corns = 0.816”1 MTh = MY ÷ 32 = 5 Corns = 1.020”1 MH = MY ÷ 8 = 20 Corns 1 MCubit = MY ÷ = 100 Corns 1 MY = MY = 160 Corns 1 MR = MH x 20 = 400 Corns 1 MR = MY x 2½ = 400 Corns

Click continue to follow the String from the Meg to the Mile

As

a

result

of

this

I

promised

to

make

such

a

“cord”

and

send

it

to

a

friend

who

wanted

to

be

able

to

set

out

a

pentagram

quickly

and

easily

without

complicated

measurement.

So,

a

few

days

later,

I

sat

down

to

start

knotting.

Immediately

a

decision

had

to

be

made

about

the

length

of

the

divisions

in

the

cord.

Three

inches,

six

inches

or

even

ten

of

the

very

modern

centimetres?

The

overall

size

of

the

circle

drawn

by

the

stretched

cord

would

have

to

be

a

convenient

one

for

use

on

the

ground

and

a

diameter

of

about

eight

feet

felt

right.

After

some

work

with

the

compasses

it

seemed

that

a

unit

spacing

of

knots

on

the

cord

of

three

and

¾

of

an

inch

was

needed.

Then

I

remembered

Atlantis

and

the

ancient

and

traditional

measure

of

a

“hand”

with

which

horses

are

measured.

Twice

13x4”

is

104”

or

8

feet

8

inches;

not

a

bad

diameter

for

a

circle.

The

cord,

with

the

two

bits

beyond

the

end

knots

was

4’

8”

long.

This

is

about

the

length

of

a

dressing

gown

cord

and

handy

for

tying

round

the

waist

or,

when

tied

in

a

loop,

hanging

doubled

round

the

neck

or

even

sixfold

round

the

wrist.

All

in

all

a

very

practical

object

based

around

the

dimensions of the average person’s body.

The

way

of

setting

out

Megalithic

“circles”,

described

by

Alexander

Thom

in

his

important

books,

based

on

his

lifetime’s

study

and

accurate

surveys

of

hundreds

of

sites

in

Britain

and

France,

requires

the

use

of

right

angled

triangles.

I

wondered

whether

there

was

a

connection

between

my

“hand”

and

his

Megalithic

Yard.

The

MY,

he

says,

is

32.64

inches.

Four

into

that

goes

8.16,

approximately

eight.

So

I

tried

32.64

divided

by

eight.

It

equals

4.08”.

So

perhaps

there

were

8

megalithic

hands

in

a

Megalithic

Yard.

Thom

had

established

the

value

of

the

MY

by

carefully

measuring

every

megalithic

structure

he

could

get

to

and

by

plotting

all

these

measurements

on

a

graph

he

showed

that

where

certain

dimensions

clustered

on

the

plot

they

were

multiples

of

a

particular

length.

On

page

45

of

his

Megalithic

sites

in

Britain

he

draws

attention

to

the

concentration

of

“ring”

circumferences

at

12.5,

25,

37.5,

50,

62.5,75

and

87.5

MY.

All

multiples,

he

points

out

of

12.5

MY.

These

figures

had

always

left

me

feeling

uneasy

because

it

seemed

unnatural

to

have

a

half

unit

included.

Experimentally,

at

this

point

I

tried

multiplying this series of perimeter lengths by 8.

To

my

surprise

and

delight

out

popped

the

following

set

of

numbers.

100,

200,

300,

400,

500,

600,

700.

So

12

½

MY

=

100

M

Hands.

That

looked

like

a

more

rational

and

intentional

sequence

and

unexpectedly

showed

a

use

of

a

decimal

system.

So,

despite

the

fact

that

the

MY

seemed

to

be

divided

into

eighths

(MH)

and

thirty

two

M

Inches,

some

of

the

calculations

were

done

in

tens

and

hundreds.

