Cracking the Newgrange Code - Martin Brennan - Page 4
I looked at the measuring rod I held in my hand. In Greek, gnomon means "the one who
knows". Could the Boyne Valley measuring system itself be
derived from sundialling and could this measuring rod in fact
be the gnomon? I was startled by what I found out at the drawing
board. At the latitude of Newgrange
a shadow cast by an A gnomon
is the length of a B at noon of the equinoxes. This means that
the very basis of the measuring system extends from this moment
The significance of this is that on a star map, this moment of time is called "the
first point of Aries" and there is a practical reason why
the ancient astronomers used this as a starting point for astronomical
measurement which is the same reason why it is still used by
modern astronomers today. It would defy the limits of the imagination
to suggest that it was known during the Stone Age, yet, it is
impossible to escape this conclusion. A large number of stones
which I examined revealed that the grid system used is based
on angles derived from the position of the celestial pole using
a gnomon of the C measure. A number of factors eliminate all
possibilities of coincidence.
Sundialling is by its nature a very precise are and an exact science. The gnomon does
not lie. The grid and its measurements
appear much too often to allow any room for the chance that there
wasn't a deliberate and conscious effort not only to record astronomical
knowledge but to build huge monuments that would be capable of
transmitting this knowledge to a different culture thousands
of years in the future. Thus they constructed a kind of time
capsule preserving their achievement.
If we can visualise Newgrange
as a scientific instrument for a moment, we can get
a glimpse of what it actually is. As a sundial it measures the
solar year to within seconds. Regardless of how specialised it
is, it is the world's oldest sundial and at the same time, the
It is the oldest scientific instrument in the world that is still functioning and it will
continue to function for all conceivable time regardless of minor
changes in the tilt of the earth's axis. (It is designed to take
this into account). Predating Stonehenge
and the pyramids, it
stands as one of the world's most ancient monuments. It is quite
likely that it will still be functioning when our own scientific
instruments have turned to dust. We have a great deal to learn from it.
Even at the early stages of my investigation into its mysteries I had learned to respect
the mind of megalithic man. Working independently from Professor
Thom. I came to this similar conclusion: "We must no longer
assert that these people could not possibly have known this or
done that ". These people are not barbarians, they are not
grave-diggers and they do not make magico-religious symbols.
Their symbols appear to us as magic because we haven't understood
their technology, just as our technology appears as magic to
It appears to me that these people pioneered empirical scientific thought and established
the first great civilisation. It is now also apparent that science,
art and religion were a single field of endeavour to them and
they did not suffer from departmentalisation as we do. They saw
the stars as making great circles in the heavens and they observed
that planets seem to move along a lie describing the ecliptic
like spirals, much like the Greeks did. Examining this sort of
thinking goes beyond archaeology. Cracking the code at Newgrange
was accomplished largely by taking a scientific approach to the
problems of visual design but it could not be achieved without
the initial groundwork done by archaeologists and the help of astronomers.
The inscriptions are products of a very integrated mentality working within a framework
of an extremely unified worldview in which man is harmoniously
and creatively connected. The circles, spirals and triangles
he created expressed at one time both his art and his science.
Stone age art has never been properly understood. Once it is
seen that the forms are purely abstract.
EXECUTIVE magazine 1979
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