Tuesday 13 May 2014

MidWinter Solstice Sunrise Alignments at Stonehenge

Some time ago I postulated that the Great Trilithon was skewed by the builders of Stonehenge so that not only did the Midwinter Solstice Sunset shine through its centre (the Midsummer Sunrise is on the same alignment) but that the Midwinter Solstice Sunrise was also aligned to the angle of the stones, and therefore the Summer Solstice Sunset as well.

More details are at http://www.sarsen.org/2012/07/stonehenge-resurrection-alignment.html and in my Stonehenge and the Winter Solstice leaflet.

By twisting the Great Trilithon across the main axis they cleverly acknowledged the two angles.

(Previous posts on this blog extensively examine whether Stone 56 was re-erected in the right place and whether 55 was in line with it - I'm happy that they both were. to the North East of the stone hole for the fallen Stone 55 there are two sarsen packing stones, which are marked on the plans below. The show how Stone 55 was in line with the re-erected 56 and provide further proof - see http://www.sarsen.org/2014/06/stone-55-alignment-and-original-position.html for details.)

The Altar Stone also lies at this twisted angle across the axis - see http://www.sarsen.org/2012/06/twisted-56-and-altar-stones-and.html    Of course we aren't sure if the Altar stone was originally in this position or not, but there is at least a possibility that it was. Quite a strong possibility I think.

To the north east of the Altar stone there are two post holes which we know little about, they may be part of a structure or simple post holes, further north of them has been so excavated in previous centuries we will never know. These posts are again on this same twisted alignment.

The outer Bluestone circle is badly damaged at the axis and largely unexcavated, but it seems to again be twisted to the alignment.

The end of the inner Bluestone Horseshoe has been damaged by the fall of the great trilithon. The central stone, stone 67 lies flattened on the ground but the two either side of it survive in damaged form.

The easterly stone, stone 66, has a tongue on it and the stump of it lies under the edge of Stone 55. I show pictures of it at http://www.sarsen.org/2014/05/an-extra-stone-at-stonehenge-is-spotted.html.

The westerly one, stone 68 has a groove down its length and stands leaning as shown in http://www.sarsen.org/2014/05/original-position-of-stone-68.html . Because of its lean it is mapped on the plan north of its original position. If it was restored to the vertical it would be further to the south.

The two stones define the shape of the end of the horseshoe. It was again twisted to the same Midwinter sunrise alignment.

The plans below show the main alignment down the middle, this is the famous solsticial one for the midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset.

I have indicated these five possible twisted alignments, all of which point to the midwinter sunrise, and midsummer sunset.

None on their own is complete proof that this twist was deliberate, and some are more certainly original than others. But all the features that cross the main axis are either perpendicular or at this angle; an angle that was marked in other monuments of this age.

Cleverer people than I could do Baysian analysis of this but when something happens five times I recall the words of Auric Goldfinger; “'Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: 'Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time it's enemy action.'”

(There may well be other features also so aligned such as those noted in http://www.sarsen.org/2012/12/stonehenge-midwinter-solstice-sunrise.html and http://www.sarsen.org/2012/09/the-mystery-of-hole-g.html )

Please click the plans to enlarge them. Plans are based on ones from Cleal et al.

UPDATE - 17/5/14  Standing alone in Stonehenge yesterday it struck me that the alignment of 66 - 68  etc may just be aesthetic rather than alignments per se. When the Great Trilithon was upright and dominating the centre it would have looked odd if the smaller stones in front of it were not at a symmetrical distance in front of it. Thus these other alignments may be seen as confirmation that the Great Trilithon was erected at the angle observed above. 


  1. Dear Tim
    I follow the points that you have made.
    We must meet to discuss.
    I began writing out a likely helpful answer to you but it gradually came to be very long, so I shall send it by email to you instead.
    This looks to be very important indeed.

    I think I have your email address. Does it have cix in it?

  2. That is very kind of you, yes it does. I look forward to reading it and meeting up - you must visit the Barrow as well as it progresses.


  3. The monument was built for the dead so the winter solstice sunset and therefore the winter sunrise alignments would have been important as we see in Newgrange.

    The midsummer sunrise is a later druid idea and therefore stones may have been added, moved or twisted such as the Heel Stone to accommodate this solar view.


  4. Hi Tim,
    Hole G was definitely Solar, yes - it marked the Summer Solstice Sunset as seen across SS-94. 27 of the 28 opposing Aubreys also do this at SSSS, and these features clearly indicate that it was a celebrated observation from the very earliest days - not by Druids moving rocks around ...

    As you know, I have extensively reviewed your ideas about the Winter Solstice Sunrise and must report that I find few flaws in your thesis. I may still shy slightly away from the 'Twisted Trilithon' concept, but SS-93, Hole-G, the 3 ancient Bank Postholes and perhaps even AH-14 almost certainly play a distinct role in that Sunrise event.

    I believe that you and Dr Meaden have much of interest to discuss.


    That last should have read: "... but SS-93, HOLE-H, [not G] the 3 ancient Bank Postholes and perhaps even AH-14 ..."

  6. Neil , I disagree about Stone 93 - Hole H and the possibility of AH 14 being aligned on the WSSR c. 2500bc .
    I believe from stone 93 the sun will rise south of AH14 , well south of S56 and even south of the bank postholes .

  7. Geo and Neil do you have an azimuth or bearing for the MWSR that you are working to. http://community.novacaster.com/showarticle.pl?id=11160 is useful and leads me to a working one of 129 degrees - (position of the sun on the horizon used and imprecise measurements mean that excessive accuracy is misleading).

  8. Tim , here is the data I get for the WSSR c.2500 BC . Latitude 51.17 degrees , dec =23.98 degrees , azimuth 130. ,app alt=0.28 .

    1. Thanks, that is very helpful. Hawkins makes 93-H to be 128.2. My cruder measurement make it 128.5.

      The alignments in the plan above lie between 129 and 130.

  9. Hi Tim

    I believe that you and Terry are on the right path in some critical aspects. In addition, I think that there will be proof of your arguments available. However, As Neil says, I also believe that there are a few flaws in some aspects.

    You and Dr Meaden have much of interest to discuss.

    My kind regards


  10. Taking the width of both S93 and Hole H into consideration there is a possible difference of around a degree when measured from the extreme edges of both although we might assume a measurement from centre to centre .Fwiw I reckon 127.7 fron S 93 to Hole H .

  11. Geo - I would be very interested in seeing a copy of the plan you are using, there is certainly small differences between the plans I'm using (Hawkins revised, Thom, MoW and EH latest) Thanks Tim

  12. Geo - Using Cleal I would agree with you. Plan 1 just gives H as a box that was excavated. Thom - available as a link from http://www.sarsen.org/2013/08/stonehenge-by-thom-article-on-line.html has the shape of Hole H and I think it moves it a degree or so.

  13. Tim , using the siting from Thom I get maxima of 127 .3 - 128.3 , median 127.8 . Which makes the northern edge of AH 15 closer to the actual solstice alignmnet fwiw .