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molder Wrote:
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> I have wondered for a long time if Thom's MY is really 2.75 imperial feet.
>

Hi Jim

It’s odd you should suggest this because I do wonder why Thom’s value for the megalithic yard has become so enshrined. The common backlash at suggesting that Thom may have been wrong in certain respects militates against even hinting at the possibility.

From an analysis of my own surveys, which are not hugely different from Thom’s, although the mean, median and mode for Britain and Ireland are all 829mm (32.64 inches) the distribution is negatively skewed and Scotland and Ireland appear to be bi-modal at 829mm and 834mm (32.8 inches). There are some well-defined circles with sound archaeology indicating a megalithic yard larger than this.

Thom appears to have been very hard-nosed about the length, as I'm hoping a simple example will show. The thesis that all European stone circles are designed to a common system of measurement featuring a circumferential unit and a subdivision of the megalithic yard can be demonstrated by another circle with an equally divided circumference.

The circle at Cullerlie, at the east of Scotland (Aberdeenshire), has an outer circle of eight stones and an inner ring of seven kerbs, each with an assumed eleven stones, surrounding a central kerb with two rings also of eleven stones.

The diameter of the stone circle is given by Burl as 10.1m reflecting Thom’s 33.3 feet. I made it slightly short of this by survey. Naturally, as Thom deems the megalithic yard to be a constant 2.72 feet across Britain, he declares that the diameter is 12.2 megalithic yards.

However, consider that, ex hypothesi. since the circumference is in eight equal parts then the diameter would be a multiple of eight diametric units (that is, half a megalithic yard) which would suggest that the diameter is 12 megalithic yards of a particular length as used at this site. The gaps would thus be 24 perimetric units. That is to say, the site megalithic yard by my survey is 838mm - just 9mm (0.36 inches) longer than Thom declared it to be.

The inner ring of seven kerbs of eleven stones, somewhat reminiscent of pi as at Machrie Moor V (see OP), appears to be placed on a circle with a diameter of 120 diametric units (7.5MY). If the circumference of each kerb be equally divided with an integer number of perimetric units then their diameters might be expected to be multiples of 11 diametric units, the number of stones, as shown at right in the figure.

None of these inner circles would have a diameter expressible as a whole number of megalithic yards. You won't find the megalithic yard if you measure them - but it's there. This is why the megalithic yard wasn't found in Ireland.

A major difference between this hypothesis and Thom’s is that the division of the circumference of a stone circle determines how many megalithic yards there are on the diameter.

Thus, Thom doesn’t get to dictate the length of the megalithic yard at any given site, the stone circle does.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10-Sep-19 12:47 by gjb.

Subject Views Written By Posted
Megaliths: A Circumferential Unit and the Division of the Megalithic Yard 1557 gjb 29-Aug-19 18:17
Re: Megaliths: A Circumferential Unit and the Division of the Megalithic Yard 106 molder 05-Sep-19 05:18
Re: Megaliths: A Circumferential Unit and the Division of the Megalithic Yard 79 gjb 05-Sep-19 16:11
Re: Megaliths: A Circumferential Unit and the Division of the Megalithic Yard 95 molder 06-Sep-19 04:47
Re: Megaliths: A Circumferential Unit and the Division of the Megalithic Yard 75 gjb 06-Sep-19 18:42
Re: Megaliths: A Circumferential Unit and the Division of the Megalithic Yard 77 molder 06-Sep-19 21:09
Re: Megaliths: A Circumferential Unit and the Division of the Megalithic Yard 321 gjb 07-Sep-19 00:26
Re: Megaliths: A Circumferential Unit and the Division of the Megalithic Yard 71 molder 10-Sep-19 03:44
Re: Megaliths: A Circumferential Unit and the Division of the Megalithic Yard 327 gjb 10-Sep-19 11:47

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