It

looked

as

if

the

measuring

system

was

based

on

halving

and

rehalving

a

basic

unit

but

the

calculating system was different.

However

this

was

not

the

end

of

my

journey

of

discovery.

A

few

years

previously

I

had

met

Martin

Brennan

with

John

Michell

at

the

Leyhunter

Moot

in

Hereford

and

had

become

very

interested

in

the

work

Martin had done in the Boyne Valley in Ireland.

Part

of

his

work

led

him

to

propose,

in

his

first

book

Boyne

Valley

Vision,

that

the

builders

and

carvers

of

the

beautiful

and

enigmatic

designs

on

the

stones

of

the

mounds

and

chambers

at

New

Grange,

Knowth

and

Dowth

had

used

two

short

and

interrelated

measures

which he called A and B.

A

measured

1.0125”

and

B

was

1.4464”.

Both

subdivisions

of

a

larger

“C”

measure

of

20.25”.

Now,

because

his

A

measure

was

quite

close

to

my

MI

or

“thumb”

of

1.02”

and

the

ratio

between

that

and

Thom’s

MI

of

.816”

was

exactly

5:4

perhaps

there

was

a

similar

relationship

between

the

ancient

Irish

measures

that

Martin had identified and the British ones.

As

I

examined

a

series

of

Pythagorean

triangles

some

interesting

figures

began

to

appear.

If

a

3,4,5

triangle

is

drawn

with

an

hypotenuse

of

one

MY

the

opposite

side

is

20.4”.

Not

far

from

Martin’s

C

and

exactly

twenty

of

my

M

Thumbs.

If

the

C

measure

was

really

20.4”

and

the

A

was

1.02

then,

by

the

root

2

calculation

that

Martin

used

B

would

be

1.4425”.

Pretty

close

to

the

value

that

he

proposed.

However

the

two

important

common

dimensions

remain

the

“thumb”

of

1.02”

and

the

“cubit”

of

20.4”

which

relates through the 3,4,5 triangle to the Megalithic Yard.

However,

we

now

have

to

take

into

account

the

Dalmore

bone

which

was

excavated

near

Callanish

stone

circle

on

Lewis in the Hebrides by Margaret Ponting.

She

has

spent

a

lifetime

doing

invaluable

work

uncovering

and

recording

the

archaeology

of

this

Scottish

“Stonehenge”.

It’s

a

most

remarkable

and

visually

romantic

example

of

the

widespread

practice

of

creating

solar,

lunar

“observatories”

during

the

Neolithic

era in these islands.

The

small

piece

of

bone

which

she

discovered

has,

inscribed

on

it,

regular

subdivisions

looking

like

part

of

a

small

ruler.

These

clearly

relate

to

the

Megalithic

measurement system.

The

gradations

appear

to

be

very

close

to

.204”.

This

represents

one

fourth

of

a

M

Inch

or

one

fifth

of

one

of

my

M

Thumbs,

a

repetition

of

the

same

ratio

that

appears

between

the

MY

and

Martin’s

C

measure

or

cubit.

A

suitable

name

for

it

might

be

the

“corn”

because,

although

it

is

smaller

than

the

barleycorn

which

was

.37

of

an

Imperial

inch,

I

think

it

was

likely

that

a

corn

or

grain

of

cereal

might

have

provided

the

conceptual

basis

of

such

a

small

measurement.

I

did

toy

with

the

idea

of

giving

it

the

name

“Meg”.

That’s

short

for

Margaret

and

also Megalithic, take your pick.

So,

unless

some

archaeological

discoveries

are

made

in

the

future

which

reveal

artefacts

with

even

finer

subdivisions

we

seem

to

have

got

down

to

the

smallest

common

denominator

for

all

the

measurements

used

in

the Neolithic era.

In

the

tables

below

both

the

MY

and

the

corn

are

used

as

a

base.

They

express

all

the

lengths

as

fractions

and

multiples

of

them

and

clearly

show

their

interrelationships.

The Druids Cord.

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